Category Archives: Community Announcements

Board Members Wanted for Highlands and Islands Enterprise

HIE Logo

People with a strong commitment to the future of the Highlands and Islands are being invited to apply to join the board of the region’s development agency.

Scottish Ministers are looking to fill three non-executive director positions on the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Board, with the new appointees expected to take up their appointments in the summer.

The agency operates throughout a geographically diverse region that covers more than half of the Scottish land mass, including all 94 inhabited islands, and is home to around 470,000 people. With around 300 staff based across the region, HIE aims to grow successful, productive, and resilient businesses; create conditions for growth, and build strong, capable, and resourceful communities.

The board has corporate responsibility for strong governance, ensuring HIE meets objectives set by Scottish Ministers and uses its resources efficiently and effectively. All candidates will be expected to have a very close affinity with the Highlands and Islands and a strong awareness of opportunities and challenges facing businesses and communities across the region.

At least two of the three positions on the board will be filled by people who are currently living, working or studying in the Highlands and Islands. Chair of HIE Alistair Dodds, said: “HIE is an ambitious organisation which is currently playing a vital role in supporting businesses and communities across the Highlands and Islands to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and build a greener, fairer, sustainable future. “It’s important that our board encompasses a range of skills, knowledge and experience to reflect the diversity of our region and the economic and community development challenges and opportunities that exist in this part of Scotland. “A key theme is the pursuit of place-based opportunities – recognising the role that natural and built capital and cultural assets such as Gaelic can play in growing and sustaining a strong region that contributes fully to the success of Scotland.

“As a board, we come from a range of backgrounds but have at least two things in common: our passion for the Highlands and Islands and our commitment to make a positive difference to the wellbeing and prosperity of all those who live here. “I would encourage anyone who shares that passion, and who has the experience we’re seeking in business, community development and economic growth, to consider applying to join us.”

Applications will particularly be welcomed from Gaelic speakers and people with protected characteristics that are currently under-represented on the Board of HIE, including women, disabled people, LGBTI+ people, those from black and minority ethnic communities and people aged under 50. Members of the HIE Board are expected to devote two days per month to the role. The term of appointment will be for three years from 13 June 2022.

Full details are on the Public Appointments Scotland Website at:
www.gov.scot/collections/publicappointments

Consultation on a New School Model

If you are interested in the future of Tiree High School, we want to hear your views.

We don’t need to tell you how important the school is – and has been – to the island. Cornaigmore Public School opened in 1876 and became a full six-year secondary in 1980.

For the past three years, Tiree High School (the combined Primary and Secondary Schools and Pre 5 Unit) has shared an interim executive headteacher with Oban High School. Argyll and Bute Council officials are now proposing to reorganise their schools. Instead of independent schools, each with their own headteacher, schools in an area would be grouped into ‘collectives’ run by a team headed by an Executive Headteacher. They call this the ‘Collective Leadership Model’. Their proposal is summarised at: https://empoweringoureducators.co.uk/proposals/

Argyll and Bute Council have asked Tiree Community Council to comment on this idea. We want to find out what people who live on Tiree think so that we can represent your views fairly. We welcome your thoughts if you are a pupil at the school (from S3 upwards); if you work at Tiree High School; if your children attend the school; or if you are an interested member of the community.

Follow this link to the survey, which should take no longer than five or ten minutes: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YVCGTJ2

This consultation will run until 10 pm 7 March. It is completely anonymous and confidential. Our summary of the views expressed – which we will publish – will express the range of views that you have given us. You can only submit one response on each device (say, a phone, an iPad or a computer). Thank you!

Dr. John Holliday

Convenor, Tiree Community Council

Tiree Electric Transport funding announced

We are excited to finally be able to announce that Tiree Community Development Trust has been awarded £147,332 under the Island Communities Fund for a project intended to reduce carbon emissions from transport on the island and improve island infrastructure for use of new vehicle technology.

The announcement was officially made by Scottish Government, along with funding for several other island projects which have been announced as having received support. The funding will allow the purchase of a new LDV EV80 9-seat electric minibus with removable seating allowing it to also be used as a small van. The minibus will be operated by the Trust for community use, meeting a number of potential needs for local activities and benefitting projects that develop and support the island economy.

The funding will also ensure the installation of Electric Vehicle charging points as part of the new community owned filling station at Crossapol – helping to future proof this new community asset in preparation for the much needed transition away from fossil fuel use. Two charging points are planned for Stèisean Connaidh Chrosabol (Crossapol Fuel station) which shall both offer AC type 2, CHAdeMO or CCS ports for fast charging using a mobile app based system. The inclusion of EV charging points has been a feature of discussions and plans for the construction of the new filling station since the very start of the project.

