Argyll’s islands have their own distinct identities but they also share issues which affect the people living, working and visiting them. This short life working group will be working to identify these issues and address them.
Councillors met at the end of March to discuss island issues and now have a clear outline of the next steps.
Chair of the group, Bute-based Councillor Len Scoullar, said: ‘’We have established this group to take forward our own islands initiative to ensure that we can build a prosperous and sustainable future for our islands. We will be producing a position statement which will outline the key areas for support, which could include increased resources from both the Scottish and UK governments.
‘’We welcome action that supports prosperous island living such as the three islands councils’ Our Islands: Our Future initiative; our new task force will bring focus on the attractions and challenges of Argyll’s 23 inhabited islands.
‘’We will establish some key actions points which we will then take to the Scottish Government for their early consideration. Any change in legislation at national level will have to reflect the needs of all of Scotland’s islands.’’
The group considered a number of overarching issues facing our islands that require early action including: sustainable transport, transportation infrastructure, broadband, mobile phone coverage, service provision, economic growth, cultural issues and governance structures.
These broad general themes will form a benchmark for future discussions which will look to drill down in to the issues, identifying concerns for our islands as a whole, as well as particular issues for individual islands.
The group will be working with key partners such the Scottish Islands Federation (SIF), NHS Highland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to identify the key issues affecting our island communities as well as working to establish relationships with Highland and North Ayrshire councils, who also have islands within their council areas.
The council is already taking action to benefit our islands through the SOA key outcomes such as the provision of superfast broadband, improving local peoples’ skills, the provision of affordable housing, regeneration initiatives such as the Townscape Heritage Initiative in Rothesay and improvements to airports and ferry terminals.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 13th May.
Members of the short life working group are:
- Cllr Len Scoullar (Chair)
- Cllr Robin Currie
- Cllr Mary Jean Devon
- Cllr Anne Horn
- Cllr Duncan MacIntyre
- Cllr Robert E MacIntyre
- Cllr Isobel Strong