Having carefully analysed the figures for Elgin’s proposed Western Link Road I’m having trouble understanding the numbers. Perhaps your readers might be able to help me with the maths problem I’ve been having?
Assuming (and it’s a big assumption) that the Councils figures are correct then we’ll be financing a loan of over £550,000 per year for the next 20 years for the road – but that would be a cost of over £11 million – and when you include the almost £2 million already spent on design and consultants, and even without a wee bit extra in contingency for the inevitable delays and overruns, I arrive at a total cost approaching £13 million. This leads me to think that, unless someone in the Council is able to magically produce money, which would solve a myriad of problems, the original figure of £12.7 million was closer to the truth.
However, what is clear to me, to many others, and likely to the vast majority of people across Moray, is that the money – however much it may be – could be better spent elsewhere. There is no guarantee that the money saved by scrapping the proposed link road will go to save any particular service – but it could, and that’s worth fighting for.
There are also still those who think that these proposals are an “Elgin only” issue, and do not affect them, but they do. Every council tax payer in Moray is paying for this road, and every person in Moray will be touched by service cuts. The people of Forres, who may yet lose the Falconer Museum despite the efforts of valiant volunteers, are paying for the Western Link Road. The folk in Roseisle, Kinloss, and Findhorn seeing the No. 31 bus withdrawn, are paying for the Western Link Road. The seven rural communities still fighting hard for their libraries, will all be paying for the Western Link Road. Rural drivers who will see their local roads become pot-holed and rutted without repair – will be paying for the Western Link Road. Those who previously enjoyed our parks and green spaces, our towns and villages in bloom, will instead pay for the Western Link Road. Schoolchildren of any number of schools, and our senior citizens, may yet pay a higher price in the near future, when school closures threaten, and services for the elderly are reviewed.
Now is the time to act, on Saturday 12th October people from across the area will gather in Elgin, and March for Moray. The proposed Western Link Road has become symbolic of the skewed priorities of those in power: that vested interests and pet projects take precedence over vital services and looking out for the most vulnerable. The last march attracted hundreds of people, this time we can do better, we can send a message that cannot be ignored, but we need to work together. When we look back on the event will we all be able to say “I was there, I Marched for Moray, I made a difference” – I hope so.