Review of the Year – March: First fire festival for the South Mainland

The council went into a tail-spin and financial watchdog Audit Scotland promised close scrutiny as it began an investigation into the SIC.

Sandy Cluness pledged to stand down if the inquiry found him wanting, but the public would have to wait at least two months to hear if action would be taken against any councillors for their role in the fiasco.

At least there was some optimism in Fetlar. After years of decline the population was beginning to rise again, thanks to the arrival of fam­ilies with young children.

The price-tag for a tunnel to Whalsay was put at £70 million, and islanders would have to wait seven years before the expensive piece of infrastructure was complete. So said the Norwegian tunnelling experts tasked with suggesting realistic costs and timeframes.

However the councillor who first persuaded the SIC to investigate the fixed-link, Alastair Cooper, said a tunnel was still the best option in the long-run.

Members of the Scottish Parlia­ment’s rural affairs and environment committee took evidence from officials and members of the public on crofting in the isles. Chief among concerns raised was a growing tendency among property developers to snap up arable land for much-needed houses.

North Staney Hill was selected to receive a £10,000 cash-boost from the Scottish government as part of a pilot scheme to tackle anti-social behaviour.

In what proved to be an unpopular move for the government, NorthLink was ordered to operate its ferries on half power to cut down on fuel costs without prior consultation – threatening extended journey times and prompting an angry backlash from passengers and businesses.

Councillors agreed to force people who drop litter or allow their dogs to foul the pavements to attend classes or face a fine.

It emerged the new Anderson High School could be built closer to the Clickimin Centre on flatter land, rather than being dug into the hillside.

The SIC went back on a com­mitment made in 2009 to pay for schools’ use of leisure centres, which threatened to leave Shetland Rec­reational Trust with a major shortfall in its budget.

Farmers and crofters were count­ing the cost of extra feed, including hay, silage and pellets, which they had to buy for their livestock during the lengthy cold spell of weather.

The summer’s Hamefarin was set to become the event of the decade, with over 500 visitors eagerly awaiting a chance to visit the land they, or their forebears, had left.

NorthLink’s new freight and livestock vessel, Hildasay, broke down 20 miles off Orkney – just two weeks after an official ceremony was held to mark her introduction as a cargo ship for the isles.

Anderson High School pupil Chap­man Cheng was named Young Musician of the Year on the pen­ultimate night of the 2010 Schools Music Festival. Junior Young Musician of the Year was pianist Nicola Morrison from Whiteness Primary School.

The aero-generator at Houll in Fair Isle was ready for action again after being renovated.

Critics gave an overall thumbs-up to Shetland County Drama Festival, which put on four nights of action-packed and entertaining perform­ances.

Government figures revealed NHS Shetland loses over half a million pounds every year to alcohol abuse. The amount covers emerg­ency ambulance call-outs, A&E attendances, outpatient visits and inpatient treatment.

It emerged the five turbines at Burradale are playing a key role in making Shetland Aerogenerators Ltd possibly the world’s most productive windfarm. It sold more than 16 million units of electricity in 2009.

Seventies legends Showaddy­waddy were preparing to make a return visit to the isles. The first major band to play at the Clickimin were to come back to the venue to mark its 25th anniversary.

The SIC was rarely far from the top of the in-tray at the Standards Commission. Investigations were made into a complaint against Caroline Miller, under the spotlight for her role in the Judane affair. Questions were also asked of Gary Robinson, concerning comments he made regarding a confidential agreement between Judane and the council. A complaint had also been made by senior councillors and officials against Jonathan Wills. All three would later be cleared of any wrongdoing.

There was sadness following the death of 43-year-old Ian Flynn of Dunrossness, who died while travelling in a taxi.

Tributes were also paid to poet, walker and war veteran Jack Ren­wick, auctioneer Harry Hay, World War II Roll of Honour compiler Ian Jamieson, minister Jim Blair and nurse Gena Henderson.

Specially-built modules for the new junior high school at Mid Yell began to arrive in the isle.

The historic links between the ports of Leith and Lerwick were discussed at a symposium in Edin­burgh, arranged by Shetland author Robert Alan Jamieson, lecturer in literature at Edinburgh University.

Highland Airways, the airline responsible for taking daily news­papers to the isles, entered admin­istration after failing to overcome long-running difficulties.

The council’s wage bill breached the £100-million mark when it was revealed the authority had taken on 500 extra employees in the space of two years.

Momentum gathered for the Fetlar film, Between Weathers, when producers were handed a council grant towards a final script, which would be used to attract interested actors at the annual Cannes Film Festival.

The search began for an interim SIC chief executive to replace David Clark and steer the SIC through until after the next set of elections in 2012.

The Scottish government announ­ced its grant to Shetland’s housing association was being cut from £3.8 million to £2 million.

Scotland’s chief scientist, Profes­sor Anne Glover, said Shetlanders were well-equipped to lead the country in developing renewables.

The six-week countdown began until Shetland switched from analogue to digital television, with a visit from former Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin.

The Shetland senior pool teams had mixed fortunes during the inter-county matches, with the women defeating Orkney 22-14, but the men going down 45-33.

The outdoor senior football season started with the Highland Fuels Cup Competition as curtain-raiser.

The three netball players rep­resenting Scotland struggled against high class competition but worked hard enough to secure a vital win over Gibraltar.


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