Despite assurances from the country’s tourism body, islanders concerned with the ongoing conservation of Bute are anxious progress on improvement works to the Discovery Centre continue to drag on.
Members of the Bute Consevation Trust (BCT) primarly deal with conserving the natural heritage of Bute but refuse to pass the buck on holding to account those responsible for the sluggish renovations to the prized Discovery Centre.
The centre is owned by VisitScotland and who undertook work on the interior of the building in 2005 and to the cinema in November 2014.
And the Bute Conservation Trust have been pressing Visit Scotland on when they will commence the refurbishment.
VisitScotland have met with Argyll and Bute planning and Historic Environment Scotland to discuss the parameters of work needed – complicated by the building’s status as under the ‘A’ list category.
However, Councillor Paul Duffy is confident that VisitScotland will carry out the necessary improvements to the building and is buoyed by their enthusiasm to become more involved in the supporting local development.
“The past is the past and we must move on,” said Paul. “I have no reason to doubt that VisitScotland are very keen in developing ideas and maintaining communications with the local community.”
The government tourism agency is keen to not only remedy the issues with the fabric of the building but enter into a conversation with the community in line with local aspirations to improve the area and attract tourism.
Paul said: “VisitScotland are now aware of the Charette work – Remaking Rothesay – and the central role of the Discovery Centre identified by the local community. “They are exploring how best to ensure that the works result in a progect which is complementay to ongoing local investments such as the Mansion House, Rothesay Pavilion and the Town Heritage Initiative (THI) – which provides a maximum return for the community. I am really encouraged by VisitScotland’s open communication and am confident that working closely with them will strengthen our ability to deliver our future goals.
Paul also reported to Bute Community Council that local organisations – Bute Conservation Trust and Bute Island Alliance – would be regularly updated on VisitScotland’s progress.