THE MONDAY MOAN – A once a week spot for us to moan about the stuff that perhaps we should all be moaning about that little bit more… 

Yes, this time last year we, as in the Wales Outdoors Team and a large bunch of clients, 24 in total, filled two RIB’s and headed over to Flat Holm for what turned out to be, for all, a most memorable and crazily lovely weekend.

We had bunk room and camping accommodation, shared responsibilities for catering and cleaning, morning yoga, guided walks, life drawing, a fast rib ride including donuts!, historical interpretation of the island, jogging circuits of the place and a photography masterclass.

We packed all of that into a two evening stay that also, of course, included some very tall tales, once the wine began to flow.

And what’s there to moan about then, you might ask? Well, do read on…

Wales Outdoors tries to deliver best value and ultra friendly events where clients feel that they are getting a good price to enjoy the surroundings and make some new friends. But, Wales Outdoors is commercial, Andy and the team have to make a living from giving up their time to organise and guide.

And so it’s pretty upsetting to find, subsequent to this 5 star event, that some unthinking bureaucrat working at Cardiff Council, with the intentions of promoting Flatholm to the wider public BUT without contacting the existing users of the island, finds some funding from some lost taxpayers pot and delivers a closely resembling weekend, with a wellbeing theme, at great public expense.

It’s upsetting to me as the business owner to find that my sell out use of the venue was not appreciated or even noted and it’s upsetting to my clients who had to pay me a commercial rate of £165 if they stayed in the bunkhouse and £140 for camping, and that was a great price, but then see the council subsiding a similar event at £60.

I was gobsmacked to be honest. I had Wales Outdoors clients telling me they were going to Flatholm for a two night weekend inclusive of food, transport, accommodation, entertainment, even inclusive of a Reike treatment or massage, for £60. The actual cost would have been closer to £250pp but of course with the council delivering it it would have been about £360pp (just for simple maths) meaning a subsidy of at least £300pp.

I complained. I was furious that the local authority were undermining my business with subsidies to a new venture, effectively displacing my existing use. And this type of interference by those with no commercial experience has dogged my career. But this was the last straw.

I have informed Cardiff City Council that if they engage in any further tourism activity that impacts upon my business at any time in the future I will be making a claim for my losses in Cardiff Courts.

I have informed them that I will not tolerate any further castle building and that the funding of start ups that impact existing business will be challenged.

The local authority, in this case Cardiff Council, are there to provide a service. Think education, police, roads and city infrastructure, rubbish collection etc. They are not there to set up business’ and to manipulate the commercial marketplace.

If you note any incursions by Cardiff Council or indeed any local authority into the commercial sector please pass on the details.

Author

Walk leader @ Wales Outdoors, life model @ Cardiff Life Models and poet @ Self Published