West Side woman enters council election race
With the council elections drawing closer, another candidate has said she will stand.
Tresta resident Debra Nicolson says she will be canvassing for votes in the West Side, with the school closures debate among the issues fuelling her desire to enter the council chamber.
“I attended one of the public meetings at Aith school and that was really well attended,” she said.
“Some of the ideas that people were coming out with on how we could save money and still keep the schools open – I was really inspired by that. I just don’t feel the council took that on board and they didn’t listen.”
Ms Nicolson is a former secretary of the Walls and District Show and is heavily involved in drama productions, including those with the West Side Players.
She said she would be keen to get out and about as a councillor and put the community’s views forward.
Hearing from others, she said the “main thing that comes up is decentralisation” and wanted to campaign for more affordable housing on the West Side.
“There’s this feeling that everything is being centralised in Lerwick with those 200-plus houses they are planning to build at Staney Hill. I believe there is a need for affordable housing,” she said.
More widely, she believed Shetland Charitable Trust should be more democratic and there should be directly elected members. Failing that she argued the trust should not reduce councillor-trustees.
As a plea has been made for more female local politicians, Ms Nicolson said she would also welcome more women and younger people on the SIC.
Ms Nicolson said seven women ran for the council last time, with three voted in “which is not bad odds”.
The current council cohort had done “a good job with the finances,” she said, though, “I think there are other ways of looking at things and maybe you need to look outside the box more”.
Transport is also an issue and she said she would aim to improve bus services to the West Side. Ms Nicolson added inter-island ferries was still a matter that councillors had to tackle as a lifeline service.
“I really want to get out there in the community and I want to push forward the issues people have had and they have not been listened to”.