‘Bute businesses need to pull together’

Members of the public gathered in the Pavilion cafe to discuss ways in which the island can reverse its population decline.
Members of the public gathered in the Pavilion cafe to discuss ways in which the island can reverse its population decline.

Bute needs to establish a merchants’ association or development trust to bring local businesses together.

That was just one suggestion which arose from the public meeting held on Monday evening in Rothesay Pavilion to tackle the island’s depopulation problems.

Marlene Hill, who runs For Bute - a thrift shop which raises funds for island groups - said: “We need a merchants’ association in this town. Shopkeepers need to band together instead of going it on their own, and this is something we could do quickly.

“You could wait for years for action by the council, so let’s do something now ourselves.”

One gentleman commented: “A community development trust should be one of the top priorities. Such a trust would be run by elected trustees, and the community would decide on the rules. It would make the island much more self-reliant that it is at present.”

Other subjects covered during the course of the meeting included education concerns, adequate housing, and reliable transport.

* Read the full report in this week’s Buteman - on sale from Thursday, February 19.