This week's Councillor Column is written by Iain Shonny Paterson, SNP councillor for Lomond North

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We continue to live through trying and difficult times, but we must continue to look to the future and consider the best way for Argyll and Bute to grow and attract people to the area when this pandemic is behind us.

This starts with decent transport links. The Scottish Government has committed to finding a solution to the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful, and of the 11 options put out for consultation to solve decades of problems, the council has agreed on Option 1 – the one I have been lobbying for, in the absence of a tunnel.

This, for a new route in the same area as the current road, was also endorsed by the Arrochar and Tarbet Community Development Trust, Destination Arrochar Alps and many of my fellow councillors, along with our MP Brendan O’Hara, and many small business owners in the village.

I also thought option five had the potential to open up the Rosneath peninsula and develop the economy there. I think that should be considered for the future once the chosen option – hopefully Option 1 – has been built.

READ MORE: Viaducts, canopies, tunnels: conservation charity puts forward 'radical' A83 solution

I think tourism is going to grow exponentially as a result of the pandemic. Scotland has never been more popular as a destination for people in Scotland itself, and we have a lot to offer in this part of Argyll and Bute.

With the right transport infrastructure and support for businesses and communities we can grow our economy, especially with the involvement of local organisations such as community development trusts, community councils and the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs – all intent on improving the visitor experience.

The economic future of Argyll and Bute is going to rely heavily on tourism, and this is a chance for council and government to create a platform for the business growth that will sustain our communities.

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I WAS also honoured to lay Remembrance Sunday wreaths on behalf of the council at the memorials in Arrochar, Rhu and Shandon, and Kilcreggan.

Covid-19 restrictions meant severely limited numbers, which I thought made the observances even more poignant – especially in light of the effect the pandemic has had on our older citizens more than anyone.

READ MORE: Pictures from Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day commemorations across Helensburgh and Lomond

They are from the generation that has sacrificed so much in order that we can live the lives we live today.

It is a privilege to know these people – people who never complain but who continue to show the quiet stoicism that they have shown all through their lives.

Be it in wars, in peacetime or in pandemics, they are a credit to our society and we owe them so much.

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