Gap site scheme is awards finalist

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THE transformation of a gap site in the centre of Rothesay into a beautiful butterfly garden has been unveiled as a finalist at Keep Scotland Beautiful’s annual People and Places awards ceremony.

Comedian and broadcaster Fred MacAulay, who hosted the awards ceremony, presented representatives from Argyll & Bute Council with a framed finalist certificate in the Best Local Environmental Quality Innovation Award category.

The award recognises local authorities which have developed new ideas and initiatives to tackle a local environmental quality issue such as littering, graffiti or dog fouling, to improve and enhance an area.

Last summer a litter-strewn patch of land in the Watergate was transformed into a butterfly garden by Argyll and Bute Council, in partnership with Argyll College and St Andrew’s Primary School, as part of an initiative to enhance the visual aspect of the area and to reduce dog fouling.

The site was cleared of waste and sown with wildflower seeds, while college students built fences and painted them, and school children informally adopted the site.

Argyll and Bute environment warden Ailsa Cunningham said: “I am delighted that our wildflower garden project in Rothesay’s Watergate has been selected as a finalist.

“This project demonstrates partnership working between Argyll and Bute Council, Argyll College, St Andrew’s Primary School, Scottish Natural Heritage and John Brown (Strone) Ltd.

“It has totally transformed a problem area at no cost, as all materials used were diverted from landfill and has given new life to an old gap site to the benefit of all.”

Councillor Bruce Marshall, Argyll and Bute’s spokesperson for the environment, said: “This is the latest national recognition for an Argyll and Bute project aimed at improving an unsightly area of ground for the benefit of local residents and visitors alike.

“We are fortunate enough to live in one of Scotland’s most scenic areas. However, there are always parts of it which can be made more attractive, and we are committed to seeking them out and acting, where possible, to address outstanding issues.

“It is very rewarding that the efforts of the council and its partners are being celebrated in this way, and we look forward to continuing to improve the local environment in the future.”

Donna Hegarty, programme manager at Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “The judges were impressed with the commitment shown by the officers of Argyll and Bute Council who drove this project forward for the benefit of the local people, businesses and visitors to Rothesay.

“As a result of the work done, the appearance of the area has been greatly improved. Twenty different types of butterfly were recorded on the site, and waste is no longer being tipped in the area.”