October 2020 Newsletter

The Dunoon Project team have been working hard, albeit ‘behind the scenes’, throughout the Covid 19 lockdown and progress is being made. Not as fast as we would like but positive none the less.

Given we continue to be unable to hold another public meeting due to current government restrictions, we decided to update members with this newsletter which will also be posted on the website. Anyone wishing to become a member should email info@thedunoonproject.org.uk and we will respond with details on how you can add your name alongside the hundreds of members of the community we already have signed up.

Preparation of the Community offer to purchase the Corlarach Forest has been delayed because we have not been allowed to access the forest to value the timber stock. Forestry Land Scotland (FLS; the Forestry Commission as was) put the forest off limits due to fear of spreading the widely publicised outbreak of disease (phytopthera) in the Larch trees. Also, we have had to delay meeting with the CEO of FLS as they have not returned to their offices as yet and continue to work from home.

In order to support our proposal, we have had to engage a number of third-party experts, which has run up the costs. We have secured an element of funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HiE) and we have been supported by donations and loans from members of the community. This funding goes into a wholly owned subsidiary of ‘The Dunoon Project Ltd’ which is a registered charity. Either the subsidiary itself or the assets therein will be a valuable asset to the charity during the development phase.

It is imperative that we secure more funding and we are looking at a number of routes to achieve this.  We have some exciting news on this coming shortly.

The Dunoon Project Board has set up an advisory panel whose function will be to act as both a sounding board for the Project directors and to ensure the Community’s best interests are promoted and protected.

Advisory Panel members will be entitled to attend all/any board meetings as they see fit. They will receive copies of both board agendas and board minutes and take action as appropriate. They will be available to advise the board as and when required. 

The initial advisory panel will be by invitation of the DPL board. Thereafter the Advisory Panel will create its own structure. Members will be invited based on their perceived ability to deliver on the function and purpose of the panel. They must be free of potential conflicts of interest.

We are pleased to announce that Nicholas Ferguson CBE and Dr Robert McIntosh CBE have agreed to serve on the panel.  Nick Ferguson, recently chairman of Sky and current chair of Savills lives near Tighnabruaich and is known to many of you having chaired our public meetings in both the Burgh Hall and the Queen’s Hall.  Robert (Bob) has held and continues to hold a number of high positions in the public sector. Bob was chief executive of the Forestry Commission closely involved with the Land Reform policy and currently sits on the board of the Land Commission. We are talking to three other potential members who have similar credits to their name and these will be announced shortly.

That such people are willing to commit to this task speaks volumes for their interest in the Project and the Community.

We are pleased to confirm that support for the Project within the Community and further afield remains high.

As most of you will be aware Greg Minnaar is fully behind our project and continues to support it as it progresses.  Greg has won many world championships in Mountain Bike downhill racing and at 38 years old still remains in the top five riders in the world in his field.  Greg has ridden in the hills behind Dunoon and taken out youngsters and members of our community to give them coaching and guidance.  Greg sees huge potential for Dunoon and wishes to remain involved and give guidance on developing tracks through the hills to encourage the area to flourish and become one of the top mountain bike destinations in the world.

Should you have any questions or comments please continue to feel free to email us at info@thedunoonproject.org.uk

Hot off the press

Greg Minnaar agrees to join the Advisory Panel. Greg’s main forte is of course mountain biking and his ability to draw on his vast experience and contact list will prove invaluable. Greg, a strong supporter of the Project, has and will continue to be a regular visitor.