Public meeting on Bute’s declining population

A public meeting has been organised for February 16 to discuss ways in which the island may be able to reverse its declining population.
A public meeting has been organised for February 16 to discuss ways in which the island may be able to reverse its declining population.

Plans are being put in place to hold a public meeting next month to discuss ways in which the island can reverse its declining population.

Bute Community councillor, Martin Catlin, told members of the council at their most recent meeting on Wednesday, January 21: “I’d like to invite interested people, local businesses and members of the public, to come to a public meeting in three or four weeks time.

“The idea is to come up with solutions or good ideas that could put the island on the map, progressing it through to a sustainable, economic model.”

According to the last census, Bute’s population has declined by ten per cent between 2001 and 2011, according to government figures, the decline is expected to accelerate in the next 25 years.

Mr Catlin told us: “I’m hopeful that there will be a good turnout to demonstrate the strength of feeling within the community.

“I would like members of the public to come along so that together we can identify the reasons for the decline, and hopefully suggest potential solutions. This meeting is not going to be a moaning session and I am convinced that most islanders have a ‘can do’ approach and not a ‘cannae do’ mentality.

“Many local people work tirelessly in lots of different ways to improve our local community, and our island has a lot to offer. There have been, and continue to be, significant improvements to Rothesay’s historic town centre, the largest outstanding urban conservation area outwith Edinburgh’s New Town.

“There will be the development of the Pavilion over the next two years which will help to put Rothesay on the map for concerts and events. However, we need to have an island-wide strategy to ensure the island is a thriving, dynamic community. We need to create good quality jobs to encourage new people, returnees and the current population to stay.”

The meeting will be held in the Pavilion cafe at 7pm on Monday, February 16.

* What do you think are the solutions to Bute’s declining population problem? Write a letter to the editor with your views on the subject to news@buteman.com (please include your name and address for publication).