A LIMITED response is expected from community groups asked to help keep Argyll and Bute’s streets clear this winter, a council official has admitted.

A report on Argyll and Bute Council’s winter maintenance programme gave details of the community resilience scheme, which would see communities help the council to grit pavements in winter.

But roads and amenity services manager Jim Smith told the council’s environment, development and infrastructure committee that very little progress had been made on getting groups to sign up to the scheme because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Robin Currie, the committee’s chair, called for the council to be asking community groups themselves instead of awaiting feedback.

He said: “I am strong on communication and in this case, we have to be proactive and start the conversations with community groups and community councils.

“We must see what can be done, rather than wait for groups to come to us.”

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He was speaking after Kintyre councillor John Armour sought more information on how the programme would operate.

Councillor Armour said: “How many groups are you in consultation with on taking on some of this work themselves?

“You have already indicated what they will be provided with, but my concern is that we are not used to heavy frost and snow.

“When we do get it, if footways are not treated fairly quickly then it turns to ice and it becomes very difficult to treat them.

“Can we give the groups we are working with some reassurance of some early intervention to stop paths becoming almost impossible to work on?”

Mr Smith said: “We have a limited number of groups we are starting to engage with, but very little work has been done so far because we have been preoccupied by Covid-19, which has closed down many elements of work.

“If groups are able to mobilise we will work with them, but I think we will have a limited number to be honest.

“But if we see success in one area in year one, hopefully that will snowball and we will see more and more take it up.”

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