Communities call for seat at A82 talks
SOUTH Lochaber community councils are calling for a seat at the table at the A82 summit in June, writes Ellie Forbes.
Last week Transport Minister Humza Yousaf announced the meeting which will bring together various groups with an interest in the operation of the trunk road which links Glasgow to Fort William and beyond to Inverness.
Members of some south Lochaber communities councils have expressed their desire to ensure their community’s voices are heard.
The Association of South Lochaber Community Councils, made up of Ballachulish, Nether Lochaber, Kinlochleven, Duror and Kentallen, and Glencoe and Glenetive community councils, hope to speak as ‘one voice’ at the summit.
Iain Jenner of Nether Lochaber Com- munity Council told the Lochaber Times: ‘We are requesting our communities have a say in these discussions. Our communities have been lobbying for the A82 for years. We are aware of the issues that are ongoing in our communities so we should be involved in discussions.’
Chairman of the association and Ballachulish Community Council Kevin Smith had concerns about people coming up with ideas for an A82 upgrade who have not met with the communities which are affected by the problems.
He said: ‘The A82 has been on the agenda for more than 30 years. It’s an issue which affects the whole area and our tourism.’
The association wants to look at the options for upgrading the road between Ballachulish and Fort William. Mr Smith said: ‘ We have real concerns about the width of the road, especially with the number of articulated lorries on it. To get a road 7.3 metres in width all the way from Fort William to Glasgow would be phenomenal but not without difficulty.’
Ms Smith highlighted the potential impacts the Lochaber smelter could have on the A82, with additional housing meaning more people travelling on the road. Lochaber MSP Kate Forbes told the
Lochaber Times: ‘I meet with community councils regularly and I met with representatives of Ballachulish and Nether Lochaber Community Councils last week. Transport was high on the agenda. I hope communities will continue to drive progress on the A82 and are included and involved at every stage of the decision making process.’