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The truths they don't want you to read....

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Accomodation for the mainland contractors

From the planning application....
The announcement that the schools contractors are going to be housed in a temporary 'hostel' and the airport, due to the lack of available bedspace, comes as now surprise to local B&Bs, Guest Houses and Hotels.

With bookings in most areas for this summer up significantly and current occupancy rates for some of the providers running at virtually 100%, the need to house all the contractors and sub-contractors on the new schools project was starting to cause serious problems.

Some of the accommodation providers were starting to worry about the conflicting demands on their limited space.  With stories of sub-contractors not paying and others trying to renegotiate after they had taken the bed nights, the potential for conflict was quite high.  Indeed, some providers had already prioritised the short holiday season, rather than the longer, but more uncertain, schools contract.

But it needn't have been so.

About 2/3 years ago the local tourism providers met with the Council to discuss contingency plans for the possibility of a large number of external contractors coming in to fulfil the schools contract.  The concept was to provide long term guaranteed bookings at sharp prices, but which would allow some providers to develop more bed space.

The Council response was to deny that any off-island contractors might be involved.  Ever.  End of story.  Go away.

This takes me back to an earlier post about the Council facilitating private sector growth.  The Council doesn't need to control, manage or approve the developments, but it does need to act in such a way that the private sector is not impeded.

In this instance, by simple advance contingency planning we could have had bigger and better accommodation available over a longer season to more tourists; employing more locals and putting more money in local pockets.

But then the Council knew best about the schools, didn't it?


Flirty Gerty said...

As a local B&B owner, I'm certainly aware of the plans to build an 'Auf Wiedersehen, Pet' -style hostel for contractors at the airport. And certainly the bed-spaces are sorely needed - I've had three Irish firms on the phone already this morning pleading for accommodation I don't have.

But all of the contractors I've dealt with so far are entirely unhappy about the thought of being housed there.

Think about it - up to 40 working men under one roof. There won't be any noise, disruption, parties, etc. will there? It's going to be like a barracks without a Sergeant-Major.

I wish the contracting firm every bit of luck running it, getting it supplied, cleaned and organising the bookings. Hopefully at least that will bring some money and employment locally. But I'm also sure that it will turn into a grown-up version of the Bridge Centre - and I feel sorry for the folk who live near the airport who will have to put up with the noise and disruption once it's up and running.

Anonymous said...

The taxi firms will also do well shipping them to and fro to Tescos, particularly when they have one of their cheap booze sales.

The good news is that it will keep the drunks off the town centre streets on a Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Same issues will apply if and when any contractors come here to erect Eishken and other commercial wind farms.

Anonymous said...

The whole issue of accommodation was rasied even at the tender stages. New housing could have been tied into this arrangement to be used by the workers till schools were complete then handed onto the housing association for letting to those on the ever growing waiting list. But that would be too sensible for a strategic housing and planning authority.

Anonymous said...

Some people need to get a life.