Community council backs plan as play park moves a step closer
A CAMPAIGN to build a new play park in Caol is gaining momentum thanks to community backing.
Damian MacDonald, 32, has been leading the ‘Caol Play’ project for more than two years.
Over the past few weeks, Mr MacDonald invited as many people as possible who live close to the proposed site near Banavie Road to attend the Caol Community Council (CCC) meeting on May 8 to discuss the project. He also asked those who could not attend but support the project to indicate their backing via social media.
During the meeting, it was explained the existing play parks which are on the shoreline in Caol will be removed due to flood prevention work. These parks will not be replaced but Highland Council has agreed to allocate £ 50,000 ‘compensation’ towards another play park in the area.
Mr MacDonald said progress had also been made with the lease for the site, which had hit difficulties in the past, and that it may soon be possible to start work on an initial phase, adding: ‘ What we need is backing from the community council to show that giving this project the £ 50,000 is the right choice. If we get the £ 50,000 then we will hope to have this fund matched by LEADER and once we have £100,000 we will try to build something.’
Jane Young, chairperson for CCC, expressed concern that people who didn’t use social media might not have had the opportunity to convey their opinion on whether this particular park is the preferred option.
But Kirsty Kyle, who is also on the CCC committee, pointed out that children from the local schools had been asked, a feasibility study had been carried out and that the plans were made readily available throughout the community. In response, Mrs Young said: ‘The fact that people are coming together and trying to do this for the benefit of the community, means the council should try to support it.’ A representative told the
Lochaber Times: ‘For Caol Play we did the feasibility study that demonstrated overwhelming support for upgrading and improving the play area at Banavie Road which is a council- owned site.’
He explained that to be able to apply for external funding the group had to lease the site and it was in the final stages of securing a 25-year lease.
He added: ‘The council has agreed to continue maintaining the play area and the group has identified a number of funding streams it can now apply to.
‘The aim is to secure £150,000 for phase one.’
Alan Henderson, who has recently been reappointed as councillor for Caol and Mallaig, suggested Mr MacDonald apply for some money from the ward discretionary fund and said ‘there will be money there’.
Damian MacDonald, right, with Donny Elder and Kirsty Kyle of Caol Community Council, discuss proposals for the new playpark.