What can be achieved?

COUNCILLORS should tell the public what can be achieved in the lifetime of this council.

That is the feeling of Shetland North councillor Alastair Cooper, who made a plea for the completion of three marinas which had been in “gestation” for around 10 years.

Speaking at a meeting of the services committee last Thursday, Mr Cooper said that one marina could be completed every year for the next three years as expectation had been created. Mentioning Hamnavoe, he said: “We should finish what we started.”

He also suggested combining the capital grants to voluntary organ­isations and to “water-based fac­ilities”. Grants to park and play areas could also be combined.

Council convener Sandy Cluness seconded Mr Cooper.

But councillor Allison Duncan said that he was totally opposed to Mr Cooper’s motion, and said money should instead go into education and social care. He then caused a stir by saying: “I propose all sports and leisure services be abolished.”

Councillor Jonathan Wills said he did not regard any more marinas as a priority, as a cost of £400,000 each was “excessive”.

He also said that he regarded the refurbishment of the library, which ranked fourth on the list of seven projects on the schools service’s wish list, as less important than additional classrooms for Sandwick Junior High School and Happyhansel Primary School.

Councillor Gary Robinson said that the Happyhansel proposal must be one of the longest-standing capital projects and there was an acute need for more space. By 2010 the school roll would be beyond the school’s capacity.

Councillor Bill Manson said that although a new primary school for Lerwick appeared on the list, at seventh and bottom place, Bell’s Brae still had eight or nine years left in it.

Eventually it was agreed to refine the list for a future meeting.


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