Two new posts are to be appointed focussing on the delivery of the SIC’s biggest housing project this decade.
A senior project manager earning around £64,000 and a part time community involvement officer will work on the Knab redevelopment in Lerwick.
The SIC’s director of development services Neil Grant said the council had not engaged in new build housing for several years and lacked the staffing resources to deliver the six to 10 year project.
“We now need to re-establish in house project managing capacity to engage in new build housing,” he said.
“Housing of all tenures is such a priority for Shetland.”
The Knab redevelopment, which will include around 140 new homes as well as business space and a creative industries hub, has been described as the biggest council project this decade.
It faced criticism, however, after the SIC’s initial £1m estimate for the cost of demolishing part of the old Anderson High School site turned out to be significantly under budget, requiring a further £2.4m to be agreed in January.
Discussing the new roles at Tuesday’s policy and resources meeting, Theo Smith asked Mr Grant for assurances the successful applicant would have the necessary skills and, “in particular, budgeting experience”.
Mr Grant said the post would be specialist with a number of necessary attributes.
“It might not be a straight forward appointment,” he added.
While the focus of the posts will initially be the Knab, Mr Grant told the committee they may also be involved with the planned refurbishment of Sandveien in Lerwick,
“As we move forward I suspect that we will generate further projects,” he said.
Development committee chairman Alastair Cooper said it was important to recruit staff with the “requisite abilities and qualifications” to complete the project to high standards.
“I think we have to recognise that the council, over the last number of years, didn’t have the resources necessary to do this sort of work,” he said.
“We’ve had to rely on bringing in consultants, and such like, and I think that given the scope of the work and the depth of the work that needs to be considered over the next few years, with the Knab and Sandveien, it behoves the council to have its own staff to carry the work through.”
Shetland South member George Smith welcomed the focus on community engagement that the new part time post would achieve.
“Engagement on the ground with communities is paramount in terms of getting the outcomes we’re looking for,” he said.
The committee approved the approved the appointment of the new posts.
Funding for the new posts had already been agreed in January as part of other internal costs associated with the Knab redevelopment.