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alan


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CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 11.51hrs on Mon 28 Aug 17
Last week on Wednesday evening I walked up the East Wall of CairnGorm to the Fairway / M2 Split and took the photos which are in the Pix from the Slopes Album showing the destruction of the West Wall Chairlift.

Having compared photos and observations on Wednesday evening against a report obtained under FOI from last autumn into the condition of the Ciste Chairlift founds, I send an urgent letter electronically to HIE, cc'd to CairnGorm Mountain Ltd and Natural Retreats to request that two pylons with sound bases be retained to allow collection of wind and other meteorological data to provide quantitive data for future planning on CairnGorm. The letter can be viewed on Facebook.

Natural Retreats replied swiftly on Thursday afternoon, but as of noon on Monday there has been no acknowledgement or reply from HIE (attached) - note the last paragraph:

Natural Retreats wrote:
Neither CairnGorm Mountain Limited, Natural Retreats UK Ltd or Natural Assets are responsible for this project.


However, this morning on a post on Parks Watch Scotland the following photo of signage now up on site states the contracting client is CML/NR.



The earlier paragraph in the letter doesn't say HIE contracted the works, but that HIE instructed the works, but there is no ambiguity in the final paragraph.





Edited 2 times. Last edit at 11.53hrs Mon 28 Aug 17 by alan.

Attachments: contractornoticePWS.png (82kB)   NR-letter.jpg (35kB)  
Gogsyboy


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Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 12.30hrs on Mon 28 Aug 17
If there was no invitation to tender for these works, and a local contractor has been given the contract, then there is a possibility of illegal goings on. I'm pretty sure that, whoever the client is, they have to issue the works for tender given that it's public money being used. Any lawyers out there?

DonaldM


Guest
Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 12.43hrs on Mon 28 Aug 17
There may be some delegated powers which HIE to engage the services of a contractor which is already doing work for them. It's an important point but I think we should remain focused on the following:

* HIE is a public body which all residents in Scotland own. In theory, it is accountable to us.
* HIE did not carry out any consultation on removal of the chairs and may have omitted to mention the work to interested parties.
* There is no plan for Cairn Gorm which the public can examine - very unusual for a public body and not sustainable.
* The actions of HIE have not aligned with the strategic objectives of the Scottish Government and have caused job losses.
* HIE is in theory, committed to community ownership of assets but has frustrated the community in this case.

None of this is comfortable for HIE as they are now in so deep with regards to CML. I should say that they do excellent work in other areas so it's important that we recognise that the offiers dealing with Cairn Gorm may be just too far beyond their knowledge and are trying to mask this by vague and misleading statements.

Dunc


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Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 18.39hrs on Wed 30 Aug 17
Everything that happens there these days seems to be a total disgrace. I'm glad Glenshee and the Lecht are my local centres.

jabuzzard


Guest
Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 17.00hrs on Mon 4 Sep 17
Gogsyboy Wrote:
If there was no invitation to tender for these works, and a local contractor has been given the contract, then there is a possibility of illegal goings on. I'm pretty sure that, whoever the client is, they have to issue the works for tender given that it's public money being used. Any lawyers out there?


That will depend on the size of the contract, but the reported 267,000 makes that a forgone conclusion. Last time I checked the limit was in the region of 20,000 (though post Brexit all that will go as it's EU law).

However you can have in place framework agreements so you don't have to put every last purchase out to tender. Life's far to short for that nonsense.

On the other hand it seems very unlikely that HIE have put in place a framework agreement that includes demolition that CML/NR are party too (more than one firm can be party to a framework agreement).

On the other hand they might try and claim that the it was "specialist" work and only CML/NR where qualified to undertake the work. However given the manner it was done this seems highly unlikely. Besides which one of the other Scottish ski centres would surely have similar expertise. Lets face it Glenshee recently removed a chairlift (though they where replacing it with a new one).

Another consideration is that one of the other ski centres might well have dismantled and removed the lifts for free or for a lot less than 267k. Probably not in the timeframe that it has been done as saving them for reuse is slower than taking an angle grinder to the job. However given they have been in a state of neglect for over a decade there was no pressing need for there removal. The only way they could get out of that would be to show that they where in a dangerous state. Again that seems an unlikely state of affairs too.

