Scottish Canals and Argyll & Bute Council are inviting the public to help shape the future of the Crinan Canal Corridor.
A series of collaborative design workshops, known as a ‘charrette,’ will run from the 27th to the 30th of April, with the local community, stakeholders and relevant agencies asked to work together to create a shared vision for the canal corridor and the communities on its banks.
Supported by technical experts and designers, it’s hoped the sessions will generate a number of ideas and proposals to help maximise the tourism, leisure and business opportunities offered by the canal and ensure the long-term future of Ardrishaig, Crinan and Lochgilphead. The results of the four-day event will be showcased in an exhibition held on the final day.
Christopher Breslin, Strategic Planning and Design Manager at Scottish Canals, said: “The Crinan Canal may often be called ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut’ but the waterway and the local area has so much more to offer than just easier access to the sailing grounds of the Western Isles.
“Whether you’re undertaking an adventure on the miles of forest walks and cycle routes, sampling the incredible seafood and atmosphere in some of the area’s many pubs and restaurants, or exploring the canal by boat, boot or bike, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.
“The Crinan Corridor Charrette will develop a shared vision for how we celebrate that unique character, create even more opportunities for business, leisure and tourism, and build a sustainable future for the area and the canal at its heart. I’d encourage anyone who lives, works, studies or runs a business in the area to come along to shape its future.”
Taking place in Lochgilphead, Ardrishaig and Cairnbaan, the workshops form part of #CanalMagic – a public programme supported by the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design – which celebrates the innovation, heritage and economic value of Scotland’s canals by encouraging cyclists, runners, walkers, boaters, canalside communities and local businesses to record what the nation’s inland waterways mean to them.
Fergus Murray, Head of Economic Development at Argyll and Bute Council, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to shape a shared vision for the area, which will inform the priorities for regenerating the area as well as the next local development plan.
“The Crinan Canal Corridor is vital to the local economy – for local peoples’ quality of life, our tourism industry, wildlife and leisure activities. Rethinking the link between the canal and the communities along it will help us unlock its huge potential, leading to knock on benefits across the wider Mid-Argyll area.
“With professional experts on hand to help develop ideas we will create a shared action plan to deliver what everyone wants – a sustainable economic future for the area.
“The results of the design workshop will add to a solid evidence base which will help us to attract further development funding to the area and inform our priorities.”
The charrette approach, which has been devised by the Scottish Government, has already proven successful in unlocking regeneration opportunities across Scotland, with the £2 million revitalisation of Bowling Basin on the Forth & Clyde Canal a recent example.
Full information on the Crinan Corridor charrette programme can be found at http://bit.ly/CrinanCorridor
27th April – Lochgilphead Baptist Church
28th April – Ardrishaig North Hall
29th April – Lochgilphead Community Centre
30th April – Ardrishaig Public Hall