The only other people who have had any big say is the EU due to the funding the funicular got from their funding dept....
And that EU funding contribution (as reported in the CIPS professional journal many years back) had to be repaid to the EU, due to the funicular project procurement having failed to comply with the EU Procurement Directives. Sigh.
Now that ought to be more known...as I didn't know that...!!
So the old excuses of we can't do this & that because of EU funding ...basically not valid since when? as paid back
---That was not a fall, I intended to do that!---
As I understand a % was paid back, not the entire EU grant. However the line that the section 50 is almost untouchable because of the EU funding being tied to protection of EU designated sites in the Northern Corries and the Cairngorm Plateau isn't true. It's put up as an excuse and a obstacle, but even if the Section 50 was scrapped repayment would only arise if there actually was subsequent damage that could be shown to have resulted from the Funicular operations.
Much is made that the closed system has lead to improved condition of the higher mountain areas. However, the reality is the damage done in the first 20 years of the ski area was already being repaired and improving through subsequent path improvements, drainage improvements to reduce spreading erosion and various ground repair / reseeding projects.
Between the Ptarmigan and CairnGorm summit is one of the most heavily engineered high mountain footpaths in Scotland that was built to reduce erosion that had previously occurred. The overwhelming majority of Funicular passengers wouldn't go more than a couple of minutes from the Ptarmigan building - many in autumn and spring outside of the snowsports season's main wish is to go and play in any snow that is in the vicinity of the building.
Those who do venture beyond the immediate surrounds of the building will be a minority of those who go up on the funicular and of them only a small minority would go beyond the Summit and Marquis Well footpath loop.
The closed system was brought in under a precautionary principle - that should not mean nothing changes. A couple of things that in my opinion ought to have already been done to gradually reduce the restrictions in a manor compatible with that principle are:
1. Spring transitional period where the system remains open for a period after the end of the snowsports season while there is still snow cover in the Ptarmigan Bowl in close proximity to the Top Station.
2. Regular free ranger guided walk at the Top during non skiing open system periods, a good number of people who'd want to walk to the summit would go on these and more staff / rangers out on the paths would also help monitor what was going on and educate people about how sensitive the environment is up there.
Depending on the feedback and evidence collected by 2 during 1, extending 2 to all year rear round. Subject to weather snowshoe tours could be done in winter - these could as the system is defacto open in winter anyway be a premium paid for protect to take account of hiring gear and qualified rangers / guides.
Outwith the ski season an open system should attract more visitors, more repeat visitors and increased revenue from funicular tickets should be enhanced further by increased dwell time on the upper mountain leading to an increase in catering revenue if the offering is up to scratch. Thus covering the cost of additional rangers to cover more frequent ranger led walks to the top.
Of course this is rather academic at the moment because it's not public knowledge just how significant the problems are with the various parts of the Funicular structures. Given the severity of the climate it's not unreasonable to think given the problems arising within less than 20 years that from here in the Funicular will be troublesome, even higher cost with negative revenue impacts from unreliable operation with intermittent maintenance shutdowns.
It must not be a case of pursuing a policy that the Funicular must be repaired at any cost now and in the future just to save face at HIE.
Edited 1 times. Last edit at 10.01hrs Mon 15 Oct 18 by alan.