Update on Tolsta Community Development Ltd

Community Development Manager

In May 2012 and from a strong group of applicants, TCDL appointed Donald Maciver as Community Development Manager for the company TCDL. Donald is the son of the late Murdo and Minnie Maciver of 18 North Tolsta Dòmhnall Mhoisein and has been employed in this type of work throughout Britain and also abroad.

We welcome Donald back to the village and extend a warm welcome to his wife Wilma and his family Catriona and Alasdair.

Donald’s role is to work with the various bodies to expedite the delivery of the Tolsta windturbine, and to progress and manage various community projects. He is located in the Tigh Ceilidh and can be contacted or visited there for an update on various projects at any time.

Donald wrote:-

The Tigh Ceilidh has now been refurbished and is owned by, and being used as the working office of Tolsta Community Development Ltd (TCDL). The premises consist of an office and business /conference room able to seat some 20 people comfortably. A 36 Inch TV has also been fitted which makes it very suitable for conferencing with SKYPE for example.

The building is available for hire by any group in the community and has already been used by the Golden Oldies.

Computer Training

Lottery funding has allowed 6 laptops to be bought. These are presently used for IT training sessions held on two evenings per week, ably presented by Graham ‘Barney’ Morrison of No.31. The presence of his two aunties ensures he behaves himself during his Wednesday evening sessions! The sessions are developing folks’ knowledge in computing, particularly giving them confidence and taking away the ‘fear’ factor. Progress all round has been impressive, and the atmosphere generated is really conducive to learning! It is envisaged further sessions will be presented later in the year, including a more advanced option. Details shall be displayed in the Post Office.

Further outcomes of Lottery funding are in plans to build a polytunnel, which will be located just beyond the Bungalow, New Tolsta on the road to Garry. An individual will be employed to look after the development, initially on a part-time basis. We plan to sell the produce in the shop, thus allowing the community to benefit from having fresh vegetables whenever possible.

Another ongoing initiative is in addressing fuel poverty in the village. This shall be carried out in association with Tighean Innse Gall. A Hi-tech camera has been bought which will detect and display visually areas of heat loss from houses. Advice can then be given on what measures can be taken to improve insulation.

Tolsta Wind Turbine Development

Developments are progressing to get delivery of the windturbine. However, progress at times appears to be ponderous for a variety of reasons. Discussions are ongoing with lawyers, bankers and assorted consultants. Expected delivery is now the second quarter next year which is unfortunately somewhat later than initially planned.

This community owned turbine will be located some 130 metres to the lefthand side of the road opposite Loch Beinn Thearabeirt on the gateway into the village. The turbine height will be 55 metres, and up to 81 metres blade tip height. The manufacturer is a German company called Enercon.

Scottish Landcourt approval was recently obtained giving us consent in terms of Section 19A of the Crofter’s Act 1993 for the usage of the land. This was an important decision for progressing the development. Notice appeared in the Gazette of 5th July 2012 advertising this consent.

An objection to the development was initially raised by Highlands and Islands Airports, as it was believed it constituted a hazard to low flying aircraft. However, this concern was allayed by an agreement to fit a constant red light to the turbine Nacelle (Top of the turbine)

The roadbridges used in the delivery route from Stornoway to Tolsta are presently being assessed by Maciver Consultants to ensure they are fit for purpose, for carrying the loads concerned. The weight of the turbine tower, delivered in 3 sections, is over 60 tons.

Archaeological monitoring of the site has been carried out by an island based archaeologist. (Seanchas Summer 2011).