New proposals, which would see major investment in a host of ambitious projects across Argyll and Bute’s island communities, are in development.
Councillors 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, £30 million investment to help the delivery of the National Islands Plan (NIP). It supports projects that encourage population growth, deliver on Scottish Government net-zero ambitions and support a green economic recovery from the impact of the pandemic.
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:
- Coll/Colonsay - enhancing airport infrastructure at Colonsay and Coll airports including; CCTV, creation of a small fire-training rig on both islands, improved accessibility and new white lining machinery and runway surface cleaning equipment.
- Mull - progressing phase two of Tobermory public realm work and flood resilience.
- Bute – a multi-use Places to Play games area next to Rothesay swimming pool and a play park adjacent to Winter Gardens/Visitor centre.
- Kerrera – the final phase of the new Kerrera North South Road.
- Islay – improvements to School Street, Bowmore, public toilets at Distillery House and a new footway to improve safety at the narrow section of the road.
- Jura - improved infrastructure for Jura Ferry including a permanent alternative access solution for small passenger only vessel when the Eilean Dhiura is off service.
- Bute - provision of new business units for lease to aid recovery and growth.
- Port Ellen – enhanced access to Port Ellen ferry terminal to include improved footways from the ferry to the village, a wider road and new bus bay close to the island’s war memorial.
- Islay - new car parking next to Bowmore pier
- Ulva - purchase of a larger ferry suitable for carrying pickups or trailers, loose freight and livestock.
- Island community hall - connectivity project – this additional option would enhance digital connectivity to allow access to superfast broadband. Community halls/centres would operate a new hybrid-meeting model and act as community digital hubs.
Under the scheme, local authorities can submit up five applications each and must apply via a bidding process. Applications close 10 June 2022.
Fergus Murray, Head of Development and Economic Growth:
“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. ”