Special public event to look at FW2040 progress – one year on

Alastair Nicolson (left) of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and Scott Delgarno, development plans manager at Highland Council, at Caol Community Centre with the FW2040 map ahea. Picture Iain Ferguson, Alba.photos. NO F51 Caol 2040 in December with the initial 2040 map.

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A public exhibition is being staged later this month to review progress on a master plan for the area’s future.

A year on from the first Fort William 2040 (FW2040) consultation, residents are being encouraged to go along to the Nevis Centre on Wednesday, September 25, to review progress and give their views on the next stages of the masterplan.

The exhibition runs from 2pm to 7.30pm and includes workshops where people can discuss the delivery of different aspects of the plans.

Councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of The Highland Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, said: ‘Significant progress has been made in delivering developments over the last year and we want to continue the momentum to deliver other services and infrastructure over the next few years, including major new employment opportunities, a new hospital and educational facilities,’ he said.

During last year’s FW2040 consultation participants highlighted three key priorities for the future: A Great Place to Live; A Connected Place and A Place Facing Water.

A fourth priority – A Place with Collective Ambition – highlighted the willingness of local people to work together.

Arrangements for the event are being co-ordinated by The Highland Council, in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and The Scottish Government.

Representatives of all the existing and aspirational projects in the town are being given space to exhibit the plans they are working on and answer any questions.

HIE Programme Manager Alastair Nicolson added: ‘This is a really exciting opportunity for the people of Fort William and Lochaber.

‘We look forward to welcoming people on the day. Their input will help shape priorities for the year ahead.’

Councillor Henderson hopes as many people as possible take up this opportunity to get involved.

‘FW2040 is about communities, businesses, landowners and potential investors collaborating to create and deliver the type of place people want Fort William to be.

‘This collaborative approach allows everyone to play their part and will help ensure the town and the wider Lochaber area can fulfil its enormous potential.

‘Results of the event will help feed into an updated version of the FW2040 Masterplan so it is important the ideas and feedback from individuals and community groups are captured at this stage.

‘But we also want to see people from across the water on Ardgour and the wider area coming along too because they are also directly involved.

‘People don’t have to come for the whole day. They can drop in for as long as they want.’

To coincide with the FW2040 event, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson MSP will be meeting with representatives from Lochaber Chamber of Commerce to discuss their aspirations.