Districts week 28

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Dunoon

Work on a fantastic new Dunoon Primary School is about to get under way.

Dunoon school gets under way.

Argyll and Bute Council has signed a contract for the work with project partners hubNorth Scotland Ltd and Morrison Construction.

The project will see a major refurbishment of the historic Victorian building as well as the building of a new wing.

Work will start this month and is scheduled for completion in spring 2019.
Approximately £10 million is being invested in the school, with half coming from the council and the remainder coming from the Scottish Government.

The school will remain open during the refurbishment and building work.

 

Benderloch

More than 70 people attended the community council meeting in North Connel Hall on Tuesday June 27 to hear from Sustrans about the proposed route for the cycle path from Ledaig to Benderloch.

An overwhelming majority rejected the latest proposal by Sustrans because it involved crossing the A828.

The issue of safety was the main concern, as parents of young children stated that crossing the busy trunk road was unacceptable and they urged the stakeholders to work out a route that provided a safe path for children going to school.

A major block to achieving the preferred route is an objection by a landowner but it is hoped that further negotiation will lead to a workable solution.

Ward councillors who attended the meeting were asked to intervene and revisit the core path option.

The date for the next Ardchattan Community Council is set for Tuesday August 22 at the Victory Hall in Benderloch at 7.30pm.

Joy Cameron with some of the children at her retirement party.

Retirement

A much-loved and respected teacher at Lochnell School, Joy Cameron, said her farewells last Friday to staff and pupils as she begins her retirement.  The creative and inspiring teacher had a wonderful send-off a few days earlier when parents, pupils and staff held a special party at the school, with pupils past and present all attending to wish Joy well in the next chapter of her life.

Connel

The popular soup lunch season has begun in Connel Church Hall.

Every Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 2pm volunteers serve nourishing soup and fine home-baking in a friendly atmosphere. All are welcome.

Glen Orchy and Innishail

The community council received a report from Carraig Gheal Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund and stressed the importance and success of this fund to the wider community.

Grant guidelines were discussed and agreed and will now be issued to any applicant with the application form.

It was noted that the community council had not endorsed a micro grant application for wildlife feeding costs in a private garden in Cladich.

Grants were agreed for Dalmally Primary School, £500, and, after a ballot, an award was agreed for the Loch Aweside Red Squirrel Group – £250 from An Suidhe micro grant and £150 from the community.

Police news

PC Darren Miller asked that all residents report anything unusual by phoning 101.

He said that people were naturally reluctant to trouble the public services, but it is increasingly important to let the police decide priorities, otherwise incidents are not recorded and a false value of rural crime and concerns is created.

The community council has agreed to carry any reasonable costs of Rural Watch signs.

Western Isles

Angus Brendan MacNeil, the MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has won the chance to be one of the first MPs in this session of parliament to make their own mark on the law by introducing a Private Members’ Bill.

These are public bills introduced by MPs who are not government ministers.

Mr MacNeil was drawn in seventh place out of the 461 MPs who took part in a ballot of members.

Twenty ballot balls were drawn by clerk assistant John Benger, with the names of the successful MP read out by the chairman of ways and means, Lindsay Hoyle MP.

However, as time for debating Private Members’ Bills is limited to just 13 Fridays in each parliamentary session, only the top seven in the ballot are virtually guaranteed debating time.

The next step will be the presentation of the bill on Wednesday July 19, when the 20 successful MPs will introduce their chosen bills in the House of Commons chamber at the start of the day’s proceedings.

Island renewables

MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has been pressing the UK government to support renewable energy projects in the islands and, on Tuesday July 18, he will again maintain this pressure when he meets Richard Harrington, under-secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Mr MacNeil said: ‘Locational price modelling is ruining the chances of island renewables wind projects.

‘The islands need to be considered as a distinct category open for CfDs (Contracts for Difference) to make wind projects in the islands viable.

‘I will be meeting Richard Harrington to again highlight the urgent need for action to allow renewable energy projects in the islands the opportunity to progress.’

