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Forest Enterprise For Kinbrace Man

2nd July 2002

A young Highland businessman is branching out into the timber haulage industry with the help of his local enterprise company.

Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) has approved a development grant of up to 10,700 for Gordon MacKenzie of Kinbrace Garage in north west Sutherland towards the purchase of an excavator and trailer plus ancillary equipment which will enable him to handle and haul timber extracted from nearby Rhimsdale Forest.

Mr MacKenzie will then let the train take the strain as the wood will be loaded on to
goods carriages at Kinbrace Railway Station for transportation south in the most environmentally friendly fashion.

Forest Enterprise is pioneering the project and Mr MacKenzie has been guaranteed work initially for a 5-year period but the heavy forestation in the area should ensure that timber will continue to be extracted for many more years.

The venture will create much-needed jobs in a fragile area of north west Sutherland, where there is little alternative employment.

Mr MacKenzie, a native of Kinbrace who is 27 and married with 2 children, expects to create at least one full-time job.

He has already created work in the area, having decided to start his own garage business in May 2000, generating the equivalent of 3.5 full-time jobs.

Once more, CASE was able to assist him through the early difficult period with financial help and advice through the HIE Starts scheme.

Mr MacKenzie said: "This is a huge project involving a vast area of forestry. Forest Enterprise prefer to use local labour and plant to carry out the deforestation work and it was an ideal opportunity to create more employment in Kinbrace."

Chief executive at CASE, Carroll Buxton said: "To date, the majority of timber extraction and haulage work in Sutherland has been carried out by contractors from outside the area. This project enables a local business to become involved thereby retaining the economic benefit within the area.

"Transporting the timber by rail is also welcomed, not only is it more environmentally friendly but it also reduces the number of large lorries on the roads at a busy time of the year."