Will Point be completely cut off from the main island of Lewis if there is a really bad storm? Point Community Council thinks it might be. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar says it won't.
CnES has this afternoon (Monday 7 November) made a clear statement over plans proposed by Point Community Council to create a new emergency route across the north side of the Braighe, linking Point with Stornoway.
In mid-October a media statement was issued publicising a meeting, to be hosted this coming Wednesday (9 November) to outline the proposal for a three-metre wide coastal footpath, creating a potential crossing point for emergency services at times of southerly storms.
The statement (see https://www.welovestornoway.com/index.php/articles-auto-3/26090-new-plan-for-braighe-crossing) said: “The narrow isthmus finds its main roadway on the Minch side frequently closed for safety reasons during winter storms at big high tide times.
“The project offers considerable benefits to the area, improving the existing route for safer access for pedestrians and wheelchair users, offering an alternative to the path which runs intermittently along the Braighe road and emergency vehicle access in the event the Braighe is shut.”
The proposal suggested that the PCC would work with consultants for Point and Sandwick Trust, following an existing pedestrian route with access points at Melbost, the midpoint of the Braighe and at Aignish.
But today a statement from CnES said no money would be available from council resources for the project, and reiterated previous commitments from emergency services to attend emergencies in Point, whatever the weather conditions and without any new access being created.
The statement said: “The council position remains unchanged. Whilst we absolutely welcome any efforts to improve access, particularly for disabled users, there is absolutely no finance available within the current (and forecast) Comhairle budget to either fund or contribute towards this project.
“There may be monies available via HITRANS (Highlands & Islands Transport Partnership) or SUSTRANS (Sustainable Transport Partnership), but the differences in cost between a pathway and a roadway vary enormously.
“In order to allay any fears that the general public may have about emergency access to the peninsula, following any closure due to bad weather; we have recently consulted with SFRS, Scottish Ambulance and Police Scotland in order to ascertain their positions.
“We were happy to note that their previous undertaking to ensure the safety of all remains unchanged.
“In any dangerous situation for our residents, especially any ‘life-threatening’ scenario, they have indicated their absolute commitment to attend.”
Wednesday’s public meeting, hosted by Point Community Council and inviting public contributions to the debate, is at Ionad Stoodie at 7pm.