… reads as follows:
Small Community, Very Big Plans
The Community of Colintraive and Glendaruel is about to vote on the purchase of 600ha of Forest in one of the most ambitious community buy-outs Cowal has yet seen.
On the afternoon of 8th October the count will start on one of the most keenly awaited results in the community woodlands sector this year. The Colintraive and Glendaruel Development Trust will find out whether the people it serves agree with it that Stronafian Forest represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the community.
With a valuation of £1.55M finding the funds to make the purchase might seem too big an ask for such a sparsely populated area, “Except,” says Charles Dixon-Spain, chair of the Development Trust, “we have some very ambitious plans for this forest which will secure this asset for the community within the 18 month time-limit Forestry Commission Scotland has set.” He adds, “Our vision is that this forest can be an asset not only for our community but for the rest of Cowal and Bute.”
The Development Trust has published an options appraisal on their website which recommends mixing commercial forest management with low-impact woodland management, offers forest crofts and affordable housing as answers to acute local economic and social needs, and shows that the forest will have manifold amenity uses, from Mountain-biking and archaeology, to a woodland school and astronomy.
Charles continues, “We’ve carried out community surveys, had consultation days and even organised a community visit to Mull, and what we have found is that a forest like this can be profitable, can invest into communities, and can create jobs. We hope the community votes for this opportunity because there is every possibility that greater and more significant projects will develop from the purchase.”