Oban is into the coundown to the closure of the ballot of local businesses within its 30mph zone, asked to support the plan to improve the town’s business district for the benefit of businesses, residents and visitors alike.
The aim is to transform.
The deadline for eligible businesses to return their ballot papers on the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) in the town is now just eight days away.
Many have already sent back their confidential votes. Those who haven’t have until 5pm next Friday (5th October ) to have their say in what could prove the most exciting initiative the town’s business community has ever seen.
Voting papers must have arrived at the Returning Officer’s address at Kilmory, Lochgilphead, Argyll PA31 8RT by 5pm in order to be counted, They should be posted by 43d October at the latest.
The BID4Oban steering group, made up of local business men and women from organisations of various sizes and from various sectors, has spent two years bringing the plan to this critical point.
Its chair, Graham MacQueen, says it would be ‘a new dawn’ for Oban if it won the support of the wider business community next week.
‘I know that plenty of people have already returned their ballot papers, and I’m delighted by the positive feedback we’re getting on the street as the process reaches its climax.
‘However, it’s not enough for eligible businesses just to pledge their support verbally. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of the correct person filling in the ballot paper and getting it back to us by next Friday. No vote is no voice in the future of our town.’
Project co-ordinator Pauline Cameron urged businesses to make sure their vote is counted by checking that the right person signs the confidential ballot paper, saying: ‘The ballot pack which businesses have received is addressed to the eligible voter, and must be returned by that person and no-one else.
‘You can’t get another person in your business to vote for you unless you appoint them as proxy, which can only be done by writing to the Returning Officer at Argyll and Bute Council.
‘It is vital that you contact me on 07930313172 as soon as possible if you are not sure who is listed as the eligible voter, or you think the wrong person might have signed your business’s ballot paper. Your vote cannot be counted if the right person hasn’t signed it.’
Graham MacQueen stresses that all eligible businesses within the BID boundary need to be clear about the implications not just of a successful ballot, but also of an unsuccessful one.
‘A successful ballot will see a minimum of £840,000 being ploughed into Oban’s trading environment in ways chosen by the local businesses themselves. The alternative is that no additional money is spent.
‘When the two possible outcomes are so starkly contrasting, it’s difficult to see how anyone with a genuine desire for Oban and its businesses to be able to reach their full potential can vote against it. That’s why I’m confident that we’ll get the support we need to kick start this new chapter for our town.
There’s a real buzz about the town, and so there should be. This is a chance for local businesses to take their future by the scruff of the neck and work together in a new dawn for the town. Let’s get together and make the most of that opportunity.’
If the BID4OBAN proposal succeeds and becomes a reality, it would be the first such BID in Scotland to include a town’s entire 30mph speed limit zone.