Mr MacNeil last week met the Jo Cox Commission to raise awareness of loneliness in Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

Mrs Cox, who was murdered by a constituent last year, set up the commission, along with 13 organisations.

The commission is continuing her legacy by raising awareness about loneliness and working to reduce the stigma of being lonely.

Mr MacNeil said: ‘A British Red Cross survey found one in five people said they always or often felt lonely. Being lonely isn’t just a feeling, it’s considered to be as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

‘Many people link loneliness with older people, but that’s by no means the full picture.

‘I’ve signed a pledge to support the commission in its aim to tackle loneliness – both in Na h-Eileanan an Iar and in my role in parliament. You can pledge to start a conversation too through the Jo Cox website https://www.jocoxloneliness. org/pledge.’

 

Physiotherapy provision

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan has expressed his concern at physiotherapy provision in the Western Isles, following representations made to him by concerned parents.

A large number of frustrated parents and carers attended a paediatric physiotherapy event at the Caberfeidh Hotel in Stornoway last Tuesday to discuss the issue with NHS Western Isles and the integrated joint board (IJB).

Dr Allan said: ‘I have been contacted by a number of parents whose children have been unable to get an appointment since the retirement of the paediatric physiotherapist in June.

‘I understand that the post has been advertised twice and that efforts continue to fill the post.

‘I appreciate that the IJB and Western Isles have recognised these concerns and have confirmed they will work with both parents and carers closely on this issue. However, in the immediate short term, there are clearly concerns among this group of parents which need to be addressed, and I have raised these in correspondence with both boards.’

St Kilda

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed an announcement of a £16.8 million investment by UK Ministry of Defence and QinetiQ in two new BAE Systems tracking radars, to be installed on St Kilda, and the upgrade of two existing radars at MoD Hebrides.

Chairman of the sustainable development committee, Councillor Donald Crichton, said: ‘This is excellent news for Uist and for the Outer Hebrides. This investment demonstrates a commitment to the base and the employment that it provides and to a secure future.

‘I would hope this upgrading of equipment will make the Hebrides Range even more competitive and will pave the way for future development in this important sector for the islands.

‘I hope this investment opens the route to new and innovative business at the range, that it provides stability for the workforce and opens new opportunities for young people.

‘The comhairle remains highly supportive of the Hebrides Range and I would be keen that we continue to work with the range to maximise local opportunities from this investment.’

Lochgilphead

After listening to young people in their area, an Argyll-based youth group has secured funding to increase the provision of local recreational facilities.

Mid Argyll Youth Development Service (MAYDS), based in Lochgilphead, has received £155,118 from the Scottish Land Fund towards the purchase of its current building, which it had previously leased from Argyll and Bute Council, and two adjoining pieces of land.

For more than 20 years, the local charity has worked with young people to provide a wide range of recreational, educational, social and learning opportunities, including workshops, group activities and support services.

With this funding, MAYDS will now have the freedom to develop a broader range of activities including outdoor work, play space, a garden and a skateboard park, which was particularly sought after by young people in the community.

MAYDS manager Fiona Kalache said: ‘MAYDS is thrilled and overjoyed at receiving this award.  This will make a huge difference, thanks to everyone whom helped to get us here.’

Ardchattan

During a recent clear-out of a shed Archattan resident John Campbell came across a box.

After a bit of research he found that it was a lobster box and belonged to the late fisherman Ross McMahon from Kerrera.

Mr Campbell said: ‘It has been in our shed for more than 40 years. After some inquiries, I was able to return it to Ross’s daughters, and my photograph shows them taking delivery of it at Ardchattan.

‘I want to thank Les Robertson for his help with this – he was one of Ross’s crew on the Calum Cille.’

Janie McMahon and Kathlene get their dad’s lobster box back.

Lochnell

Primary two and three from Lochnell school took part in a beach clean at Tralee beach with staff and volunteers from Hope Kitchen.

The children organised a collection of toys and games for the charity and would like to thank all those who donated.


Youngsters from Lochnell Primary School joined staff and volunteers from Hope Kitchen to clean up Tralee beach.