Shetland Times – Seven questions

Shetland Times – Seven questions

 

SEVEN QUESTIONS:

(50 word Maximum per question)

1) Charitable trust. Should councillors serve on the trust if they only have four representatives or would you favour elected trustees?
The four appointees can bring a valuable input to all the trust’s business. Better use of the Shetland Partnership or similar body could better help in non-conflicted joint working. An election would cost £16,000, I’m led to believe. The cost of candidates posturing on single or focused manifestos could be much higher to the Shetland community as a whole, however.

2) Patient transport: Do you support NHS Shetland’s move to make patients travel to Aberdeen by ferry?
Absolutely not. In terms of a travel commitment this would make an appointment in Aberdeen equivalent to travel by air to China and back. The time required; the difficulties in getting to the hospital without the Red Cross airport transfer service; the necessity for employment absence, or absence from care responsibilities made this an absurd proposal. Choice should be offered and tele-health is under-utilised.

3) Council meetings: The SIC recently voted against holding more meetings in public, rather than behind-closed-doors “pre-meetings”. What do you think?
In short, this pseudo-populist debate has become misrepresentative. Public attendance at routine council meetings is minimal, reporting is sometimes selective. To my knowledge, there has been no personal, political or financial gain to any councillor from the relatively few gatherings that are likely to be held outside of the media-facing aspect of the council.

4) Island games: Do you think the council should give a grant towards the Shetland team travelling to the island games?
There are a range of options available toward supporting Shetland’s athletes travel abroad. SIC funding should be considered but not targeted as a sole solution.

5) AHS hostel: Should the education committee look again at the decision not to name the new hostel after George McGhee?
It was, at the time, inappropriate to name a building after a serving council employee and I agreed with the committee’s stance on this. A variety of additional alternative names came forward in the wake of this debate. I see no harm in revisiting the subject in the future, or seeking a name for the “60-40” games arena.

6) Windfarms: Is there room for more large-scale wind developments in Shetland?
The landmass of Shetland can only reasonably sustain a limited amount of large scale development, if any, without significant ecological, visual and aural impact. There is however, plenty of scope to develop much more off-grid, small-scale developments. You would not seek to build a power station in the heart of a village.

7) Spending: Should the age of austerity come to an end and the council begin spending more on the people of today, not of the future?
The council benefits from over £10 million per annum as an investment return on the reserve fund. This is sustainable and and its use is responsible. We need to seriously consider organisational change and external lobbying as options prior to the acceptance of recurrent draws on the reserve’s capital sum.

 


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