Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Community Council Dies

Last week, CalMac ran out of ships. With several of its fleet away being serviced, and a sudden breakdown of a ferry serving one of the islands, the decision was made to take the Raasay off the Tobermory-Kilchoan run and not replace it.  Fortunately, West Ardnamurchan Community Council's Chairman, Rosie, and Secretary, Jac, heard about the plan and managed to persuade CalMac to change its mind.

Following the recent election of a new community council, when only four people stood and one then resigned, as of midnight on Tuesday 17th November, West Ardnamurchan will have no Community Council. Rosie, Jac and the other six councillors will not be able to represent us. WACC's bank account will be frozen, its email address shut down. Nominations will open for a new Community Council on 20th January; nominations close on 3rd February; if there are eight or fewer nominations, the new Council will be appointed on 5th February; if an election has to take place, it'll be on 3rd March.

Last night's meeting of the outgoing Community Council was a depressing affair. So much business remains unfinished: parts of the roads are in dire state; we still don't have our full complement of GPs; the Emergency Responders who, after over three years' sterling work, still have neither a contract nor a pay scale, are threatening to resign at the end of the year unless these, and other issues, are resolved; Paramedics, instead of doctors, will be 'on call' out-of-hours later this year; BT, having been asked to talk to WACC about the lack of new lines in the Kilchoan exchange and the disgrace of the Glenborrodale exchange, have still to appear; and if CalMac withdraw our ferry again....

Highland Councillor Andrew Baxter congratulated the outgoing members of WACC for punching well above their weight in representing the community and in the disputes in which they have been involved. But the voice of West Ardnamurchan that has been heard in high places is now silent. When nominations open, the community desperately needs people to step forward. Being a Community Councillor is a hard, unpaid, and sometimes thankless task but it's how our precious democracy works.

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