The clear cut result in the ballot to establish a Tourism Business Improvement District for the whole of Lochaber, demonstrated how deeply unpopular the proposal was within the local business community. 418 votes were cast AGAINST the plan with only 135 votes in FAVOUR.
When the massive 47 votes allocated to Highland Council, which were cast in favour, are removed, only 16% of the business community voting were in favour of this ill-conceived plan. I am not sure why the steering group didn’t detect this widespread hostility during their business consultation. Would Highland Council have vetoed the ballot, if it had known support was so weak? There are many questions that need answering about the decision-making process and the actual conduct of the ballot, which is why I have demanded a councillor-led investigation into Highland Council’s role in this debacle.
Beyond that, despite the suggestions that those opposed to the BID were negative and risking the future of the Lochaber economy, there is plenty of determination to find ways of working together for a better future.