ASSUMING your report in the Western Telegraph on December 19th is an accurate quotation of the letter to which it refers, I am appalled at the emotive language attributed to the self-styled Fishguard and Goodwick Bay Conservation Group.
Fishguard and Goodwick, like all small towns, are suffering severely in the present recession to an even greater extent than previously.
If they are not to become coastal ghettos populated entirely by the unemployed, the elderly retired, many of whom have never brought up families in this area or derived their income from it, or the disaffected youth with nothing to fill its time, ways must be found of generating economic activity to provide employment and reasons for people to visit them.
Fishguard and Goodwick, although called the twin towns, in reality constitutes a single entity. I do not think that it is in any way helpful to talk about the ‘heart’ of the twin towns being ‘ripped out’ by a marina development or by implication the presence in Fishguard of a supermarket in the centre of the town and the traffic realignment and changes that such a development would bring.
Those sort of expressions are emotional claptrap and have no part in a sensible debate on how to bring new commercial life into an area.
One of the significant attributes that Fishguard and Goodwick have is the immediate proximity of the sea and the proposed development of a marina is an obvious and natural extension of the town into the marine leisure industry in which for many years it has frankly been sadly lacking.
I wonder how many of the Conservation Group members use the Fisherman’s Quay for any purpose and I wonder why they think that the loss of the quay is such a significant disadvantage when it will be replaced by proper facilities for active fisherman within the marina development which will considerably assist their commercial use of the sea.
I also ask why the remains of a medieval fishtrap, which for most of us only exists by reputation and certainly is not identifiable as anything remarkable, should have priority over the provision of employment.
If one looks for example at Neyland, there is little doubt of the employment and economic regeneration that a marina can bring to a maritime area. It seems to me that all this huffing and puffing is a smoke screen for objection to the residential development, but I do not understand why that should be a problem either, unless it is the prospect of people being able to buy flats and/or town houses in the marina development which might not necessarily be available financially to everybody.
Assertions are made about ‘damage to the tourist industry’ and ‘death of the community spirit’ without any obvious justificiation. Why should the existence of a marina, with or without flats and houses, irretrievably damage the tourist industry?
Is it not more valid to suggest that it would be an enormous boost to the tourist industry?
I think that the county council had all of these considerations in mind when they granted planning permission and clearly was not concerned at the creation of a future development platform within the harbour area, which is all owned by Stena. Further commercial development of the harbour area on the ‘development platform’ can only improve Fishguard and Goodwick’s economic prospects.
Is there not a danger that the vociferous opposition of those, who I suspect are in a minority, opposing the two current substantial developments is far more likely to damage the community that would be support for the only serious proposals for Fishguard and Goodwick currently available or likely to become available in the foreseeable future.
The regular mantra that ‘nothing must change’ presumably because everything is perfect as it is, is untenable and hopelessly unrealistic.
PETER CROSS Hamilton Street Fishguard