Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar’s online Community Conversations are underway this week. The Community Conversations offer an opportunity for members of the public to engage with the Comhairle on topics including the Comhairle Budget, Crown Estate funding and service delivery.
Upon the request of local council members and with consideration for the COVID-19 outbreak, the Uist and Benbecula community conversations, originally scheduled for Tuesday 6th October and Wednesday 7th October have been postponed to a later date. Residents of Uist cancontact their local members in the usual manner to feed views into the process.
The Harris virtual meeting is now on Wednesday 7th October and the Lochs area meeting is on Thursday 8th.Dates for next week’s meetings in other areas, are available on the Comhairle Website.
Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Tuesday 6th October 2020
COMHAIRLE NAN EILEAN SIAR BACKS ACTION FOR ARNISH
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is backing the Action for Arnish campaign and is meeting with Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse later this month to highlight concerns and seek a more sustainable future for the Arnish yard.
Speaking this week, Cllr Donald Crichton, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee, said:
“The disappointing news this week that Bifab has been unsuccessful in bidding for the SSE renewables contract off the East coast is a further blow to our local economy. This of course has Implications for the Arnish fabrication yard and leaves our skilled local workforce without any prospect of future work. It further highlights the lack of a national strategy or framework that would put in place incentives to ensure that renewable energy developers use local markets to construct their projects.
Along with the Council Leader I am a signatory to the statement by the Arnish Campaign Group and fully share their frustration at the lack of progress in securing contracts for the yard.”
The Comhairle is meeting with the Energy Minister on 30 September and will be highlighting our concerns and seeking that he open up a new dialogue with the Arnish Campaign Group to address the issues raised and seek a more sustainable future for the Arnish yard.”
The Campaign has the backing of other Councillors, ex-Arnish workers, Trade Unions and local business leaders.
Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Friday 25th September 2020
Bridge Blip in Marine Licence requirement
The timescales for a replacement crossing for the 67-year-old Bernera Bridge have been upset by the need to obtain a Marine Licence prior to work commencing. Additionally, projected costs have increased to about £2 million.
The Comhairle’aTransportation and Infrastructure committee received a progress update on Bernera Bridge yesterday. In addition to costing more than initial estimates, the expected lifespan of the temporary replacement has increased from 25 to 30 years.
This summer the existing bridge was closed to all heavy vehicles, including standard rubbish lorries and domestic oil deliveries. A Marine Licence is required for any projects – such as “construction, alteration, and improvement” -- in Scotland's coastal areas.
Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of the Transport and Infrastructure Committee, said: “Work on the design and procurement is progressing very well indeed but the requirement for a Marine Licence means that the project could be delayed.
“There are critical factors to be resolved to ensure work is progressed in the shortest possible timeframe,” Cllr Robertson added. “The earliest timescale for completion would be January 2021 -- with this being extended to April 2021 should the full consultation period for Marine Licensing be required.”
Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Thursday 24th September 2020