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Plenty of progress is being made with a number of redevelopment projects in Mid Argyll aimed at improving facilities for locals and visitors alike.
Lochgilphead front green
The most visible has to be Argyll and Bute Council’s Lochgilphead front green project.
After years of planning, work finally got underway on May 31 after Northern Irish firm Hawthorn Heights Ltd was appointed the main contractor.
As well as improved drainage, the project will involve a raised ground surface level, the installation of a new playpark and a new public square, with more seating and better cycling and walking facilities also key parts of the scheme.
Work continues on drainage and the installation of paths, but one of the most obvious recent additions has been new play equipment, including a pyramid slide and climbing frame.
A number of horse chestnut trees bordering the site which were diseased or deemed not to be thriving were removed and salt-tolerant hornbeam will replace them. Healthy trees are being protected during the works and will remain.
The same stone recently used to resurface Colchester Square – Achnaba stone quarried locally by MacLeod Construction Ltd – will be installed on the new public square area, with electrical installation for the square also anticipated in the autumn.
The historic drinking fountain close to the public toilet block has been dismantled, to be reinstated later in the project.
The front green scheme is expected to be complete by early 2022.
Lochgilphead is also seeing investment in shop front improvements, supported by the council, and the town centre Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme is just getting underway.
Mid Argyll Community Pool
Structural and service works are almost complete as part of a redevelopment of Mid Argyll Community Pool by owner Mid Argyll Community Enterprises Ltd (MACEL), allowing fit-out and finishing over the next couple of months.
MacLeod Construction Ltd began work in March on the MACPool Activity Hub which, when completed, will offer soft play, an all-access café and multi-use rooms for hire in addition to improved changing facilities for the pool.
The project, due for completion in October, is going to plan despite materials supply challenges faced by the building industry.
Unforeseen complications in the build have also caused minor delays, but MacLeod Construction is finding ways around these hurdles and the MACEL Board is hopeful that swimmers can be welcomed back by the second half of December.
All aspects of the new Activity Hub should be up and running early next year, and MACPool manager Fiona MacAlpine is going to be recruiting some new team members in the coming weeks.
MACEL chair Kim Ritchie said: ‘Thanks to the many organisations and individuals who have supported the project financially, all funds for the main build and basic fit-out of the Hub are in place.
‘But there is still a need for funds to complete the fit-out and landscape and furnish the external area.
‘So if you haven’t yet contributed and would like to – it’s not too late.
There are two community sponsorship schemes, one for local businesses and one for individuals – the Sponsor Our Seascape program. Just email email@example.com for more details.
Kim added: ‘Everyone at MACPool is really looking forward to the re-opening and to welcoming all MACPool’s customers, old and new, to the new Hub. If you would like to hear more about the project, please come along to the AGM on October 7.’
Kilmartin Museum redevelopment
It was an exciting time for everyone connected with Kilmartin Museum as concrete was poured last week for a new museum building.
For the past 24 years the museum has inspired people by interpreting, explaining and conserving the internationally-important archaeological landscape, artefacts and natural heritage of Kilmartin Glen.
But it has outgrown its surroundings; so after a fundraising campaign a major extension, designed by award-winning architects Reiach and Hall, was started on site in April 2021.
The build and fit-out is expected to be completed early in 2023, with a view to opening the new museum galleries in March 2023.
The redevelopment will provide more exhibition space, a creative space, an accessible research and learning facility and a new education space.
Mid Argyll Youth Development Services (MAYDS) has said it is ‘delighted’ that work has started on the next phase of a wheel-park and outdoor development in Lochgilphead.
The project is being funded by Renewi and Argyll and Bute Council through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund.
Funding of £40,000 through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund will allow the levelling of the site – beside the MAYDS building on Union Street – in preparation for building, along with security fencing and the start of a community garden.
DA MacDonald contractors are undertaking this work, and MAYDS manager Fiona Kalache said: ‘Huge thanks to it for its support, advice and efficient service. We are delighted to be making progress again after delays due to Covid.’
She added: ‘We are also currently one of the Tesco Bags of Help projects and money from this will be going to the MAYDS gardening club which will develop the community gardens, so we ask anyone wanting to support us to pick up a token for the MAYDS box in Lochgilphead or Oban. We thank Tesco for its support.’