So states an article on the Press and Journal website. That article is about this year’s windfalls for communities across the north from the Coastal Communities Fund. To give you some idea of the amounts that can be accessed here is a short paragraph from the article:
“Major investments include £712,775 for a new “community hub” at Sleat on the Isle of Skye, £698,568 to install pontoons at Castlebay Harbour on Barra and £450,000 to turn derelict buildings at Portsoy into tourist accommodation.”
Has our town been given anything? The answer is nothing is mentioned on the P&J site and nothing too on an interactive map accessible via a Westminster Government web page which contains more information about the funding Scotland has received. Let’s just take a look at one of the projects marked on the map in Findhorn just along the road from us.
“£167,437 to refurbish the existing Victorian style hostel based in Findhorn in Moray to modern, energy efficient standards, upgrading heating, insulation, windows, kitchen and living space to extend the length of the letting season.”
Not bad, 167K would go a long way in a building such as the old social work buildings wouldn’t it? Or towards the creation of a coastal path between Nairn and Inverness - the missing link in a potential route from Aberdeenshire to the Great Glen and beyond that to the West Highland Way - a project that is on the Highland Council's books but one that has gone into apparent hibernation? But Nairn hasn’t received any funding however, so that means either no applications to the Coastal Communities Fund were made or if they were they were unsuccessful. Could it be that we just do not have any oven-ready projects that we could put forward for funding? Maybe there are problems with having to have ownership of a property like the old social work buildings or questions about finding matching funding. It isn’t as if we haven’t had opportunities over the years for projects to come out of the charrettes and public meetings a-plenty that the local authorities and other groups have put on.
This observer is minded to think back to November 2013 and a meeting in the Sailing club with members of the local authority present, NICE and reps from the Kayak and Sailing club and others. A lot of radical ideas for the harbour and seafront were discussed and some of those look as though they would have fitted the top end of the sort of awards that the CCF has dished out. Yes it’s a long way from the drawing board to the JCB’s turning up on site but it seemed at the time that the will to engage in some remarkable projects was in the air. Perhaps something could still emerge from this direction?
Earlier this evening one of our regular readers had a quick browse of the interactive map and came up with a few observations. Our correspondent says that Harbours, piers, slipways and sailing feature a lot. The Thurso Harbour Centre idea would resonate perhaps with those who were at the November 2013 (mentioned above) in the sailing club in November 2013 Elsewhere, harbours etc at Tobermory, Carbost and Ulva on Mull all got funds, and all are run by community trusts or charitable companies (ie like NICE). Skye Sailing Club got an award to upgrade their premises. Whilst In Findhorn and over near Applecross money has gone to hostel-type/adventure training places run by charitable/community bodies. Just a few from examples that Gurnites can browse if they wish on the map here.
There are lots of examples out there of what can be done. Perhaps the next round of Coastal Community Fund awards might see something coming our way?