Plans are being finalised to host the first public consultation event on the Fort William 2040 Masterplan and Delivery Programme in over two years.
Since the plan was first developed in 2018, the intention has been to host a large public consultation and update event annually. However, this was not possible in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
The event will be held in Caol Community Centre on Wednesday 2 November, with two open drop-in sessions, which will follow the same format, running from 3-5 pm and 7-9 pm.
Each of the sessions will feature two presentations, at 3:15pm and then repeated at 7:15pm, from local Elected Members and Transport Scotland.
These will focus on ideas for the rejuvenation of the town centre and waterfront and explain the background to the forthcoming publication of the 2ndStrategic Transport Projects Review and what this could mean for Fort William.
The overall format of the event is that of a “trade fair”, with a wide range of stalls for delivery organisations and specific FW2040 projects to display information and engage with the public.
In addition, people will be able to speak to representatives of the FW2040 Board and the recently established Community Stakeholders’ Group.
While there are set times for the presentations, people are free to drop in at any time over the course of the two sessions.
Stall holders lined up for the event include NHS Highland, Transport Scotland, West Highland College, Highland Council’s Housing Service, Lochaber Environmental Group, Linnhe Leisure, HITRANS, and High Life Highland.
Representatives from the consultancy firm Jacobs, currently working on options for the development of local public transport, will also be present.
The business and voluntary sectors will be represented by Lochaber Chamber of Commerce and Voluntary Action Lochaber.
The Lochaber Community Partnership will also have information on a range of community development work ongoing in the area.
Caol Regeneration Company, Nevis Range, and Fort William Marina and Shoreline CIC will also feature, as will the Caol & Lochyside Flood Protection Scheme.
In the latest round of Community Regeneration Funding, over £5million has been made available across the Highlands to local groups to help finance projects that create a positive impact on communities, with further rounds of funding to be announced.
For any local organisations interested in finding out about future funding for projects, representatives of Highland Council’s Community Regeneration Team will be on hand to advise on options.
FW2040 was produced following community consultation in 2018/19 seeking priorities for the future development of the town and surrounding area.
Feedback from participants helped to create a vision, masterplan and delivery programme designed to achieve those priorities.
This focuses on four key themes, which aim to make Fort William “A Great Place to Live”, “A Connected Place”, “A Place Facing Water”, and “A Net Zero Town”.
Many organisations at this event are contributing to this vision by delivering projects under the FW2040 banner.
Over the lifetime of the programme, additional projects will emerge and develop in response to further consultation and new funding opportunities.
Commenting on the forthcoming event, Cllr Kate Willis, Lochaber Area Committee Chair said:
“This event will be a great opportunity for people to speak directly to a wide range of partners who are delivering key projects contributing to the 2040 vision for the town.
“We really want to hear your views and suggestions on how these should be developed, to best deliver the type of place you want Fort William and the surrounding area to be.
“I hope as many people as possible will come along and look forward to welcoming them on the day.”
Alastair Nicolson, HIE Area Manager for Lochaber Skye & Wester Ross and current Chair of the FW2040 Board said:
“I am delighted that we are once again able to host an event like this.
“We have representatives from a wide range of projects looking forward to updating people on their progress, answering questions, and hearing your views on priorities for the future.
“The event will showcase the collective effort that is underway to deliver the FW2040 vision and allow people to steer the next stages.”
Further information on FW2040 is available at https://www.highland.gov.uk/fw2040