The Former Hydroponicum and other news

Spring cleaning!

Following a meeting (open to all those on Coigach’s electoral roll) on Thursday 14th May in Achiltibuie, and extensive community consultation the directors of CCDC have agreed not to pursue re-registration of Community Interest in the former hydroponicum site. Whatever happens to the land now, we hope it will will bring some benefit to the community in another way – and CCDC has several other projects on the go which are keeping us busy.

Achiltibuie Schoolhouse: we we will soon be taking over ownership from The Highland Council adn will then lease the property to Highland Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) who  will refurbish the building and convert it into two rentable flats.

Former Achiltibuie Smokehouse: since Summer Isles Foods packed up and moved to Alness, the empty building is now in community ownership. We have appointed Alison SInclair as the new Development Officer who will take this project further towards refurbishment and a new lease of life.

Community wind turbine and hydro scheme: we now have Locogen (a multi-disciplinary energy company) on the case so we’re making progress on these all-important projects that will in turn help fund all the other things we have to do.

Old Dornie Harbour: needs extensive improvements to make it fit for purpose as it is essential to our local fishing, fish-farming and leisure industries and we need to find funding to do this. Eventually the income from the renewables projects will help.

Broadband: connectivity is as important in Coigach as it is anywhere – perhaps more so given our remote location so we want to make sure our community doesn’t get left behind.

Paths: in partnership with Coigach Assynt Living Landscape we are working on improvements and developments to the local paths network to improve infrastructure for visitors and locals alike.

Acheninver Youth Hostel: this is SYHA’s last year of leasing the building however we hope to help owners Scottish Wildlife Trust find new tenants as we don’t want to lose this iconic facility that has been bringing visitors to Coigach for about 70 years or more.

And we have the office to tidy up….

And perhaps also  time for a little reminder that CCDC’s directors are hard-working volunteers who put in many hours of their valuable time for the benefit of the wider community.  We’d all like to wish Peter Muir all the best on his retirement and thank him for the many years of work he has contributed – both as employee and the countless extra time he has put in particularly in regards to our renewables projects. And thanks too to Ben Walton, who has been our treasurer for the past four years and has now stepped down as a volunteer director.

Here’s who we are:

Volunteer Directors:
Chair – Iain Muir

Vice Chair – Iain Scott

Phil Shaughnessy

Ann Macleod

Steve Husband

Employees:

Anne Campbell, Local Development Officer

Linda Macleod currently standing in for Anne Campbell as Local Development Officer who is on sick leave

Alison Sinclair, Smokehouse Development Officer

Julia Campbell, Local Development Officer

And we have over 100 members – that’s over half the community!

Happy New Year!

And thanks to these hairy locals - owned by CCDC director Ben Walton.
And thanks to these hairy locals – owned by CCDC director Ben Walton.

 

Another busy year for CCDC beckons! With fresh new diaries on their desks, the staff and directors are looking at their To Do lists and bashing on with implementing the community development plan and working towards Coigach’s future sustainability.

Tanera: We will shortly select a consultant to carry out a quick appraisal of options to look at the pros and cons of possible purchase of the island for the community. This will enable us to make an informed decision regarding purchase  and it will be helpful to all to look at the possibilities from a different viewpoint.

The Smokehouse: Having cleared many of the hurdles of the community right to buy process, we are nearing a crucial point in the proceedings. If funding is firmly secured, we should be in a position to purchase soon – but there’s still a bit of work to do so watch this space and see what the Spring brings!

Housing & Workshop Units – still on the agenda, still working towards achieving these essentials on the community wish list!

Badentarbet Pier & Old Dornie Harbour: the feasibility study is still ongoing. Wallace Stone have carried out extensive surveying and consultation work and now Steve Westbrook is looking at the economics. Hopefully we’ll soon have a draft report of their findings which will give us further information to look at the scope for community ownership and/or developments and improvements.

Renewable Energy: work continues through our subsiduary companies Coigach Wind Power Ltd (community wind turbine) and Ben Mor Hydro (joint hydro power venture with Scottish Wildlife Trust) to drive these projects forward and closer to our goal of a sustainable income – to help with all the projects above and more.

CCDC and Citizens Online will shortly be embarking on informal training sessions for local people who would like to use the internet and who might be missing out if they don’t know how. Sessions will be kicking off soon so if you know someone that could benefit from accessing services, shopping, travel (and fun!) online please contact coigachldo@hotmail.co.uk . Training will be free, friendly and local – in the hall with a cup of tea.

And we (LDOs)  are particularly pleased to report that funding and contracts for the Local Development Officer (LDO)  post has been extended to include 2013 so that’s a good start!   Peter Muir and Julia Campbell will continue to share the post and are can be contacted by email coigachldo@hotmail.co.uk by phone: Peter 01854 622 444, Julia 01854 622 379, visited in the hall most Wednesday mornings from 10am – or stopped in the road, post office or shops if you have any queries, comments, suggestions or ideas.