Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Development Company Meeting

Eighteen people attended last night's meeting called by the West Ardnamurchan Community Development Company to suggest and discuss projects which the company might support.  In all, seven were put forward for consideration on the understanding that it would not be the WACDC which would run projects, but that it would work with and support small sub-groups of interested and committed people.

1. The Shop.  The present owner intends to keep the shop for about ten more years, so the suggestion is that the community should register an interest so that, when he sells, we would have the option of buying it.  This would be done at the commercial rate, and we would have access to grants, but we would have a limited time in which to raise the money.

2.  The Petrol Station: Faced with the possibility of having to close it, the present owner suggested that the community take over the running of the station, perhaps leasing the land off him.  He explained that he was unable to obtain any grants to replace the pumps, one of which is now defunct, while the community might be able to obtain grant-funding, and could consider installing pumps operated using credit cards.  While some people were wary of the difficulties of the community taking over a section of the shop's business which is loss-making, it was agreed to explore alternative funding.

3.  A Community Minibus: A large number of uses for a community bus were identified, including use by Primary and Secondary School pupils, a service from the pier to the lighthouse or distillery, shopping expeditions, and private hire.  That this might offer a part-time job was an additional incentive.  It was agreed to approach those who had run the school minibus, now sold, to explore the practicalities.

4.  A Pontoon:  Marine Harvest are currently seeking planning permission to use Mingary Pier to service a new fish farm at MacLean's Nose.  If this is obtained, the facility will be functioning by early next year.  Experience of Marine Harvest's very positive approach to helping the people of Muck when a similar project was recently opened there suggest that working with this company offered the community a golden opportunity.  It was agreed that an approach to the West Ardnamurchan Jetty Association, which already operates moorings in Kilchoan Bay, should be made.

A link to the planning application is here.

5. A Laundrette:  It was suggested that good use would be made, both by members of the local community and visitors, of a coin-operated commercial washing machine and a drying machine of sizes that could cope with double duvets.  One possibility is to site them in WAJA's toilet block next to the shop, which has space and needs upgrading.

6.  A Hydro Scheme:  With good local sites available, this was acknowledged to be an excellent way of ensuring long-term income but would require an initial capital investment of several tens of thousands.

7.  A Development Officer:  It was acknowledged that any projects adopted would be far more likely to progress if we could appoint a Community Development Officer to drive them.  Grant funding is available for such posts but the WACDC would have to take the initiative in applying for it.

1 comment:

  1. The problem with the minibus is the cost of maintenance/depreciation.
    Our church had one, until we worked out it was cheaper to hire one in as needed.

    The hydro scheme seems better: get shares in the community and elsewhere, and sell the power on.

    What about high speed rural broadband?

    sorry to butt in.