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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 09:56 GMT
Buyout benefits for unique island
South Uist-born and bred, Duncan John MacEachen was a member of the original steering group set up to investigate the pros and cons of a community buyout.

The 33-year-old, who works on a Ministry of Defence firing range and as an agricultural contractor, sees massive benefits for himself and the residents of the 92,000-acre estate now it is in their control.


People who don't know South Uist find it hard to imagine what it is like living here.

South Uist in April (Pic: Duncan John MacEachen)
South Uist in April in a photograph taken by Mr MacEachen

Some think we don't have running water, which of course isn't the case, or they think we live right out in the sticks - but I don't think we do.

South Uist is such a unique place.

We live right on the edge of the Atlantic and, yes, the weather here doesn't suit some people.

There are some who love it here and others who can't handle it.

I was part of the original steering group three years ago that investigated the possibility of a community buyout.

Those who joined the committee had to approach the issue without any feelings for or against it.

I think it can only be a good thing.

It is hard to keep the traditional crofting going because we have so few young people coming into it

The buyout is not going to be something that might change my life, but future generations, maybe my children's.

Crofting is our main industry and is a very organic one.

Seaweed is used as fertilizer and the quality of livestock here is something I believe could be promoted more after the buyout.

However, it is hard to keep the traditional crofting going because we have so few young people coming into it.

Many of the people I meet here are in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. I don't want South Uist to become a retirement ground.

What may help encourage more young people to stay on and encourage others to come and keep crofting going is new technology.

There is no reason why a call centre cannot be opened here.

Today you can shop on the internet and buy almost anything by going online, which means it should be easier to start up businesses here that you could not 15 years ago.

There's no doubt I'll be lighting a bonfire to mark the buyout.



SEE ALSO
Islanders close in on buyout bid
14 Nov 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Islands buyout gets lottery boost
07 Nov 06 |  Highlands and Islands

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