Seven community councils are on the brink of dissolution owing to a shortage of candidates for re-election.
The councils – Bressay, Northmavine, Scalloway, Tingwall Whiteness & Weisdale, Dunrossness, Gulberwick Quarff & Cunningsburgh and Yell are all short of the minimum number of required councillors.
Shetland returning officer Jan Riise outlined the seriousness of the situation at an association of community councils meeting in Shetland Museum this morning.
By law, unless Mr Riise has the applications in his hand by 4pm on Tuesday, the community councils will be dissolved and their assets and liabilities will revert to the SIC. It is not, he emphasised a technicality as the deadline for objections is the same.
All will not be lost, as the council will “ring-fence” the community council assets for a minimum of six months, when another attempt will be made to rally candidates to make up the full community councils’ establishment.
Until they are properly re-established, their practical duties will be taken over by the SIC.
If the hope had been that the unprecedented turnout for the Scottish independence referendum would re-invigorate local politics, it doesn’t seem to have worked at community council level.
Tingwall, Whiteness & Weisdale and Dunrossness are all three councillors short of requirement. Scalloway, Northmavine and Bressay are two shy of the target and Yell, Gulberwick Quarff & Cunningsburgh both need one more councillor.
“Properly filled in nomination papers need to be in my hands by 4pm on Tuesday. It will not do to simply post them on Monday,” Mr Riise said.
To make things easier, if nominees are not sure of their electoral registration number, that can be left blank. Then the paper will be initialled and the box filled in later.