District News, December 25 2020

MV Finlaggan
MV Finlaggan.

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Virtual meeting to discuss new ferry

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), in partnership with CalMac Ferries Limited and Transport Scotland, will hold an online community consultation meeting in January 2021 to engage island communities and community stakeholders in the design and planning process for the new vessel to service Islay and Jura.

It will be the first community meeting that CMAL has held virtually.

The virtual event will take place on Thursday January 14, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, and will be hosted on Microsoft Teams, which is free to download online.

To participate in the event, which is open to everyone with an interest in the new vessel, register via Eventbrite at www.islayvessel.eventbrite.co.uk

The meeting will provide communities with an update on the new vessel feasibility studies, which have been ongoing throughout 2020.

Key considerations in the extensive range of studies have included: passenger and vehicle requirements; maximising vehicle capacities – particularly for freight; forecast demand; operational requirements; requirements and arrangements for passengers and crew; accessibility; vessel operating speed and timetable; port fits, limitations and improvements; emission and fuel consumption analysis; air quality; reliability, manoeuvrability and seakeeping; shore power and overnight noise; benefits and disadvantages, and capital and operational costs.

Options for vessel capacities will be presented based on the outcomes of the feasibility studies. Attendees will have the opportunity to share their views and comments, and ask questions during the meeting.

CMAL had to postpone meetings in Bowmore, Port Ellen and Jura in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has been unable to reschedule meetings on the islands due to the ongoing restrictions.

Jim Anderson, director of vessels at CMAL, said: ‘The community meetings are overdue. We have been liaising with the Islay Community Council Ferry Committee throughout this year and are now in a position for further engagement with the wider island community.

‘We had hoped to rearrange events for late summer 2020 when there was some relaxation in the restrictions, but we had to balance it carefully with the health and safety of the island communities and our people.

‘The events of 2020 mean people are more comfortable than ever with virtual meetings and technology, so we have decided this is our best option until we can return to Islay and Jura safely.

‘There will be an opportunity for discussion and questions, and we urge everyone who can make it to register now to attend.

‘One of the benefits of having the meeting online is that we can record and make it available later for those who can’t make the date and time.’

All presentations will be available on the CMAL website after the meeting and an updated question and answer document will be published.

Questions or any other queries regarding the project can be emailed to islayvessel@cmassets.co.uk or, alternatively, can be sent to Jim Anderson at Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited, Municipal Buildings, Fore Street, Port Glasgow, PA14 5EQ.


Funding boost for playing field group

Rhinns Playing Field Association is one of 161 projects from across Scotland which will share in a £3,931,314 cash boost from The National Lottery Community Fund.

The group will use a grant of £7,500 to improve access to its community-owned field in Portnahaven.

It is one of four community groups in Argyll to share in the funding, alongside Crossroads Young Carers Cowal and Bute, Friends of Dervaig Primary and Kilmore and Kilbride Village Hall Committee.

Friends of Dervaig Primary will use its £5,096 award to deliver an after-school, inter-generational project with children and the wider community working together in the community orchard and plant tree nursery.

Kilmore and Kilbride Village Hall Committee, south of Oban, are to build an extension, incorporating a new kitchen and meeting place for the community, with its £7,500 grant.

Thanks to an award of £280,330, over three years, Crossroads Young Carers Cowal and Bute will be able to support 185 young carers, aged between five and 24 years, through after-school groups, lunchtime school drop-ins, one-to-one sessions, advocacy and advice, holiday activities and residential sessions.