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Ardgour Community Council (ACC) held its monthly meeting on Thursday September 14 over Zoom and in the Treslaig Hall.
Among the issues discussed were:
Corran Ferry Update – MV Corran and Maid of Glencoul – Malcolm MacLeod (HC Infrastructure, Environment and Economy) had been expected to meet
with Inverlussa at the start of September but there is no update on whether the meeting took place or any outcomes.
It was noted noted that at the meeting with the Transport Minister it was made clear that responsibility for the Corran Ferry rests with Highland Council (HC).
The Maid of Glencoul cannot be returned to service until the reason behind the recurring steering fault is identified and repaired.
There was some discussion of the passenger transport options with a suggestion for HC to review the services to help target funds towards the most useful options.
It was suggested that the idea of a shuttle bus from Nether Lochaber to Fort William be revisited now that peak season is coming to an end and Shiel Buses may have more capacity.
More regular sailings of the cruise boat was also suggested exploring using it as a vessel at the Narrows.
The CC will write to David Summers (HC Transport) asking for a review of the public transport arrangements.
Corran Crossing Survey
Suggested deadline for return of the survey is September 28 but surveys will still be accepted after this date.
Comments are to be collated but details for processing are still being worked out.
PC MacIvar provided an update by email: “There has been no crime reported in the Ardgour area in the past month.
“An email has been sent to Highland Council Roads Department highlighting concerns about Mull Rally Traffic travelling around the A861 (Drumsallie – Ardgour) route.
“I believe the organisers have been taking the ferry issues into factor with their event
“I am not sure what the current numbers are for the Mull Rally competitors however it is expected that there will be a decline in the numbers of participants and visitors this year although there is no doubt it will still be popular and busy.”
There was a discussion about arrangements for during the Mull rally and concerns about the effect on A861 traffic will be raised with HC.
Police will be asked to pursue a plan for traffic management.
Ardgour Place Plan
Nick Wright would like to come to a future CC meeting to discuss the place plan.
Funding has been secured for the Urram housing survey which should begin in
December and the project is to be completed by March 2024.
Lochaber Health and Social Care Redesign
The working group has requested a permanent MRI facility, as opposed to the current proposal for an MRI to be available on a visiting basis.
Kate Forbes MSP is identifying how many referrals for MRIs are received by Raigmore from outlying areas and the working group has asked for the threshold at which level a permanent MRI would be more suitable.
A second theatre is being provided but it will double up as the endoscopy room and the stakeholders group has asked for a separate endoscopy room and have presented detailed reasons why.
Michael Foxley highlighted the need for an adequate number of local care home beds to avoid acute beds being blocked – at present 40 percent to 80 percent of the acute beds in the Belford are filled by patients waiting for a care home bed and Lochaber has half the care bed capacity of the rest of the Highlands.
It was noted that due to the population demographics there will be an increased capacity for care beds and care homes, especially in rural areas where in-home care is not practical due to distances between homes and problems with recruitment.
The layout of the A and E department is still being planned but should contain a place of safety for vulnerable patients.
Mr Foxley stressed the need to future-proof the project rather than fit it to the existing staffing availability.
Community Council Elections
A reminder of the election timetable was given and attendees were advised that the last date for lodging nomination papers is Tuesday October 3 at 12 noon.
A number of current community councillors are not planning to stand for re-election so new nominees are encouraged for ACC to avoid abeyance.
If there are between six and eight nominations then the current CC will dissolve at midnight on October 10 and reform with the new members.
If there are more than eight candidates then the current CC will continue operating until November 27 when it will be dissolved.
Date of next meeting: Thursday October 12 (7.30pm) at Ardgour Hall.