The group formed to investigate the lifeless state of Clickimin loch has been branded a “shambles” over its poor progress.
Lerwick Community Council members who joined the SIC-led group in the hope of tackling the loch’s long-term decline have expressed frustration over its failure to make headway.
LCC chairman Jim Anderson said on Monday he would write to SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison asking her to “knock heads” together.
Without blaming either of the group’s chairmen – first Robert Sinclair and more recently Kenn Allan – Mr Anderson said something needed to be done.
LCC members also agreed to ask the SIC to provide minutes of all previous meetings and data about the loch’s decline.
The frustration follows similar criticisms raised recently by Shetland Bird Club’s Ray Johnston, who helped push for the group’s formation in 2021 after repeatedly highlighting how it had been abandoned by wildlife.
Speaking to The Shetland Times last month, Mr Johnston said he had been “enraged” by the group’s December meeting – the first held in eight months.
With a change of chairman and many new faces around the table, Mr Johnston said the meeting wasted time going over old ground.
The only update was the unwelcome news that the SIC had ruled out funding the previously promised investigations into water quality at the loch.
Mr Johnston had also written to LCC, with Mr Anderson summarising his view as “he’s waited a long time for a meeting that was a waste of time”.
Mr Anderson questioned: “Why set up a group if you’re’ going to do nothing.
Councillors Damien Ristori and Arwed Wenger, who attended the December meeting on behalf of LCC, were also frustrated by the lack of progress.
Mr Ristori described the group as a “shambles” and “really disorganised”.
Having raised several points about the history of the loch’s decline, Mr Ristori said he was disappointed these were not recorded.
Mr Wenger said previous meetings had been just as poorly organised, with invites being sent out late and no minutes being taken.
The only issue that had been progressed, Mr Wenger said, was the confirmation that the SIC owned at least part of the site.
He added: “The next question is, who is responsible for the water?”
The group’s initial remit had been to investigate the state of the loch and form an action plan.
But although Mr Sinclair, who is SIC assets manager, told LCC last April that experts had been approached to carry out water sampling at the loch, nothing further has happened.
And although Mrs Sandison wrote in a letter to Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart last July that the SIC would take a “lead role” in investigating what had happened – no funding has been provided to support such efforts.
Mr Johnston said he intended to lobby all councillors to push for the SIC to deliver on its responsibilities.
The SIC has been approached for comment.