The increasing construction costs and constraints of the initial funding budget for the station had meant that further funds were needed to purchase and install the chargers, but the station layout and electrical connections were designed to allow for this at a later date. We are delighted to have quickly secured the needed funding, and are grateful to the Scottish Government Island Communities Fund for their support for this project, which shall have long-reaching benefits for the Tiree community.

The new minibus is currently expected to arrive on island by March, with the charging points likely to be installed around the same time.

Tiree Community Council – January Meeting

This month’s meeting covered a wide range of topics, from broadband and transport to education – all translated into Gaelic by our wonderful interpreter Iain MacIlleChiar. The meeting was well attended by the public, with Cllr Patience sending his apologies. Broadband has been a notable item on the agenda for quite some time now; the Scottish Government’s R100 voucher scheme promises superfast broadband for everyone in Scotland by the end of 2021. Rhoda Meek gave a presentation on the island’s current situation, and hopes for service provision in the future, on behalf of Tiree Broadband. The importance of connectivity and the opportunities it can offer to individuals and local businesses and services was discussed at length, but gaps in the Scottish Government’s R100 scheme could mean that not everyone may benefit from the scheme as intended. It was decided that representatives from Tiree Community Council and Tiree Broadband will meet to further discuss the R100 initiative and decide upon a strategy for contacting our representatives, to ensure that the island’s concerns are addressed.

In a similarly digital vein, Councillors voted to approve a new Scheme of Establishment, published by Argyll and Bute Council, to allow continued use of digital meeting technology. This decision was taken in light of significantly increased rates of attendance and engagement at public meetings via Zoom. It was agreed that our AGM will be held

in person, with the possibility of an additional public meeting held in this way if there is interest. The discussion on transport covered the disruption to the CalMac ferry service as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – TCC can confirm that the temporary timetable has since been extended until at least the 6th of February. For Tiree, this means that the Sunday sailing will remain cancelled, but other services should run as scheduled unless you are informed otherwise. Cllr Patience has put together a response on TCC’s behalf to the Scottish Government’s Aviation Strategy consultation. TCC were also contacted to comment on proposed changes to Loganair’s service provision, with the possibility of changes to the service in the coming weeks. Dr. Holliday reached out to key stakeholders in the community – including the airport and surgery –

in his capacity as chair to inform the Community Council’s response. We were joined by a few new faces from other communities within Argyll and Bute, who made valuable contributions to the discussion of Argyll and Bute Council’s Education Change Programme. Our neighbours kindly offered to link up with community councillors and representatives of the Parent Council after the meeting to share information and resources. Dr. Holliday and Iona attended the meeting of the Parent Council the following evening, to discuss the proposed consultation measures and to gain further insight into the consultation process and options being discussed. In light of this meeting and the possible outcomes discussed, TCC have decided to postpone consultation until possible outcomes for our community are clarified by Argyll and Bute Council.

General information was shared about the extension of Argyll and Bute Council’s Shopfront Improvement Scheme, which has been shared on our Facebook page – if you do not use Facebook, you can still view this post via the widget on our website. It was also noted that following a communication from a member of the public, there is now a link to Argyll and Bute council’s planning portal on TCC’s website, for ease of finding, and instructions on how to join the planning mailing list, which can also be found on the website by following the link.

Fuel Station Update

The contractor completed the below ground works on Monday 29th November. This was the most difficult phase of the works as the underground tanks, the oil/ water interceptor and the soakaway all had to be constructed below the high water table. The contractor lowered the water table on site using de- watering equipment.

Completion of the underground work will allow the site to become cleared of the large excavations and associated plant, allowing the forecourt to be constructed. At our progress meeting with the contractor on Tuesday 23rd of November, we were informed of a supply chain problem which affects several items of equipment. The most significant of these is the control kiosk which the station cannot function without. Delivery is now expected to be the middle of January and, as a consequence the completion date for the station is currently expected to be around the middle of February `22. This is a very frustrating development but there is little that can be done to improve the situation. Some of the perimeter security fencing was recently damaged by high winds leading to concerns for road users. I am pleased to report the contractor responded very promptly and the fence was secured shortly after the alarm was raised with no injuries or damage to property. The winds had sufficient strength to break some of the welds on the fence allowing the panels to infringe on the road.

