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Council Elections - Wick - Gail Ross - Scottish National Party

14th April 2012

Photograph of Council Elections - Wick - Gail Ross - Scottish National Party

Last April I was given a wonderful opportunity to represent the town of my birth in The Highland Council and I grabbed it with both hands. Now the time has come again to ask the people of Wick to let me continue that representation and put their trust in me once again on May third.

I believe that a Councillor should be visible, accessible and approachable and I feel that these three words sum up what my last year has been all about. People know that they can come to me with any problem, large or small, any opinion and I will listen, any advice or constructive criticism and I will take it. People approach me in the street, when I am out walking, shopping or socialising and they know I will always give them time to talk.

I have always stood up for Wick and Caithness in the chamber in Inverness and I feel I have been a great ambassador for the town. Whether it's ensuring the residents of Pulteneytown are not affected by the CHaP debacle, to ensuring the completion of the John O'Groats fire Station and backing the re-aligment of the Berridale Braes, I will always fight for a better deal for Wick. We have such a huge wealth of skills, talent and knowledge here in the far north and we have great opportunities coming our way. Exploitation of these is essential if we want to move forward and boost our economy.

If elected I will continue to work closely with and scrutinise the work of council officials to ensure Wick has the best education system in Scotland come 2015. We have been given the promise of three new schools in the town. This has to be a success; we owe it to our children and our community to make these the best schools in the country.
I instigated the reconvening of the Wick Harbourfest Committee, of which I am now chair. If I am re-elected I will continue to work closely with the committee to deliver an event Wick and Caithness can be proud of in June. The success of the last two events can be built on and we hope to make this year's the biggest and best yet.

I am currently working with Wick Harbour Authority to help them implement their ambitious multi-million pound plan to redevelop Wick Harbour. Wick has the chance to really put itself on the map in the next few years and I want to ensure that we have all the necessary foundations in place to make this happen.

I am currently beginning work with local parents and residents to facilitate a community group to rejuvenate the Hillhead Play Area. This has the potential to be one of the best play areas in the county and I will do everything I can to help make this happen.

I have the added bonus of being part of an extremely hard working group within the SNP in The Highland Council and we work closely with our counterparts in Government in Edinburgh to ensure smooth implementation of policy locally and nationally. This partnership was demonstrated recently when I delivered a petition against the changes to Dunbar hospital directly to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood and cannot be underestimated.

The SNP have published a strong, forward thinking manifesto that promises to return decision making powers to Caithness, where they belong. We are the only party to use the phrase "local decision making" and really mean it. If we are in administration in the next term, local people will be able to see decisions on many issued being resolved here, by the people that know what's best for the area; people living locally.

We have pledged to give every council employee a living wage of 7.20 per hour, we will uphold the Scottish Government's council tax freeze, saving already hard up households hundreds of pounds every year. We will put in place preventative spend measures for our roads to ensure the current trend of neglect is halted and reversed. We will re-structure the council's strategic committees and management structures to improve decision making, efficiency and cut costs.

The SNP has already forced the current administration to exempt free community events from the unfair entertainment licensing fees and we will continue this exemption.

There are so many things I as an individual and the SNP as a group still need to do to continue to make Wick a fairer, better and more pleasant place to live, work and play. A vote for me on May third will give me the chance to continue what I began last year. Let's make Wick Work Weil!

Thank you.

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