Weekly update, 27th March

Energy & business services:
Following last week’s news that it has received consent from Scottish Government for its proposed Dounreay Tri floating offshore wind project off the north Caithness coast, this week Hexicon has announced a €45 million funding boost which will allow it to begin construction on the project.  http://renews.biz/106475/hexicon-swells-dounreay-coffers/

The offshore construction phase of the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project also progresses, with the arrival off Caithness of the huge vessel Stanislav Yudin. Seaway Heavy Lifting is delivering this phase of work, and the vessel will join up with another travelling from the Arnish yard in the Western Isles, where the piles for the project are being fabricated.
 
Tourism, Food & Drink:
A number of local tourism businesses in Caithness came together this week in Thurso. The “Caithness Tourism Gathering 2017” was held under the auspices of the Caithness & Sutherland Visitor Attractions Group and Venture North, and attendees heard presentations from Wild Caithness, Venture North, North Coast 500 and Visitscotland. The event also provided a forum for businesses to meet and discuss current issues and opportunities. I also discussed this week with Highland Council colleagues issues of infrastructure around the North Coast 500 route – specifically signage.

A further sign of confidence in the area is the planning application submitted by Merlin Cinemas Ltd to increase the number of screens at its cinema in Thurso from two to five. You can see the related documentation at http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=ON7Z4HIHH0500  

Communications:
As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP’s partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:

I attended a meeting this week to review the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, following an independent review of the organisation carried out by David Collier of White Ox consulting. The report highlighted that the DSG remins probably the best performing site stakeholder groups in the NDA estate, and showed various examples of good practice. Attendees agreed that work will now be done to ensure that future DSG structures continue to complement the other groupings at work in the north. This is particularly useful as future structures for CNSRP are also being agreed, allowing clear roles and remits to be reinforced.
 
Good to hear that Scottish Ambulance Service has announced “significant additional investment” in ambulance services in Caithness. There has been much controversy over service provision, and has featured as a discussion point in Community Planning Partnership meetings over the last few months.so many people will look forward to hearing more about the detail of the investment.  http://www.scottishambulance.com/NewsDesk/NewsItem.aspx?NewsID=200

Finally, as the pre-election period for the 2017 local council elections begins we were very sad to hear this week of the passing of John Rosie, the local member for Thurso on the Highland Council. John’s decades of service to local government will be well known to many, and his tireless support for community organisations and social enterprises such as Ormlie Community Association have also been significant. His support for the work of CNSRP over the years has always been appreciated.

Ken from North Coast 500 addresses the audience at Caithness Tourism Gathering 2017.

The Seaway Heavy Lifting vessel “Stanislav Yudin” will carry out construction work for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project.