6th December 2019
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Burgess steps down as SIC member for Shetland Central

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Scalloway man Mark Burgess has resigned from Shetland Islands Council, after seven years representing the Shetland Central ward.

With Lerwick South member Beatrice Wishart also having stepped down following her successful election to the Scottish Parliament, it means that two seats are now vacant on the SIC.

If either vacancy is contested, a by-election will be held on 7th November.

Shetland Central councillor Mark Burgess has resigned.

Mr Burgess was first elected to the council in 2012, as one of the three members for Shetland Central along with Vaila Wishart and David Sandison. Three candidates – Peter Jamieson, John Hunter and Ian Scott – were unsuccessful.

In 2017 five people contested the ward, with Mr Burgess and Mr Sandison being successful along with Mr Scott. Brian Nugent and Julie Buchan failed to get enough votes.

Mr Burgess, whose late father Jack was a former SIC director of development, until recently worked as a lecturer at Shetland College.

He said: “I have greatly valued the seven years that I have had in the Shetland Islands council thus far and have always enjoyed working with officers and other members in every effort to benefit Shetland, our community and the business of the council.

“My first five years in the council were demanding but rewarding and I look back on them without regret and with an appreciation of all that was collectively achieved, especially with the schools, harbours and new Eric Gray Centre.

“However, in more recent times and in changing circumstance I have found it more difficult to contribute to the role as much as I would wish to.

“Personally, I had a particular interest in seeing the Re-Create Scalloway process to the end and a new fishmarket under way and with both these matters in hand, I feel it is now appropriate to step aside from the elected role and put priority on my own personal interests for a time.

The departure of councillor Wishart to the Scottish Parliament has triggered a by election that provides an opportunity for me to do this now.

“I’m not going anywhere, though, and will continue give my time to the community through the Scalloway Community Council and other voluntary roles.

“I’ve learned a great deal through my time in the council and the experience has been a worthwhile one and I may well consider running for the council again in future.

“I wish to thank my constituents and the valued friends I have made within the council for their support over the years.”

Council leader Steven Coutts said: “As well as the wider business of the council, Mark Burgess has supported a number of key local projects including the ‘Re-create Scalloway’ initiative and the new Scalloway fishmarket.

“I have valued Mark’s thoughts on all matters Shetland and I’ve appreciated this desire to see Shetland thrive. On behalf of the council, I would like to thank him for his contribution to the council for the last seven years, and for his dedication to constituents in the Shetland Central ward. We wish him well for the future.”

The Notice of By-Election for the two wards is today issued by Shetland Islands Council, and candidates are invited to put themselves forward for election.

Nomination forms can be obtained online at www.shetland.gov.uk/elections or from the election office at Shetland Islands Council, 8 North Ness, Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 0LZ.

About Jim Tait

Jim Tait is news editor at The Shetland Times.

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