Festive lighting will be delivered in Inveraray and Lochgilphead, by local organisations, in 2018.
Funding for Lochgilphead Festive Lights Committee and Inveraray Community Council was agreed by Mid Argyll, Kintyre and Islay Area Committee on Wednesday (10 October).
Lochgilphead Festive Lights Committee has been awarded £5,000 to project manage the set-up, commission a contractor testing, maintaining and removal of the lights as well as organising the much anticipated “switch-on” event.
Inveraray Community Council will receive £1,650 for machinery hire as well as to maintain, repair and replace damaged lighting features.
In Furnace, Bowmore and Craighouse this year’s festive worked will be carried out by local-subcontractors, with community solutions in place for future years.
In Ardrishaig, the council will lead on the works this year ahead of a community-led solution from 2019 onwards. A long-term solution has still to be found for Campbeltown and Tarbert, but discussions are ongoing, and the council will carry out this year’s work.
There is enough remaining funding to allow the council to deliver festive lighting in the remaining towns and villages for 2018, but it is unlikely that there will be any funding left to carry forward for future years.
Iain MacAskill, of Inveraray Community Council, said: “We have known for some time now, that the council is under pressure to reduce budgets, and that we need to concentrate on lifeline services.
“Part of the rationalisation has been the understanding that the council was going to have to move away from the delivery seasonal lighting. We have had this in our minds for some three years now, so when we were asked to enter into discussions on the transition, this was no great shock. We had three options – ignore it, and hope it just kept happening, refuse to take part in anything and not have any Christmas lights in our town, or we could engage with the council and do our utmost to ensure we will still be shining this Christmas.
“What really helped was the fact that the council had an officer who had all the information to hand, was able to help us make decisions, and was able to make decisions himself. We are in the final stages of organising the switch on ourselves this year, and would not have been able to do this without his help.
“We started off with a situation that worried us slightly, and we are now quite happy that we will have the skills and commitment in the community to keep us lit for years to come.”
Councillor Robin Currie, Chair of the MAKI area committee, said: “Our thanks to the two communities for working with us to find a more sustainable way of bringing festive lighting to Lochgilphead and Inveraray.
“It’s been no secret that we had to find new ways of doing this. Having the community leading means tapping into sponsorship or in-kind opportunities which makes the budget available go further. I wish everyone the best of luck.”