October ’15 #CGDT Update: Of paths, turbines, funding & drawings

The CGDT board met yesterday for its monthly meeting. We now have nine directors, with Cathy Grant and Sue Reid joining our number from the Community Council and Glendaruel Village Hall committee respectively. Also attending were all four of the CGDT staff.

Office bearers were elected. I remain chair, and Jim McLuckie as vice-chair. Colin Boyd continues with his sterling work as treasurer and Sandra Wilson will continue to be secretary for which the whole board is very grateful.

IMG_4542Our community forest development officer Eamon fed back on the way that UK government policy on renewables is making financing community wind turbine projects like ours more and more difficult. We are awaiting the outcome of the DECC consultations and whether indications that there might be help for communities bear fruit. On the ground, the met mast will be disassembled in the next couple of months. We are presently awaiting the outcome of the planning application the trust made in September.

IMG_4546More progress has been made on the paths in Stronafian by our second batch of volunteers. We’re delighted to say all seven of the first batch have gone on to build on their experience with us and found positions either in employment or apprenticeships. Eamon’s vision in this project is to be commended.

The forest also received a field visit from Kew Gardens who were adding to their collection of seeds for native flora.

Applications around improvement and extension of access are in hand, as is initial work on a larger Archaeology project.

The broadband project, now being led by Margaret, is moving forward, and we have a timetable to which we are now working. There’ll be a meeting of the steering group and Community Broadband Scotland at the beginning of November, when the trust will be able to report more. We’re hoping things will now move at pace and better broadband will be available to the community through this project in 2016.

With the granting of Development funding for the clachan project by the Big Lottery (great work from Margaret and Sara Maclean on this), the trust is moving forward with a consultation programme led by our consultants and facilitated by Sara  on the type of facility we need in the clachan. More on this is available here.

The trust received drawings of the proposed new configuration of the Colintraive Ferry slipway and parking this week, and the documents will now be available in Colintraive Village Hall. This is a great step forward. CMAL are also looking at designs for a pontoon as well.

The trust is also investigating the Old Shop premises and on the prompting of some Colintraive residents has formed a working group to help the board define what and how the ground floor area is used. The themes of health, activity and well-being are central to the discussion at this stage.

IMG_4183The Cowal Way project is progressing according to plan, and we’re increasingly confident that we will make our primary objective of becoming one of Scotland’s Great Trails. The work that Charlie and Stewart are putting in is paying great dividends. New markers will be put out in the next few weeks, and the counters are all in situ and functioning. The revamped website is close to launch and the facebook page is going well.

The trust will shortly be recruiting for a new post which will be part-time and self-employed. The position will be as general development manager and carry responsibilities for the proper administration of the trust as well as early project development. We’re really excited to receive this funding which comes in part from HIE and the Cruach Mhor Windfarm Trust. Watch out for adverts in the local papers.

We’re also going to be publishing a quarterly newsletter to be delivered to every household in the community. We are very aware that there is an appetite for more communication and this should provide everyone with at least an inkling of the progress that the trust is making on behalf of the community. This blog post is another, and will I hope provide an accessible summary of what the board has been discussing of on a monthly basis.

Lastly, the main pic, reproduced below was taken on the new paths in Stronafian, accessed above the Clachan. The woods are lovely and well worth a walk around:

IMG_4544

The minutes of the board meeting will be posted once approved next month here.

Cowal Way gets £330K grant: A major funding award for CGDT

Delighted to finally post about something we have known about for quite a while now. The application to the Coastal Communities Fund has been successful. Between them, Jim McLuckie and Margaret have created a £330K project which will see the Cowal Way propelled to its rightful status as one of Scotland’s Great trails. CGDT will be recruiting and employing a project manager and a path ranger – details to be published at the CGDT website on or before Friday.

This project has been in gestation for a long time now and illustrates how far in advance the Trust has to work. This project began with the incorporation of the Cowal Way into CGDT in early 2013, was moved on significantly by the study our TSIS intern Catriona Phillips produced later that year (Catriona also created the CowalWay website), and really only came to fruition with Margaret and Jim’s input into the CCF application over the last 8 months. A huge effort by all and well worth it!

Here’s the official Press Release:

Colintraive and Glendaruel Development Trust (CGDT) has just received the welcome news that its funding application to the Coastal Communities Fund for the Cowal Way, has been successful.

An award of some £330,000 has been made to the Trust to manage, market and upgrade the Way – the long distance footpath that runs the length of the Cowal Peninsula from Portavadie on Loch Fyne to Inveruglas on Loch Lomond.
The Way links the communities of Tighnabruaich, Glendaruel, Strachur, Lochgoilhead and Arrochar, each with its own heritage, scenery and tourism related businesses, and the Trustees of the CGDT agreed two years ago to take on the whole of the route as a tourism project for the area.
CGDT Trustee, James McLuckie said the Trust is delighted with the award and looks forward to the Cowal Way becoming a real economic asset to the area.
The first steps in the project will be for the Trust to employ both a Project Manager and a Path Ranger  for up to two years with the aim of upgrading the Cowal Way to the standard required for inclusion as one of Scotland’s Great Trails (SGT).  Achieving this will complete the SGT link from the Mull of Kintyre (Kintyre Way) to Fort William and beyond (West Highland Way) and achieving the classification of SGT should greatly increase the footfall on the Way .

Both employment posts will be advertised from this week, on line and in the local press (see adverts in this paper) with the aim of starting employment by March and beginning route improvements in the Spring.