Uig Community Development Association
Uig Pier Development Ltd
This is a brief history of the UCDA. The Uig Community Council set up the UCDA in February 1999.
At that time there was considerable speculation that the Cal-Mac ferry would be leaving Uig and moving to Dunvegan. The Community Council saw this as a major threat to the economy of the community, and decided to fight the issue vigorously, and at every level.
They set up the UCDA as a Company limited by Guarantee, (Uig Pier Development Ltd) so that it could take an independent and direct approach to this issue dealing with Cal-Mac, the Government, and the Highland Council.
The UCDA did indeed mobilise the community. Out of an adult population of 340 (electoral role) 130 are paid members of the Association. We have 4 elected Company Directors, and an additional 14 members of the Management Committee. The CC puts out a newsletter to every household every quarter.
The first success of the UCDA was to secure an agreement between Cal-Mac and the Highland Council that Cal-Mac will stay at Uig for the next 10 years.
The UCDA are not satisfied with that agreement on three grounds, and are working to get something better.
(a) We do not accept the time limit in the agreement
(b) We feel that the pier improvements are not adequate.
(c) We feel that ferry passengers are being charged too much.
The next crisis to confront the UCDA was in the early spring of 2000 when a number of business' in the village were suddenly closed because of bankruptcy. Overnight we lost our only hotel, our only café, our only filling station and one of the two shops in the village.
The UCDA had not been designed for dealing with a crisis of this nature, but it was forced to deal with it. We looked for grants, for help and guidance from every quarter SALE, HIE, the Community Land Unit, the Highland Council, The Scottish Executive, Strathclyde University, and many others.
With a great deal of help, we have purchased the filling station, shop and café complex, and had the complex completely refurbished, including installing new petrol tanks.
This complex is now open for business, and will be one of the most modern and efficient small filling stations in the country, when we complete the LPG installation.
This work was all done within budget, and on time, and indeed with a significant percentage of the work going to local businesses and workers. Uig CC was proud to receive the Calor Gas Business Award for Scotland in 2000 for their work in this project.
The UCDA are pleased that this project has been successfully concluded, and will be having a special celebration Dinner & Cèilidh on the 4th July in the Uig Hotel now re-opened under new (local) management.
David Green, Convener of the Highland Council officially opened the Filling station complex on the 4th July, and this was followed by the celebrations in the Uig Hotel.
The UCDA, in conjunction with Strathclyde University has published a recent report about Uig Development, in which over 40 Uig Residents actively participated.
We intend to continue with efforts to develop our community to its full potential in an environmental and sustainable way.
Plans are now afoot with regard to a major refurbishment of the Pier costing in the region of £11m. The Development Company is hoping to attract European Transitionary Funding to put these plans into action.
For further information, contact:
Eadar dà Allt,
A Recent Press Release
In 1999 the small community in Uig (pop 340) in North Skye was hit by two major economic disasters. In February that year it was publicly announced that the Cal-Mac Ferry Service from Uig to the Western Isles may be moved from Uig to Dunvegan; then before the next February the only hotel, the only café, the only filling station, and one of the two village shops went bankrupt and closed.
Many people in the media were talking about the end of this community, which would be cut out of the main tourist route, and its tourist industry would go the same way as its fishing and crofting industries were going.
However the local Uig people fought back. With the financial support of all the remaining businesses the Community Council set up a Company (limited by guarantee) to fight for the retention of the ferry service, and to assist in the economic regeneration of the village.
As a result of some of the work they did, they won a 10-year commitment that the Cal-Mac ferry service would remain at Uig.
They then organised the purchase, and refurbishment of the filling station, café and shop, at a total cost of £160,000.
These new businesses were leased out to a local business family a year ago, and are doing well creating 8 new all year round jobs and 5 summer jobs.
Having spent a considerable sum on introducing new fuel tanks to the filling station the Community Company then decided to fully modernise the filling station and introduce LPG.
This further project involved the company in a further £25,000 investment, and is now completed.
Uig Filling station is now the second filling station in Skye to introduce LPG, and indeed is now the most modern filling station in the highlands.
By their determination, their commitment, and hard work, the Uig Community have struggled to change their community from becoming an economic stagnant backwater to a thriving and developing active community.
The availability of LPG in North Skye will be good for the environment, and for the economy, since it will significantly assist the local people and the tourists.
This development will in turn lead to other economic improvements, already we are planing to establish a business (part-time at first) to do LPG conversions and other car repairs.
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