As such it looks on the face of it that HIE's actions are highly suspect from a legal perspective.

It's not good that they have been removed. What is making people really angry is that it was planned in secret, and that removal of the assets was done in such a manner that they could not be reused elsewhere despite the fact they where perfectly refurbishable and could have give many years of service.



alan


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Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 11.35hrs on Tue 5 Sep 17
jabuzzard Wrote:
It's not good that they have been removed. What is making people really angry is that it was planned in secret


The case for the Funicular Railway heavily leant on an argument that GMD Mueller Chairs were obsolete (to the point of not being safe), the manufacturer was defunct and it was impossible to source any parts. All of which is verifiably false.

Having made that case though the Ciste Chairs were newer and simpler affairs than the Cairngorm Chairlift was, given the way things have panned out it's difficult not to conclude this was planned from the outset of the Funicular project.

Those who have followed this saga from the first year or two of the Funicular onwards will be all too aware of the duplicitous manor in which HIE and CML have treated anyone who has tried to engage them over these matters.

Back in 2003/4 CML held a season ticket holders liaison meeting where the issue of moving the Link Lift Poma to the Top Basin was proposed. Soothing noises were made about the boardwalk and favouring the chairlift over the Poma, so there would be no loss in terms of the skiability of Coire na Ciste.

There was concerns expressed, but the overall view was the tow could provide a real improvement to those just starting out in snowsports if re-used thoughtfully.

Well we know CML made an arse of siting the Polar Express and it gets very little use by anyone as a result. It's a laughing stock of a tow.

The wasted opportunity is annoying. But what brings out anger in people is the dishonesty CML displayed over the Link Lift. CML knew, but never cracked a light until after the Link Lift was removed, that the decision had been taken to not operate the West Wall Chairlift. As per formal declaration of the Core Lifts Policy, the Ciste & West Wall Chairlifts, the Aonach, Link Lift and Daylodge Pomas and Fiacaill T-bar were considered decommissioned and would not be run again.

Had that been public knowledge at that season ticket holders meeting there would have been outrage and absolute opposition to removing the Link Lift Poma. By a slight of hand, CML / HIE had vastly reduced the usability of the Ciste because without the Chairlift the Link Lift Poma actually became much more important to keeping more of the Ciste genuinely lift served.

Still people are talking about the need to get over the past and look to a cooperative future. No - people have tried to engage CML and HIE for over a decade, they kept talking because they knew they could talk it out till they reached the desired end point.

To turn around CairnGorm Mountain and prevent further economic damage to Strathspey, CML and HIE must be removed from CairnGorm Mountain. No compromises.







Dunc


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Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 12.09hrs on Tue 5 Sep 17
alan Wrote:

To turn around CairnGorm Mountain and prevent further economic damage to Strathspey, CML and HIE must be removed from CairnGorm Mountain. No compromises.




I agree, but how can anyone bring this about? The big frustration for me is that it seems everyone is completely powerless to expose the debacle and change the direction CGM is going.

jabuzzard


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Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 13.02hrs on Tue 5 Sep 17
alan Wrote:

To turn around CairnGorm Mountain and prevent further economic damage to Strathspey, CML and HIE must be removed from CairnGorm Mountain. No compromises.



I agree. However I will also say again there is a viewpoint among some that ANY lift infrastructure on ANY mountain is a blot on the landscape, and that the complete removal of ALL lift infrastructure from Scottish mountains would be a good thing. It is my assertion that this thinking has directed the removal of the lifts. That is there is someone at HIE who wants to see it all go.

There is no other rational reason as to why the tower bases are being removed. Nobody in their right minds rips tower bases out the ground so why now?

alan


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Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 13.41hrs on Tue 5 Sep 17
It's also worth pointing out that at two different events, one a public event on the A9 Dualling and implications / opportunities for tourism in Boat of Garten and the other a VisitCairngorms business breakfast at the Hilton, both post NR involvement. The most senior CML staff stated at both that reducing carpark capacity on CairnGorm was a priority!

What can be done about it - well political pressure will help. I think it is dawning on local representatives that this isn't a fringe matter, it's of significant economic importance to Aviemore and Strathspey, plus the manor in which the Chairlifts were destroyed has made this matter toxic.

