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Weekly Update, 27th February 2012

I brought together members of the Partnership’s Delivery Group this week to review our “roadmap” for creating economic benefit from marine renewables. We met with a contractor working on behalf of the Crown Estate on a project plan for the Pentland Firth/ Orkney Waters area, so we can ensure that our plans are based on the most up to date intelligence from the wave & tidal industry.

Natural Retreats will be holding an open day at John O’Groats next Wednesday between 9am and 1pm  in Mackay’s Hotel, Wick, to update the public on progress with the redevelopment of the former hotel site and surrounding land as an upmarket tourism centre. Natural Retreats will also hold a suppliers’ day on Tuesday next week at the same venue as part of its efforts to source local suppliers of goods and services for the development. Last autumn local company Norscot won the £1M contract to construct energy-efficient timber frame buildings as part of the £6M development.

Enabling Activities:
Caithness Science festival kicks off next week with public Science Fairs in Wick and Thurso. The two events will feature a wide range of displays on tidal energy (Meygen), weather, astronomy and computer modelling, as well as presentations throughout the day from guest speakers. The Fair will be in Caithness Horizons, Thurso from 10am-4pm on Saturday 10th March and in Wick Assembly Rooms from 10am-4pm on Sunday 11th March. The Science Festival is part funded by the NDA, DSRL and the Scottish Government. For more information contact

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:

  • This week I gave a quarterly update presentation to local Highland Councillors from the three Caithness wards. In it I covered a range of issues in energy, business services and tourism, and during our discussion session we also covered key enabling activities such as transport.
  • The Caithness Courier covers the story I mentioned last week about staff from the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso taking part in a mission to Chile that is being organised by Scottish Development International next month (not online).
  • Building on the momentum from Caithness Chamber of Commerce’s “Spend it Here” loyalty card scheme for Wick and Thurso retailers, a mini-festival is being held in Thurso this Saturday under the banner “Live it Here” and will feature music at Thurso town centre venues. The Chamber’s Town Centre development manager Nicola Cameron is quoted welcoming the initiative, which is led by a local student (not online).