‘Very positive’ with a ‘lively discussion’ was the description of how the first meeting of the independent Caledonian MacBrayne Community Board went recently.
Set up to provide an insight into the issues affecting island and rural communities for ferry operator CalMac, the Board met for the first time last month.
Board Chairman Angus Campbell, former Comhairle Leader, said: “The first meeting was very positive with a lively discussion about the purpose of the Board and a universal commitment to make sure it was as effective as possible.”
Mr Campbell continued: “The Board is keen that minutes will be published online once approved so the communities represented are kept fully up to date on the topics under discussion.
“In addition, the geographical area covered by the CalMac network has been split up and ascribed to different members of the Board so everywhere is represented by at least one person on the Board.
“A map with pictures of Board members is being prepared so communities know who to contact.”
Mr Campbell said the terms of reference had been formally agreed and dates for meetings in 2018, starting with the next one on January 19th, have also been confirmed.
He said: “Everyone is keen to begin the process of sharing information about the challenges and opportunities in their own areas and we hope to start identifying areas of work priority as they come back from our communities for the January meeting.”
Brian Fulton, CalMac’s Director of Community and Stakeholder Engagement, added: “We are delighted that the Board has reached its first milestone and look forward to working with Angus and the Board on areas of mutual interest.
“We have always envisaged the Board operating entirely separately from CalMac and now the first meeting has taken place we will continue to provide support as required and will now step back and let it stand on its own two feet.”