It’s my Opinion

THE success of Ellon’s 14 year old park and ride facility has to be hailed as one of biggest triumphs of the local area, at least in recent times, though there are still those of us that believe it is on the wrong side of the town.

But let’s put such churlish thoughts aside, even if the politics and commercial interests of the mid to late 90’s could not be separated.

So if we accept that the success story of 1998 is one to savour, would it be fair to ask just why the first class staffed waiting room that adjoins the park is not open seven days a week, especially given the exposed venue of the facility?

The park may not be as busy at the weekends, but not so quiet as not to be justify being closed to those heading for Aberdeen and other locations north and south of Ellon.

Standing or sitting on a wet Saturday or Sunday is not exactly the best start to your journey either to work, or to day of leisure.

If, as I suspect, it’s all about having to pay overtime, how then does that square with the public toilets in the town centre being open over weekends?

Both facilities are in fact operated by Aberdeenshire Council, so assuming - perhaps wrongly - there is an overall management plan, we - the recipients - surely have the right to know the logic, if any behind the strategy. Personally, I am very disappointed not to have had response to my query about the aforesaid toilets being closed on the day of the Ythan Challenge over a month ago.

Aberdeenshire Council cannot go on not facing up to issues, however trivial they might seem to our high-handed officials.

Having got that one off my chest, allow me to go back to one of my concerns about the location of the park and ride.

In general terms, it is my contention that while it is accepted that the facility is well used, it is principally users come from north of the area, including Ellon itself, Mintlaw, Auchnagatt etc.

Residents of the south and west part of the town tend not to want to drive away from where they are going, ie Aberdeen.

This would of course explain why so many of these commuters abandon their cars in town centre car parks in Ellon, including - would you believe - the Health Centre, the two hotels, and the Clydesdale Bank.

Until this abuse of public facilities ceases, the clogging of a potentially busy shopping area will go on.

But while I am well known critic of some of the council’s shortcomings, they pale into insignificance when compared to goings on in Scottish football where the fear factor has helped them lose control of the wee bit sense they had (apologies to Jimmy McGregor).

The saga of the demise of Rangers FC should be all over bar the shouting, but somehow I don’t think we have heard the end of it.

More’s the pity.

But if you think the game north of the border is incompetent, just wait and see what kind of hash the FA will make of the appalling behaviour of John Terry the Chelsea player on trial last week.

Terry may have been found not guilty of racial abuse, but still has a case to answer after admitting he had used the obscene words when confronting Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers.

It’s my opinion the beautiful game is in one holy mess, especially when no less a person as Butch Wilkins formerly of Chelsea insists that this is the language we have come to expect and accept of modern players.

Sorry Mr Wilkins - if you really hold to this belief, the game will never get itself out the gutter.

But then what do you expect given the lack of role models on the pitch.