The more individuals that add to the pressure - the more chance of some action. Contact details for elected members of parliament local to CairnGorm:

MSPs:

Kate Forbes [SNP] [www.parliament.scot]
Rhoda Grant [Lab] [www.parliament.scot]

Fergus Ewing [SNP] (Fergus is a prominent local figure, and also Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity)
[www.parliament.scot]

MP:
Drew Hendry [SNP] [www.parliament.uk]/commons/Drew-Hendry/4467

Councillors:

John Bruce [Con] [www.highland.gov.uk]
Muriel Cockburn [SNP] [www.highland.gov.uk]
Bill Lobban [Ind] [www.highland.gov.uk]
Pippa Hadley [Greens] [www.highland.gov.uk]

Ultimately use of Community Right To Buy may be the only shot at removing HIE from the Cairngorm Estate. The Aviemore Business Association has been investigating this and doing some preliminary preparations.



Edited 2 times. Last edit at 13.45hrs Tue 5 Sep 17 by alan.

jabuzzard


Guest
Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 22.28hrs on Wed 6 Sep 17
Given that none of these are my representatives, is there value in make a fuss to say my local MSP/MP (North East Fife and SNP for the record)?

Personally I would like to see the officers in HIE responsible sacked for gross incompetence and illegal activity. I get to deal with public sector procurement in my job, and there is no f%&$"g way you can do 267k without either OEJ or a framework agreement.

Actually I would like to see the officers responsible doing jail time and personally liable for the financial damage to the assets, even if that leaves them homeless and bankrupt.

alan


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Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 12.10hrs on Thu 7 Sep 17
jabuzzard Wrote:
Given that none of these are my representatives, is there value in make a fuss to say my local MSP/MP (North East Fife and SNP for the record)?


Yes, they can in turn report back to Fergus Ewing who's remit this falls as a Scottish Minister. I assume for that reason, you don't need to be in his constituency to contact him.

The rules for Westminster MPs are more strict and even if you raise a concern about something in an MPs seat, they can't take it up as a case unless they are your MP.

alan


Posts: 10750
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Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 07.37hrs on Fri 8 Sep 17
HIE yesterday released a new press release - it makes some soothing noises towards snowsports, so the political pressure is being felt, but soothing noises when under pressure then carry on as before is how CML has acted over snowsports for more than a decade. Those who followed the core lifts policy, attended the big 'open forum' meeting at the end of 2006, will be particularly aware! Though the furore then did ultimately save the Daylodge Poma from the fate of the Aonach.

[news.hie.co.uk]

The paragraph on snow fencing is simply playing with words. The remaining 'stretches of snow fencing that are still in good condition will continue to serve skiers ' is rather meaningless when the good bits don't join up and the most problematic section of the West Wall Poma track is unfenced, and the exposed section over the crest that most needs double fenced only has a single fence now.

Indeed of the fencing that could be related to the removed lifts the fencing in the best condition was in the Aonach Bowl, that was the first location work to dismantle fencing was started. The sections of reasonable recovered paling could in the short term be used to patch up sections of the Laogh Mor Return that gives access to the East Wall gullies, where posts stand but fencing has long been destroyed. Some positive action to benefit snowsports speaks louder than HIE's forked tounge.

jabuzzard


Guest
Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 10.00hrs on Fri 8 Sep 17
Hum, FOI request to see that report I think is my task for the weekend, especially as it contradicts a report from a couple of years ago and the pictures show that the towers looked in remarkably good condition.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 10.39hrs Fri 8 Sep 17 by jabuzzard.

growwild


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Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 01.09hrs on Sun 10 Sep 17
You will garner hero status if you crush just one of they incompetent arseholes!



rapiddescent


Guest
Re: CML or HIE? Who instigated the chairlift demolition?
Date Posted: 15.32hrs on Wed 27 Sep 17
a bit late to the conversation but I noticed the contractor McGowan on the latter in the OP.

Here in Stirling, McGowan are causing a lot of controversy over the sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut model to building a part up Dumyat Hill. We (local mtbers) got the McGowan bid and design document (through FOI) and the bid was a cut n paste job that the workers on the hill have toitally failed to carry through with and have basically cut a 4 metre wide track instead of a <1m path.

Anyway, there's more to the story - but the message is to watch any work McGowan are doing like a hawk.

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