At the recent Trust AGM the winning shortlist of the naming competition was announced. The winners are:

For the fuel pumps:-

• Fire Me Up (Strubhan Goode – P5)

• Car Juice (Liam Walker – S1)

• Dìosal Dearg (Matthew McDowall – S3)

For the electric vehicle charging point:-

• Sradag (Blythe Wright – P5)

For the station name which will be in both English and Gaelic:-

• Crossapol Fuel Station and Stèisean Connaidh Chrosapol (from a shortlist of three names proposed by the schools)

Well done to each of the winners and a very big thank you to all the school staff who ran the competition and especially to all those pupils who suggested the list of great names. Thanks also to Ian Smith who provided the Gaelic translation for the station name.

Tiree Community Council – Oct. Meetings

This was delayed a week because of the school holidays.

There was therefore plenty to talk about, including a discussion about Island Bonds, whether we should get back to face-to-face meetings, future improvements in broadband, and a planning application at Vaul.

But first, the monthly report from our local police station highlighted two significant thefts: in one, a power saw was taken from a site in Crossapol; in another, a substantial amount of cash was taken from a car. Thefts like these are unusual on Tiree, and Steph asked the community to be vigilant over the next few weeks.

The Scottish Government has promised to give out 100 Island Bonds of up to £50,000 to encourage young people to live and set up businesses on islands where population numbers are going down – like Tiree. We have been asked to comment on this idea. While we obviously welcome the idea in general terms, we have some issues with the detail. First, the scheme has to stretch to almost 100 inhabited islands, so it doesn’t go nearly far enough. We also felt that the priority needs to be retaining our own young people.

Argyll and Bute Council is now asking the question: should the community council get back to face-to-face meetings in An Talla? There are a number of people who definitely prefer the old way. There are others who aren’t able to get out in the evenings or who just find it more convenient to watch from their living rooms. We councillors certainly like the new digital democracy. Numbers attending our Zoom meetings have gone up, the chat function allows members of the public to make comments throughout the meeting, while screen sharing allows us to show photographs and plans. Mull Community Council even puts recordings of their meetings online for people to watch later, but there wasn’t much enthusiasm for that idea here. Another big plus of Zoom meetings is that they will allow people to listen in Gaelic (of which, more below). The ‘hybrid meeting’ – where the councillors meet in public in the hall but where people can also join the meeting online – sounds like the best of both worlds but is technically quite tricky. Let us know what you think. We will put out a SurveyMonkey poll, but you can contact us in all the usual ways too. Or you can write direct to Melissa Stewart, Community Council Liaison Officer, Kilmory, Lochgilphead, PA31 8RT or at communitycouncils@argyllbute. gov.uk.

An update to the broadband improvement programmes R100 and gigabyte was given. In their current format, it looks as if they will leave quite a lot of homes and businesses below the promised 30Mbps. There are ongoing discussions with interested parties to see if this can be improved. In the meantime, if anyone is thinking of applying for a voucher under these schemes, could they please contact the community council or Tiree Broadband as one option being considered is the pooling of vouchers.

We also discussed a planning application at Vaul. A number of parties have expressed concerns about how the proposed long access track could affect the grazing above the shoreline. It may be that another shorter track to the site from the south might be better. We also noted that part of the proposed site is in the protected ‘Countryside’ area. We will write to the planner with our views.

Following our letter to the Hebridean Trust, we have had two meetings with their trustees and local organisations about a possible way forward for the Hynish complex. Our hope is to keep these historic buildings – currently providing housing and holiday accommodation – under some sort of community control. It’s early days, but we have made some progress in the last few weeks. A number of experts will be surveying the buildings and asking the question of what businesses could flourish there. Fingers crossed!

We got word that the next community council elections will be in October 2022. And finally, this year’s Remembrance Day service at the Scarinish war memorial will be on Saturday November 13 at 2pm.

Dr John Holliday chaired the meeting, and Phyl Meyer, Gerard McGoogan and John Patience were in attendance. As always, do contact if you think we can help: 220385, doc.holliday@tireecommunitycouncil.c o.uk, via our website or Facebook page. – Dr John Holliday

GAELIC COMMUNITY COUNCIL

The November public meeting of Tiree Community Council will break new ground by becoming the first Scottish council to have its meetings simultaneously translated into Gaelic. Those tuning in to the meeting on Wednesday November 10 will have a choice of buttons: English or Gaelic. Proceedings will be translated by Iain MacIlleChiar. Iain hails from Rannoch in Perthshire, and has spent his life teaching Gaelic in a number of schools and colleges. The three month initiative, funded by Argyll and Bute Council, will suit native speakers and learners who would like to hear the language being used for everyday business. As such, it is expected to attract interest from outside the island as well as from islanders. At the end of the pilot, the project will be evaluated to see how well it has gone. Go to our website nearer the time for details.

