I AM well and truly baffled. When this column is published it will be the last day in November - and I want to know what happened to the rest of the year.

I vaguely remember spring. There were a couple of summer hot days somewhere, and now we are coming up to Christmas again.

Time flies when you are having fun.

As I write this, the Helensburgh Pier has once again become the talk of the steamie as the council's environment, development and infrastructure committee prepares to meet on Thursday, November 30 to discuss the old wooden pier.

A report by consultants Stantec and Mott McDonald, published last week, says that a berthing facility at the pier would not be economically viable.

The committee members are recommended by officers to:

  • a) Accept the consultants' findings, particularly that a berthing facility at Helensburgh Pier cannot be operated on a revenue neutral basis, particularly where long-term capital replacement costs are accounted for, and that officers will no longer devote resources to pursuing a council funded berthing facility;
  • (b) that the head of development and economic growth engages with Helensburgh Community Council and any other appropriate community group(s) who may express a wish to pursue options, including a potential asset transfer of Helensburgh Wooden Pier.

This is a major blow, and a trick has certainly been missed here. There was a point a few years ago when there was a chance of making a decision to do work on the pier - which, if taken, would have made a world of difference now.

But although this feels like a finality, and that the pier has reached the end of its life, I actually think all might not yet be lost.

The Stantec report - all 229 (or thereabouts) pages of it - does not completely condemn the pier itself, and in fact, recommends doing some work on it. It just suggests that there is not a financially viable solution as things stand.

But things change, and I hope that the tide may yet turn for the pier.

On a happier note, Helensburgh is awash with amazing festive light, the streets are glowing with colour, and there is a real Christmassy feel in the air.

The Helensburgh Business Group members are is getting into the Christmas Town vibe, and retailers all around the town are throwing themselves into the best Christmas shop window competition, bring a heightened festive feel to the streets.

The Winter Festival's Penguin Crew are busy putting the final touches to this year’s top event and are happy to announce that they will be hosting 100 amazing stalls - this year with a fabulous programme of entertainment on both days of the festival including the famous Santa Dash which is being held on Saturday this year.

I will end by wishing you all a very merry Christmas and an exceedingly happy New Year.

Please remember that Christmas is not a happy time for many people, for all sorts of reasons you might not know about. So please be kind - you might just be the only glimmer of joy for someone this festive season.

My email address, should you wish to contact me, is fiona.howard@argyll-bute.gov.uk and my phone number is 07788 549192.