This week's letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser include readers' views on the Flamingo Land development proposals at Loch Lomond, the Rest and Be Thankful, Remembrance Sunday commemorations, and more.

To add your views to the mix on any local issue, just email your thoughts to with 'Letter' included in the subject line of your message.

Please remember to include your name and address. We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

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I READ a letter in this paper recently from Andy Miller, sales director for the proposed Flamingo Land development at Balloch.

I could not believe his statement about the effects the development will have on Loch Lomond’s unique and globally-renowned habitat and biodiversity.

Despite admitting previously that the proposals will cause significant and widespread damage to habitat and wildlife, Mr Miller is now trying to “greenwash” readers with meaningless reassurances.

The proposed plan itself admits that the development will not only destroy our irreplaceable natural resources, but will pollute our water.

The argument that the retention of certain trees will make the area somehow still habitat is preposterous.

A habitat starts beneath the soil and goes up to above the tallest trees/land in an area, even including weather above that. Taking out even one piece of this complex jigsaw has exponential knock-on effects.

If you raze vegetation to the ground around the trees to build extensive pathways as in the plan, and fill the area with constant, heavy human footfall, you have obliterated the habitat.

Add to this a huge car park and thundering monorail.

If you can turn your back on these and block out the noise, what you see may still look vaguely like a wood, but it is not.

Most of the wildlife has died or left – nothing except semi-feral squirrels, pigeons, seagulls and rats, plus a great many midges, now with nothing to eat them, will remain.

The effects of this will knock on around the entire lochside and wider area. Think of an accident at a roundabout - the damage spreads rapidly outwards like a neutron bomb.

When even the local Conservative councillor, who is pro-fracking, nuclear and coal-fired power, is against the development, you can be sure it will be financially damaging.

It would be a huge economic mistake to effectively destroy our natural assets, which, according to a 2016 VisitScotland survey, currently draw 78 per cent of our visitors.

Brian Devine, via email

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A COUPLE of new points about Flamingo Land. Andy Miller failed to mention them in his letter (Advertiser Comment, November 8), but people have a right to know.

He talks about a public consultation, but what he doesn’t tell you is that Flamingo Land’s application, if granted, would allow them to build on land not in the consulted plan. In fact it would let them build on land specifically excluded from the land listed as suitable in the consulted plan.

Mr Miller says that in a strong business, “profits are reinvested into the business”.

The key point here is that Flamingo Land have indeed already spent more than £1 million trying to obtain land on the bonnie banks, so it’s no wonder Mr Miller is annoyed that there are more than 30,000 people (and still rising) who have objected to the development by petitioning against it.

With profits last year of £1,335,504 and personal bonuses of £1,301,255 claimed by the four directors (who are indeed all related to each other), Flamingo Land certainly are “keeping it in the family”.

Jonathan Hargreaves, Helensburgh

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In response to Councillor Reid’s letter regarding the Rest and Be Thankful (Advertiser Comment, November 8), in which he asserts that the measures the Scottish Government has carried out have failed their first test, he completely misses the point.

Let me once again remind him of the highly commendable work being carried out by Transport Scotland, BEAR Scotland and GeoRope which have resulted in the Rest remaining open during 23 out of 24 incidents in the last three years.

If he won’t take my word for it, I’d be more than happy to provide him with the contact names of those team members to whom I have already spoken.

Indeed, I had a further site visit to speak with the teams at the Rest on Friday, November 9, prior to the A83 Taskforce meeting scheduled for November 15.

This was also on the same day that I attended a highly encouraging gathering of various stakeholders, comprising (cross-party) Argyll and Bute MSP, MP, councillors, businesses and local individuals where we discussed the immediate and wider impact of A83 closures in light of the most recent incident, current mitigation measures, and hopes and potential strategies for more permanent solutions.

I would strongly suggest to Councillor Reid – before he embarks on any further baseless criticism – that he might like to make the effort to avail himself of some factual evidence by having at least one face-to-face discussion with teams at the Rest.

Perhaps he might also like to attend future stakeholder meetings where he is cordially invited to get positively involved rather than resorting to mere negative rhetoric.

It would certainly be enlightening to hear of Cllr Reid’s previous involvement with issues affecting the Rest and Be Thankful during his 14 years as an MP.

Cllr Iain Shonny Paterson (SNP, Lomond North)

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The Advertiser recently reported the upsetting story of Kilcreggan man Roshdi Mohammed, who told how he was racially abused by a total stranger in broad daylight outside Helensburgh train station recently.

Roshdi had done nothing whatsoever to deserve any kind of abuse; he was standing at a bus stop minding his own business while on his way to work.

Anyone who engages in this kind of behaviour does not speak for me, and I hope the majority of Scots would join me in rejecting such racism. Scotland has always been made up of a mixture of peoples and has been all the better for it.

Cathy Bell, via email

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I WOULD like to thank everyone involved in Cove and Kilcreggan’s Centenary of WW1 events which were held on Sunday, November 11.

Thanks also to Craigrownie Parish Church, who have been telling the stories behind the names each week.

The McVey family have lived in the villages for many years and my great grandfather and every generation since have paid respects at the Cove and Kilcreggan war memorial, which is why I decided to travel from Cumbria to be there for the 100 year anniversary.

I felt very proud and thankful to take part in the fitting and respectful way the villages honoured the memory of the war dead and marked the centenary event.

Allison Hanshaw (nee McVey), Seascale, Cumbria

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Nicola Sturgeon’s energy firm plans are months behind schedule. A year after its announcement, the SNP revealed that the process is already lagging and work on a ‘strategic outline business case’ has only just started.

The Energy Minister also admitted that plans to gauge public opinion, which were supposed to start in August, won’t begin until next year.

The delay is unwelcome news – but it seems the SNP are beginning to discover just how difficult it is to set up an energy company.

Those in most need of help with their energy bills have been let down.

‘Sturgeon Energy’ is turning out to be just another example of SNP spin over substance.

Cllr Alastair Redman (Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)

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I’d like to invite your readers to get their glitter on this Christmas and help us fight back against meningitis.

At Meningitis Now, we’re inviting everyone to hold one of our festive Time 4 Tea fundraisers and bring your friends, family and colleagues together for a glittery party with a purpose.

It’s the perfect excuse to spend time with your loved ones and start the festive season with a sparkle – whilst helping to save lives and rebuild futures.

There are lots of ideas, from invitations to recipes and decorations, in Meningitis Now’s free ‘get your glitter on’ welcome pack to make it an easy and fun event to organise.

We’ve even found a source of biodegradable eco glitter for you from our good friends at Eco Glitter Fun – so you can do your bit for the planet too.

The serious point is that you will be making a real difference to those at risk of meningitis and those whose lives have already been changed forever because of it.

Money raised will help to fund preventative research, raise awareness and support those affected by the disease through Meningitis Now’s unique range of services.

I know only too well the misery meningitis can bring. Thankfully I made a good recovery; others are not so fortunate.

Let’s sparkle this Christmas and fight back against meningitis. Find out how at

Lisa Snowdon (Meningitis Now Ambassador)