New Chair outlines vision for local Committee
The new Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh Committee met today (Tuesday 11 February) and first thing on the agenda was to appoint a chair.
Cllr Ian Cockburn has taken on the role after Cllr Alexander MacInnes nominated him and this was seconded by Cllr Derek MacLeod.
Councillor Cockburn said: “We have been pressing for this area to have its own committee for the last 4 to 5 years. At just under 5,000 square kilometres not only are we geographically the largest Council ward in the UK, but we have a lot of diverse communities. I feel this dedicated Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh Committee will be able to better reflect the needs and deal with unique issues in each area of our ward more quickly.
“My vision is for my fellow Ward Councillors and I to focus more in the specific ambitions and needs of our area – to drill down to look at what we can do to improve the daily lives of the people we represent, to stimulate more economic investment and promote the many assets we have to visitors to our area.
“I would like to see much closer communication and working with our local businesses, community groups and stakeholders now we have a more direct lead in to the Council. I am looking forward to this closer joint working at a very local level and my plan is that we will be moving our Committee meetings around the area and inviting local representatives to come along.
“This is a new start and I am very optimistic that this new set up will lead to a better representation for the area and make local Councillors more accountable for decisions taken.”
The committee then went on to review the proposed capital roads project for the ward over the next 12 months. The proposed draft capital budget of £1,093,304 for Ross and Cromarty has been split with the Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh Committee allocated 48% (£524,785) which reflects the amount of roads network which falls within Ward 5.
Projects allocated capital funding over the following year are spread across the Ward and include inlay works on the U30079 Golf Course Road in Strathpeffer and the A832 at Fain and overlay works on Bundalloch Road in Dornie once drainage works have been completed. Surface dressing capital projects include along the A896 at Kinlochewe bridge, the A890 west of Achnasheen Roundabout, the A832 at Slattadale and the C1055 Letters to Logie Road.
The Committee also discussed the condition and usage of council garages within the Ward and agreed a 3% rental increase in line with the rise in Council house rents. Acknowledging the run-down condition of garages and the investment that would be required to re-condition them members have asked officers for a detailed report to come to a future committee providing options surrounding the future of council garages in Ward 5.