Disappointing editorial (Malcolm Bell)
I very rarely respond to newspaper comment; however, your editorial of Friday last (11th October) has left me with little option.
It is disappointing that a story about an initiative of this council, designed to bring our decision-making closer to the public, was turned into a comment on the schools debate.
For the avoidance of doubt, I would not and do not expect children (especially), staff or councillors to take undue risk on roads which are known to be dangerous or impassable due to winter conditions. Schools normally close or issue guidance when that occurs.
Had we planned to transport upwards of, perhaps, 50 members and officials to a rural location and then cancel at short notice due to blocked winter roads, we would cause administrative chaos and very possibly destroy a fledgling initiative. A formal council meeting cannot simply be held elsewhere or at short notice.
I can only imagine the ridicule your paper would have, correctly, subjected us to had we planned to hold a meeting in the country in the middle of winter, which then had to be postponed due to bad weather.
Taking council meetings outside Lerwick is not something we have to do but is something I feel strongly we ought to do and do properly. It is an initiative I hope will prove to be successful, popular and become, once established, a routine event.