Com­mu­nity coun­cil backs plan as play park moves a step closer

The Oban Times - - News - MON­ICA GIB­SON mgib­son@oban­

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’.

Pho­to­graph: Iain Fer­gu­son, The Write Im­age.

Damian Mac­Don­ald, right, with Donny El­der and Kirsty Kyle of Caol Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, dis­cuss pro­pos­als for the new play­park.

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