BCLC wants locals to ‘imagine Bute’

THE next stage in the Bute Community Land Company’s creation of a development plan for Bute is an open community event next weekend.

‘Imagine Bute’ is the brainchild of BCLC’s local development officer, Ciara Wilson, who wants local people to comment on a list of projects which could be included when a final version of the plan is published this summer.

The event is taking place after three months of consultation with local community groups – an exercise which has resulted in no fewer than 45 projects being suggested for inclusion in BCLC’s development plan for the island.

“I’ve spoken to a number of community groups and individual members of the community already,” Ciara told us this week, “including Bute Community Links, Bute Community Council, the Townscape Heritage Initiative, BCLC itself, Fyne Futures, Discover Bute, Towards Zero Carbon Bute, parent councils, some members of the local artists’ co-operative and various local businesses.

“But I wanted to have an open event where people I haven’t spoken to yet – along with some of those I have already met – will be able to come along and share their ideas for the projects that will be included in the community development plan when it is released in June.

“Forty-five projects have been suggested so far. I’ve been working with a steering group of independent members of the community, and we’re in the process of discussing which projects best represent the aspirations of the community as a whole.

“This is the chance for community to say what they think and for there to be some adjustments to the proposed plan.”

The ‘Imagine Bute’ event, taking place at the United Church of Bute hall in High Street on Saturday, April 23, will also involve a group of students from Glasgow School of Art who have been working with Ciara on unusual ways of consulting with the community, with the hope of stimulating the imagination of island residents.

“A lot of key themes have already emerged,” Ciara continued, “including enabling young people to stay on the island, support for businesses, boosting the tourism industry, addressing the issues in the island supply chain and how we combine Bute’s history and heritage with the assets it has today.

“Some are issues I can have a strong input into, some are community projects which may already be on their way to becoming a reality, and some are for thinking about in the longer term.

“I want to narrow the list down to ten projects of each type, and the community can then say what its priorities are so we can build up a list of the top five projects in each category to be put forward in the community plan.

“I’m very conscious that this is a community development plan, and that to reach the broadest spectrum of the community it’s important that people feel they can come to me.

“This is the community’s chance to have its say on the projects that are being taken forward and to have a real stake in what’s going on.”

If you’d like to find out more about BCLC’s community development plan, you can email Ciara on ciara@bclc.co.uk or call the BCLC office on (01700) 504456.