Views from the Scord 13.02.09

Burra Community Council

The February assembly of the Burra Community Council took place on Monday this week, with all three central Mainland councillors also in attendance.

As is often the case, matters of roads and transport occupied much of the agenda.

In keeping with the cold snap, the council’s gritting and salting criteria were called into question. Under discussion was the bias toward salting the road into Hamnavoe first on any given day, with gritters then leaving Burra only to return later to salt the road to Bridge- End and beyond. The reason for this, as was explained, being that main roads and bus routes were always treated first with single-track roads a lesser priority. It was, however, discerned that the south end of Burra was used by three school buses of a morning and that there were, by a small margin, more people living in that region than that of Hamnavoe, giving an increased level of priority to those routes, worthy of consideration by the roads department. This situation is likely to be exacerbated by the announcement this week that roads considered to be side-roads will only be treated with grit until a replenishment of salt stocks is received.

The proposed 20mph speed limit around the Hamnavoe school was discussed, with the new signage and restrictions said to be forthcoming in the next financial year, after April. The implications of this and an overview of road safety in the village were considered. Assorted parking issues within the Burra and Trondra area were also discussed.

Another item on the agenda of particular relevance to Hamnavoe was the withdrawal of the regular Friday morning doctor’s surgery in the Hamnavoe Public Hall. Doctors from the Scalloway surgery have held consultations in a dedicated room in the hall, along with making house calls in the area on Fridays. The room has been deemed to be not up to “clinical standards” while a recent survey had also revealed, among other things, that the majority of those attending the surgery had access to private transport and as a result it was apparently considered appropriate to cease the long-standing arrangement. This matter is a cause of some disappointment to the community council as the room used in the hall was constructed for the purpose and funding was said to be available to improve the standard of the room if necessary.

In keeping with this matter and the ongoing possibility of a new surgery in Scalloway, the community council has invited representatives of the Shetland Health Board and Scalloway surgery to their March meeting to discuss both situations in more detail.

Another invitation extended as a result of this meeting to the new head of infrastructure, Gordon Greenhill. Since taking on the post at the end of last year, Mr Greenhill has endeavoured to make himself accessible to various representatives of the community and in doing so familiarise himself with current affairs across Shetland, with a view to improving services.

Burra fish and chips

The Bridge-End Outdoor Centre is having a takeaway fish and chip supper night tonight and will be serving food from 5pm to 7pm at the centre. The funds raised on the evening will go toward running costs of the centre and its proposed refurbishment.

Harbour news

Fishing activity dominated harbour activity in Scalloway once again this week, with the continued presence of a number of visiting vessels and prosperous times for the local boats. Landings totalled 2,292 boxes in the week to Friday from vessels Venture, Arcturus, Tranquility, Arkh Angell, Boy Andrew, Devotion, Fertile, Keila, Radiant Star, Valhalla and Quiet Waters. The largest single landing of the week came from the Kirkwall-registered trawler Keila with 425 boxes.

A duo of Norwegian fishing vessels made brief and apparently unrelated visits during the week. The Oslo-registered 1,300 gross ton Vonar was in harbour for mere minutes as it deposited a crewman ashore due to illness. Coincidentally, the 469 gross ton Veidar, also from Oslo, called in briefly to put a crewman ashore so that he was able to travel home for a family funeral. The Banff-registered Discovery was also in the harbour for a time on Wednesday.

The section of the fishmarket that was recently reclaimed from its long-term use as a mussel farm store for use by the whitefish fleet was altered to improve its suitability for fish handling this week. The polished concrete floor of the two south bays underwent a grinding process to roughen the surface to provide better grip for fish handlers and fishermen. The process was also begun this week to remove the partition separating these bays from the rest of the market to allow greater ease of movement within the building.

The well-boats Ronja Settler and Reflex continue to operate from Scalloway in fetching salmon from farms off the West Side. The fish feed barge Hessle Flyer was towed into Scalloway on Thursday, said to be for partial disassembly before being towed to Orkney.

Salmon cage construction continues on the West Quay, with several more cages launched during the week, the total of new-builds standing at 14 as of last weekend.

The “big freeze” featured highly in activity and discussion around the harbour throughout this week, with temperatures recorded as low as –9 degrees C. Most of the East Voe froze, with ice extending almost to the East Voe marina and at least one pier mounted water bollard rupturing in the exceptionally low temperatures. During recent years the relatively high fresh water content in the East Voe has seldom frozen to any great extent.

Mark Burgess


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.