Island communities funding bid

Islanders from both ends of Kerrera synchronised their watches to walk their new road for the first time and meet up about half-way. The road still needs topping. KI_T47_kerreraroad04

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A larger ferry for Ulva, finishing off the new road on Kerrera and stage two of flood defence work in Tobermory could all be in the running for a share of £30 million government funding.

Proposals, which would see major investment in a host of ambitious projects across Argyll and Bute’s island communities, are now in development.

Councillors have approved a range of options for possible inclusion in a funding bid to the Scottish Government’s Islands Programme (IP).

The initiative is a five-year investment project to help deliver the National Islands Plan (NIP) encouraging population growth, achieve net-zero ambitions  and support a post-pandemic eco-recovery.

The 2022/23 programme will see £4 million allocated across the six island local authorities via a competitive application process with a maximum of five applications per local authority.

The projects under consideration include improving airport infrastructure at Colonsay and Coll airports, progressing phase two of Tobermory public realm work and flood resilience and completing the final phase of the new Kerrera North South Road.

If successful, improvements to School Street in  Bowmore, the public toilets at Distillery House and a new footway to improve safety at the narrow section of the road on Islay could also be set to benefit.

Improvements for the Jura Ferry, including a permanent alternative for a small passenger only vessel when the Eilean Dhiura is off service,  are also in the running.

Under the Scottish Government scheme, local authorities can submit up to five applications each via a bidding process. Applications close June 10.

Head of Development and Economic Growth Fergus Murray said: ‘As our island communities continue the process of recovery from the pandemic, a successful application to the Islands Programme would be a major boost to residents, businesses and visitors.

‘As many of the projects are at varying stages of development. The challenge will be the competitive nature of the bid process, the short timeframe for both the submission of the bid and securing the funding within the timeframe. We expect a second round of the Islands Programme in 2023.

‘This is a fantastic opportunity to further invest in our island communities and help achieve long-term economic success for Argyll and Bute.’