Colonsay getting £300k road upgrade – its first since 1985

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Cheers rang round Colonsay church on Tuesday last week as Argyll council leader Robin Currie announced plans for a major £300,000 upgrade to the island’s road network – its first in more than 35 years.

‘I really, really want to do something for the Colonsay roads, because it was 1985 that the last proper works were done,’ began the Argyll and Bute councillor for Kintrye and the Islands in his report to Colonsay Community Council, which met online and in-person in Scalasaig’s parish church.

‘I was thinking, if the Mid Argyll, Kintrye and the Islands area get an allocation after the budget, how realistic is it to get quite a big sum for Colonsay, because I was told last year by the roads officers that we would really need to spend £300,000 on the Colonsay roads.

‘I came to the conclusion that it probably would not be very likely, because that would take up maybe half of the total budget. So I did start thinking again how to get this money.

‘We have a Policy and Resources Committee meeting on Thursday, and there is a recommendation, nothing to do with the budget, but it is dealing with Crown Estates monies and the Island Infrastructure Fund. The recommendation is that £300,000 will be got from those funds to do the road on Colonsay this year.’

Adding to exclamations of ‘hooray’, ‘wow’, and ‘marvellous’, the community council’s convener Alex Howard said: ‘That would be an exceptionally good result. Thank you very much.’

Councillors passed the funding for Colonsay’s roads at last Thursday’s Policy and Resources Committee meeting, alongside a raft of island infrastructure improvements, totalling nearly £2million, for Kerrera, Jura, Tiree, Mull, Gigha, Islay, and other areas in Argyll.

A report, set to go before councillors, says Colonsay’s £300,000 road upgrade would support ‘new affordable housing development (10 units) and additional economic development for the island, including new business units’. An extra £40,000 was also granted for Colonsay Development Trust £40,000 to create a campsite for tents.

£200,000 will also plug a funding gap in the refurbishment Islay’s Bowmore Hall, which needs its roof fixed, after ‘extensive’ water leaks. South Islay Development also gets £50,000 for a shortfall redeveloping the Port Ellen Playing Fields.

The Isle of Kerrera Development Trust will receive £55,000 to redevelop the old schoolhouse, ‘to provide much needed community space and public toilets’, and the Tiree Community Development Company gets £45,000 for renewable heating in four business units.

Jura Community Business benefits from £50,000 to upgrade the community owned fuel station in Craighouse, as well as £40,000 for mooring repair and upgrades to a community operated visitor facility.

£50,000 is going to Tobermory Harbour Association to ‘enable the redevelopment of the main Aros Park building and facilitate business and tourism opportunities’, and there is £67,000 for the Southwest Mull and Iona Development’s seaweed treatment infrastructure.

The Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust is getting £30,000 for improvements to Achamore gardens to enable more of the gardens to be re-opened to visitors and residents.