Isle of Skye and Raasay Area Committee members reassured by ongoing work to develop funding streams for investment


The ECO (Executive Chief Officer) responsible for the Isle of Skye and Rassay has told Area Committee members that work is ongoing to attract more investment to the area to support its vital tourism industry.

ECO for Infrastructure and Environment Malcolm MacLeod told the committee this week that it was vital the Council started thinking about rebuilding and strengthening in Skye and Raasay as the area moves through the recovery from COVID-19.

Mr MacLeod said he recognised the pressures placed on infrastructure in Skye and Raasay during the summer, due to the massive influx of stay-cationers and visitors, and he pin-pointed the winter as an excellent opportunity to “take stock,” and build on the visitor facilities which are already under construction and those that will arrive in future.

He said: “We have heard about the amazing work that’s been done to support the communities and businesses across Skye. We now have to start thinking about rebuilding and strengthening where we are going as an area.

“That will require us to work very closely with communities. We had a good session recently with members about some of the priority areas for recovery in Skye. These are being written up and brought together. But in terms of where we are across the economy as a whole it’s about identifying key projects we’ll want to take forward.”

Mr MacLeod added: “It’s about focusing on partnership working, digital services and the digital infrastructure that’s going to be needed for areas like Skye, which can attract people who will be looking for that new way of working and that new way of living.

“And obviously low carbon is what we need to be thinking about in terms of how we deliver our infrastructure across the piece. In terms of positioning ourselves, the next steps are to pull together the Skye and Raasay Plan. There’s a huge amount of work already underway, sometimes I am amazed at how passionate and organised community groups already are, so it’s about trying to pull these together and making the case, positioning ourselves for other funding that might be available.”

Members will next week consider the use of Crown Estate Revenue, which is an area which might start to help out early with short term economic recovery, along with the other funding that’s been made available.

Mr MacLeod added: “We have got to think beyond the short term and into that medium and long-term area and how working together, with partners, we can influence where funding might be made available.

“I think everyone is fearful of a winter spike (in COVID-19) so it’s vital we get this work done in the next couple of months before winter really sets in and try and start pulling together that case and prospectus for investment in Skye and Raasay.”

Chair of the Isle of Skye and Raasay Area Committee, Cllr John Gordon, said: “It has been one of the priorities for Skye and Raasay Councillors and we look forward to the development of this plan. Investment in infrastructure is vital to the ongoing sustainability of our Islands and we will continue to work with partners and Government to see this happen.”

3 Sep 2020