BCLC members back company’s strategic plan

MEMbers of Bute Community Land Company have voted in favour of a motion recommending that the BCLC Strategic Plan be adopted by the company.

After an EGM lasting 90 minutes at Rothesay Pavilion on Thursday evening, a secret ballot was held in which 91 members (58.7 per cent of those voting) backed the motion and 64 (41.3 per cent) voted against

Prior to the vote, BCLC chairman John McGhee acknowledged the difficulties which have beset the company since its AGM in March, at which several members voiced their concern at the direction being taken by BCLC and its board.

“The last two or three months have seen us not all speaking with one voice,” he said, “and people have on occasion said things that they have perhaps later regretted.

“The directors have taken perhaps too personally legitimate requests for information as personal attacks on them. Some members have perhaps on occasion had insufficient understanding of the severe demands on time and energy, to the prejudice of family and jobs, that work as a director has involved, and have inadvertently suggested that they do not have trust and confidence in the directors.

“The cause of the conflict is the fact that we are all passionate in wanting a better future for this island.”

Mr McGhee also said that in the event of the Strategic Plan being approved, the board would set up three consultative groups to meet regularly with BCLC directors, and would, in his words, “be the engine room for new ideas and will provide valuable feedback to the directors on the views of the community”.

One of these groups would deal with the Rhubodach forest, purchased by BCLC in a community buy-out last July, albeit in a very different form to that originally envisaged.

A second group would concentrate on Brandish Bute, the ‘marketing umbrella’ body set up to publicise and sell local foods, arts and crafts under the aegis of BCLC.

The third group would have a wider remit to consider “how best to achieve the social and economic regeneration of the island as a whole”.

Mr McGhee also announced that two further directors would be co-opted on to the board, chosen not by the existing directors but by the BCLC membership as a whole.

He said that as a first step towards those appointments, he would be writing to 30 BCLC members who signed a statement saying the Strategic Plan should be rejected, asking for their proposals on how those new directors should be chosen.

More on this story in the next issue of The Buteman, on sale on Thursday, June 23.