Tiree Ranger Updates

cattle grid Isle of Tiree

Hiya folks, How are we all doing?

The seasons are certainly changing and the last few days have had a bit of a winter twinge to them with the light in the morning and evenings. It does also feel like the island is getting a bit quieter and it’s time to start thinking of winter tasks and what needs repaired and replaced over the coming months.

Last weekend I helped marshal at the Tiree ultramarathon. It was great to see events like this starting again on Tiree but there was one activity linked to this event that really stood out for me. I had spoken to Iain MacArthur recently about his track that he put in at Balephuil to allow folk to access the beach here. In the conversation, he mentioned the cattle grid gets filled up with sand and the cows then get out and about. I offered to get a team together to dig it out but our first attempt to do so was called off by the weather.

It was a few weeks before it came to mind again, however the previous volunteers all had work commitments and couldn’t come this time. After having a chat with some friends who were over for the Ultra I put a shout out on the Ultra Facebook group. I headed out to do an Otter Walk and came home to find the broadband had gone down across the island and I had no way of checking the Facebook group to see if anyone had volunteered.

I got up on the Tuesday morning thinking I was going to have a busy day of digging ahead before managing to get onto Facebook on my phone and saw that some folk had offered to help. However, because I hadn’t been able to reply to the comments I was unsure if they would make it.

Off I headed and I needn’t have worried as volunteer after volunteer arrived at Balephuil including three folk staying on one of the Croft Sites who I had jokingly asked to come and help. We also had a delivery of extra spades from Claire Jones. Iain and his team arrived and lifted out the cattle grid and boom the folk all got stuck in. I didn’t even get a chance to grab a spade as they were all taken so resulted in being the photographer. Within an hour it was all done and the grid was put back in place.

I’m very grateful for the volunteers’ time, especially as most of them had ran 35 miles around the island only two days before. Hopefully more work parties like this can happen at future events.

That’s all for now. My contact details are as follows:

email ranger@tireetrust.org.uk or phone on 07391239502 as the Trust staff are still home working

Until next time…

Hayley Douglas – Tiree Ranger Service

Tiree Community Council Update

Coastal erosion, planning and rubbish were three important issues that came up at this month’s community council meeting.

This was held using Zoom, although a return to face-to face meetings may be on the cards in future depending on a future Argyll and Bute Council consultation. Unfortunately, a slipup meant that there had been little advertising for the meeting and our audience was much smaller than usual.

The Dynamic Coast project is funded by the Scottish Government and involves a wide range of bodies from the University of Glasgow to the Ordnance Survey. Its goal is to pinpoint lengths of the Scottish coastline that are particularly vulnerable to erosion over the next generation. Running since 2015, researchers have compared 1890 and 1970 high water marks marked on old Ordnance Survey maps with modern models of the landscape to make predictions of the what the 2050 coastline might look like. (See www.dynamiccoast.com and go to the map section). For example, while sand has been deposited at the two ends of Gott Bay’s An Tràigh Mhòr, sections in the middle have receded up to 25 m between 1975 and 2006. By 2050, it is predicted that 1.3 km of the road here will be lost. On Cladach a’ Crògain or Balephetrish Beach, both ends of the beach have receded by 26 m over the same time, and lengths of the road here too are likely to disappear by 2050.

The second phase of this research will be published this week. It focusses on the most vulnerable stretches of coastline – and Tiree has several – and seeks to put forward solutions. One researcher keen to take this further is Julian Sartorius, a geographer at the University of Dundee. He is coming to the island in September, and would like to make contact with a representative group of us to help him research what people who live in these at-risk areas think about coastal erosion. He will be advertising for volunteers soon.

There was another discussion of the Community Council’s latest draft of the Planning Policy. Following two public meetings, an online survey and some feedback, we have refined the document. If a planning application generates eleven or more comments from island residents (which can be made in confidence to the community council); departs significantly from Argyll and Bute’s current Local Development Plan; raises important matters of principle for the island; might reasonably be predicted to have an impact on the broader community of Tiree; or impacts on a Listed Building as designated by Historic Environment Scotland, we will discuss in public whether to send a response to Argyll and Bute’s Planning Department. Having gone back over the last one hundred application, we think that this would have been the case four times over the last four years. The latest draft is on our website, and we welcome final comments before the September meeting.

