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:

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

Community Windturbines for Colintraive & Glendaruel take a small step forward with CGDT

Last night at the presentation by CGDT’s consultants Locogen Ltd. in the Colintraive Village Hall,  those assembled moved that we  progress to the next stage of the process which will hopefully result in the construction of three wind turbines for the community on Stronafian Forest.

Over the next couple of weeks Locogen will finalise and submit a planning application for a Meteorological Mast on site in the forest to test the wind speeds available. The mast will provide the community a clear indication as to whether the development will be economically worthwhile. Alongside this the environmental and landscape impact surveys will continue, and the Development Trust board will report progress on the project in full at the AGM on the 20th July which of course the entire commuinty is invited to.

In the meantime, the trust will be publishing the presentation on the CGDT website shortly, along with an opportunity to ask questions both of the board and the consultants. We’re also happy to make presentations to any group in the community who want to know more.

As readers may remember, the development of a wind turbine was a key element of the Stronafian Forest Plan developed by the CGDT consultant Munro Gauld, and will provide for the longterm sustainability of our community. In his research for this project, CGDT director Bill Carlow has calculated that a single turbine will offset all electricity use in ColGlen entirely – that is reduce our carbon footprint to 0 tonnes for all household electricity.

Bill went further, and to offset all our energy use, including transport, business use and construction, we only require three turbines (our ideal solution for this project). In other words, for this community we can, in one fell swoop, cancel out all the carbon we emit as well as provide for an income which will ensure we are sustainable longterm.