From Barrie Bertram.
THE JEP missed a trick in not getting the juxtaposition of two articles spot-on, for it reported the results of the Tourism survey on 7 May, a day ahead of the report on the public meeting to discuss Fort Regent’s future use.
To my mind, both articles are very much related in terms of their topics, yet at the same time, both report contrasting views.
The Tourism survey recounts the opinions of tourists who predominantly come to the Island for, and I paraphrase here, the scenery, and the history and heritage. A valid view?
Undoubtedly, for they put their money where their mouths are, and they want to come back for more. Moreover, 90% said that they would recommend it to their chums.
Turning to the Fort Regent meeting, among the suggested uses there was the suggestion of an indoor ski slope and a budget hotel. I’ll give the meeting the benefit of the doubt by describing it as a brainstorming session, but one can only question the logic of junking a vital piece of Jersey’s long military heritage with such suggestions.
To take the individual ideas, the Island is not a sufficiently large enough catchment area to make the construction and functioning of an indoor ski slope financially viable, and should it ever come about, how soon would it be regarded as a ‘snow white elephant’? After all, where is the New Era roller skating rink today?
Turning to the budget hotel, I can only advise the reader that I stayed at the excellent Premier Inn in Caernarfon for a few days last week while looking at the scenery and the history and heritage of North Wales. It was not located in Caernarfon Castle (a World Heritage Site, bach), although a first-class Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum was.
I note that the Scrutiny Panel will, in due course, consult with the Tourism and Heritage departments. In so doing, I hope that they will consider that the Fort’s heritage is and will be important to the tourism industry, one which will help fill those emerging ‘black holes’ in the States’ finances if it again flourishes by recognising that today’s tourist is more discerning.
Finally, it does not matter to the tourist solely, the Fort is a part of the Island’s heritage and should be nurtured for future generations unencumbered by rusty, clapped-out ski lifts and boarded-up, run-down hotels.
22 Hornby Road,