No. 1, Autumn 2016 At a recent Colonsay Community Council meeting, we, your current Community Councillors felt that it would be a good idea for us to let you, the wider community, know what we have been up to over the recent months and to outline the major issues we feel that we are responsible for delivering in the future.
The CCC is made up as follows at present:
Sheena Nisbet – Chairperson
The roles of Secretary and Treasurer are not formally filled at the present time.
Sheena has now been permanently appointed to the job as Head Teacher on Luing & Easdale which means that she will be spending less time on Colonsay for the next few years. She has agreed to remain as the Chairperson for the time being.
Constitutionally, we are able to have 8 Councillors and although the formal election dates for this year have now passed, we are able to co-opt new Councillors if we wish to. If anyone is interested in joining the Council, please let one of us know
What we do
We try and meet once a month but this is not always possible.
There is a certain amount of repetitive business that needs to be discussed and dealt with. We continue to lobby Argyll & Bute Council regarding the state of the roads on the island and also we continue to try and address the problems with the Waste collection service. Ferry timetables also occupy much of our time.
There is now a considerable amount of money pledged to the Colonsay Community by Marine Harvest. We are now in the process of forming a suitable vehicle for the administration of this fund. There will have to be a legal entity set up with a proper constitution and terms of reference laid down. The Community Councillors will be joined by a representative of Marine Harvest to administer this fund. We are actively seeking input from members of the community as to how this might be done. It is intended to have a meeting to discuss any proposals put forward on 26 November 2016.
If you have any views as to how we might do better, we would welcome your comments and your presence at our meetings. Without suitable community support and feedback it is hard to know if we are doing what you want us to do! Please feel free to contact any member of the Community Council, your views and suggestions will be represented.
The Colonsay Community Council is especially alert to environmental concerns. William Joll is active in the promotion and facilitation of recycling and associated matters (composting etc.), whilst Kevin Byrne co-ordinates the Community Council's ongoing response to marine and other litter - a campaign that embraces all roads, paths, lochsides and the entire 50 mile coastline.
To avoid doubt - this site belongs to CCC, it will probably be updated at first by a specific member of the council but we hope to make it accessible to them all, once we discover how to do that. The details of the hosting agency and details of passwords etc. will be recorded by the Secretary.
No. 2, Winter 2017 / 2018
There are ongoing communications between CCC and the relevant authorities concerning the reliability of the Wednesday and Saturday ferries, and also in connection with timetabling. On the bright side, the summer timetable for 2018 was published in the autumn of 2017, a great improvement; and a member of the community, Jane Howard, has been appointed to represent the island on a new, meaningful consultative board. To continue the plaudits, the CalMac facilities in Colonsay are now at a remarkably high standard, and are maintained in excellent condition by helpful and conscientious local staff. The ferries continue to be operated by friendly staff, the catering and cleanliness is to be applauded and the Oban terminal is now enhanced by an excellent small-scale catering facility specialising in Argyll and Fair-trade produce.
Less encouragingly, CCC are actively pursuing Transport Scotland, which authority appears to have reneged upon an undertaking to correct the imbalance in freight and commercial costs to various destinations, leaving Colonsay at an almost incredible disadvantage.
The five-year "zero-tolerance" litter campaign concluded in autumn 2017. There were weekly shoreline litter-hunts, greatly assisted by the summer visitors, and the collection points established at Port Easdail and Plaide Mhor were a great success. In view of the enormous success of this project, the campaign has been renewed for anoth five-year term, until autumn 2022.
Following local consultation, the monies generously donated by Marine Harvest for administration by CCC have been used to form the kernel of a new Colonsay Common Good Fund. This fund has a very wide remit and will consider applications every six months that meet the agreed criteria; initial awards have been made in favour of a guarantee to underwrite a limited loss by the 2017 Music Festival, to meet the cost of urgent preventative maintenance at the Heritage Trust premises, and to assist in the purchase of a community Composting device to improve our environmental credentials. The "awards" committee is drawn from volunteers within the community and chaired on a rotating basis by a member of CCC; every detail and every meeting is totally transparent and open to the public save where very specific personal or financial considerations might arise. The first round went extraordinarily well, every application was considered in depth and decisions were made by concensus.
The utterly appalling state of our broadband provision is a cause of despair in many businesses and households. No less than 110 subscribers submitted details of "speed-tests" (collated by Kevin), the results of which do not bear repetition. Our MP, Brendan O'Hara, seems to be remarkably energetic and CCC is therefore keeping him fully informed. One member of CCC (Alex) has been active on our behalf in liaising with an ill-fated initiative of self-help, GigaPlus, which unfortunately was holed below the waterline through the collapse of a contractor. His knowledge is now being pooled with the work being undertaken by another member (David), in the active exploration of various alternatives. It is, perhaps, possible that the common Good Fund could help - within recent months three new and potentially important businesses have come to Colonsay (meaning three additional and very welcome households); already these businesses are suffering and we really cannot afford to lose such important opportunities.
Sheena Nisbet – Chairperson
In case you have stumbled upon this page by accident, Colonsay is a beautiful island in the Hebrides with about 130 inhabitants. Just search online to find out more or use the "Links" facility at the foot of this page.