A VISION for the transformation of a wasteland into a thriving hub at the heart of a Ross-shire community hinges on fresh blood giving it “the final push”.
Far-reaching plans for the creation of a community park in Strathpeffer will come under the spotlight at a crunch meeting next week which aims to encourage those who stand to benefit most from the scheme to get involved.
Envisaged for the large swathe of land next to the community centre, primary school and housing is a two-phase development that would see the creation next year of a playpark, dirt bike track and a network of all-ability paths.
A multi-use games area and facilities for the community growing fruit and vegetables would follow the year after.
The initiative comes amid other local schemes – including a Peffery Way path link between Strathpeffer and Dingwall and a heritage steam train attraction at the former railway station – to help give the village a shot in the arm.
Strathpeffer Residents Association chairman Tim Dawson is calling on locals to turn out in force to show their support at the group’s annual general meeting next Wednesday.
He said: “Our young people in Strathpeffer desperately want the work to go ahead. The alternative is that the site is left to Highland Council who, given the current financial climate, will almost certainly shut the existing play park down, removing equipment as it wears out.”
Fellow trustee Ann Sant said yesterday: “This needs a push to get new people to make a commitment to make this happen. This is something that will ultimately benefit everyone.”
They’re being backed in the rallying call by Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh councillor Ian Cockburn who said: “The committee has worked very hard over the years to get it to this stage, however, it needs that final push to get it over the line and they need some help and commitment from others in Strathpeffer to achieve what would be a great asset for the whole village.”
The proposed project is to develop a 1.84-hectare (4.55-acre) community park on semi-derelict open space. The park will be owned and managed by the community, aiming to provide a new focus for the village with space for recreation, activities for health and wellbeing and community food production.
Backers say the project will also boost the local economy by enhancing the image of Strathpeffer and potentially providing jobs and skills.
Mr Dawson said the project has evolved from public demand and is overwhelmingly supported by the local community
Incoming committee members will have at their disposal a feasibility study, business plan, surveys of the land and identified sources of funding.
The 2pm timing of next Wednesday’s meeting at the community centre is aimed at encouraging young parents – who have most to gain from the project – to get involved.
Marcia Rae, Highland Council’s East Ross ranger, will give a talk on the benefits of community wild space.
Residents of Strathpeffer, Contin, Marybank, Scatwell and Strathconon community council wards, along with elected councillors, are being invited to the AGM taking place in the Kinellan Room of Strathpeffer Community Centre.