We have had some correspondence about bags of rubbish left beside bins. The final public bin – one at the pier – has been removed by the Council after nondomestic rubbish was left in it. It was pointed out that rubbish is a year-round issue for the island, and that we all have a part to play in keeping the island tidy. Part of the problem is that a number of owners of rented houses do not pay for a weekly commercial uplift. Part of the solution is to make greater use of the dump, open six days a week. We decided that we would write to the Council to ask for more facilities. Finally, concern has been expressed about police cover for the island, particularly at the height of the tourist season. Marlene Baillie, the Area Commander, wrote back promptly to our enquiry to say: ‘I can advise that wherever possible we will continue to provide cover by sending an officer over from the mainland … As I am sure you will appreciate, I cannot guarantee cover on every occasion as sometimes the requirement to cover can be at short notice with insufficient time to identify staff and secure accommodation on the island. However, every effort will be made to send an officer over at the earliest opportunity if required.’

Dr John Holliday, Iona Campbell, Gerard McGoogan, Phyl Meyer, John Patience and Stewart Carr were in attendance. Please send us any comments and questions. Our next meeting will be on the second Wednesday of September.

Fuel Station Update

Since our last update TCE Ltd are pleased to announce that we have now obtained our planning permission and have instructed the contractor to proceed with the construction works.

The programme is now finalised and the work will commence on 6th September and last for approximately 14 weeks, with handover on 7th December – all going well.

Three local businesses have been successful in securing portions of the work for the contract. We understand that Mr David Gunn is to be appointed to provide quality control consultancy services to Adler & Allen, our main contractor, with I A MacKinnon Haulage Ltd providing logistics, storage and materials while John Mackinnon (Builders) Ltd will be undertaking the civil engineering works.

It has always been our intention to install an electric vehicle charging station. The infrastructure required to achieve this is being installed under the contract and it is hoped that the charging unit will be likewise. However, we have been forced to seek additional funding for this item and await the outcome of the grant application which has already been made. It is possible that the charging unit may have to be fitted after the main contract is completed.

TCE Ltd have decided to run two competitions, the first to name the fuel station and the second to name each of the three pumps and the electric vehicle charger. To this end we will be inviting all children of school age, whether attending the community schools or not and who’s families are resident on the island, to name the pumps. The island community as a whole (children and adults) will be invited to name the station. The local schools have agreed to help in this task. They will promote the idea to all their pupils and collect the entries from that group.

Those school pupils who are not attending the local schools should send their entries to fuel@tireetrust.org.uk. All the received entries will be considered, filtered and anonymised by a panel of the teaching staff at the school and the resulting entries will then be passed to a panel of older pupils, set up by the school, to judge the winning names. Entries for the station name should also be sent to fuel@tireetrust.org.uk. TCE will pass these to the school for inclusion in a second and similar judging process. There are no rules for any of the names as long as they are appropriate. However it has been suggested that at least one name should be Gaelic.

We will have one red diesel pump, two petrol and white diesel pumps and one electric charger. The competition will run from 1st to 30thSeptember, 2021. The winning names will be announced by TCE once the school has picked the winning entries. Good luck!

Tiree Community Toilets

As reported in our previous issues, Tiree Community Business has taken over the maintenance and upkeep of the Scarinish public toilets on a year’s trial basis from Argyll & Bute Council. Our current goal is to fundraise as much as possible in order to pay cleaners and buy materials towards the upkeep of this facility. The Car Treasure Hunt organised by TCB on Wednesday 30th June raised £460. Donations are encouraged by those using the toilets via the money boxes on display at the Scarinish toilets; to date we have raised £160 from them. We have been fortunate to be included in the latest round of Co-op Local Community Funding that will start in October, as well as receive donations direct to our office which are £60 to date. Moving forward we plan to continue approaching other funders for further support and are always happy to accept donations in order to support this worthwhile community facility, as the Scarinish toilets are currently the only public toilets available on the island, so we can’t let them disappear. We would like to thank everyone who has supported and donated our cause so far. On Thursday 5th August we will have run another Car Treasure Hunt with a raffle, which we’ll cover in the next issue of An Tirisdeach.

Thank you again to everyone who has donated. Tiree Community Business are always happy to accept new donations for the upkeep of the toilets; if you wish to donate please contact Norma at the Business Centre via telephone on 01879 220520 or email tireecommunitybusiness@btco nnect.com.

1 2 3 31