Mareel deal beggars belief (Michael Mackay)
So the council have just pumped another £1.1 million into Mareel, to save their own investment they say. Who would have guessed?
In my opinion, and I’m sure a lot more people, this has been a project surrounded by disasters from the very beginning with its cost being over double the original price.
When it began the arts trust said it would be a self-sustaining building and they would not need the council to prop them up. But now look what’s happened. The council has had to step in and take control.
What’s worse is the fact that Mareel has also been given charity status so they don’t have to pay VAT So does this now mean that they can ask for money under this new heading and be treated like other true charity organisations.
From the beginning I have always said it was an over-expensive and not-needed building, although it’s here and I’m glad Shetland musicians are getting the use of it. But in a time when the council is closing down places like Viewforth, the pensioners’ club at the Freefield Centre, schools, SYIS and parts of COPE, I think it just beggars belief.
Councillor Gary Robinson says that one lesson learned was that in future the council would ensure that any major capital investments were backed up by a security in the building itself. But I say if he and the council had voted against this size of building (and future projects) in the first place they would not be finding themselves having to throw more millions of our money at it.
When you actually sit back and add up what the council has thrown away money at it’s unbelievable. How many millions on the non-Bressay bridge, the Anderson High School fiasco, the money to LPA for trying to stop the dredging of the north harbour and now Viking Energy? That money alone would have easily have saved the other projects I have mentioned.
I thought this council was actually going to turn things around for Shetland, but now I see they are just a continuation of the last. But then again half of them are from the last council so what could you expect?