Chair Appointed For Caithness And Sutherland Area Committee
20th August 2012
Councillor Deirdre Mackay who represents the East Sutherland and Edderton Ward has unanimously been elected as Chairman of the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee.
The committee met yesterday (Monday 20 August) for the first time at The Highland Council's Drummuie Offices in Golspie. Councillor Deirdre Mackay was nominated by Thurso Councillor Donnie Mackay and seconded by North West and Central Sutherland member, Councillor Linda Munro.
After taking the chair for the meeting she thanked her fellow councillors for their support and said: "I come from Caithness but live in Sutherland so this post has real meaning to me. Both counties are different in many respects but yet have so much in common. Local democracy was a key issue in the recent election so I am delighted that our Area Committee has been delivered so quickly and that local decision making has returned to Caithness and Sutherland in 12 short weeks.
Speaking after the meeting had ended Councillor Mackay added: "Today we approved capital projects worth over £8.5m and heard how a further £100m of public funding investment is getting ploughed into Caithness for energy sector projects and new schools and offices. We are now in a great position to really drive things forward and focus on what's important, that's the people we represent, and what we can do, through this committee, to improve their lives."
At the full Council on 31 May 2012 members agreed that a Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee be established along with the Inverness City Committee as part of a year-long pilot with a view for paving the way for a further three Area Committees.
Leader of The Highland Council Drew Hendry congratulated Councillor Deirdre Mackay on her new role. He said: "Today the Area Committee, and local democracy returned to Sutherland after five years and I am sure Deirdre will work hard to ensure the new Committee is a success with tangible results. This is a great opportunity to tailor how we do business taking into account local circumstances. As well as the area committee taking on the responsibility and scrutiny for local service delivery and deciding on how delegated budgets are spent, an important priority will be to work with partners to promote tourism and boost the local economy with a focus on making sure people are guaranteed efficient and effective services."
Highland Council has saved a total of over Â£476k and cut carbon emissions through reduced business mileage over the past 4 years. Councillors' total expenses have reduced by 10.1% and the cost of reimbursing employees for mileage has reduced by 15.9%.
The SNP/LibDem/Labour Administration of Highland council today announced that, having listened to the concerns of the public regarding proposals to reduce the primary school week, they have decided to remove the proposal from year 1 (2015/16), to allow further work on the detail and to minimise any impact on schools. Budget Leader, Maxine Smith (Scottish National Party) said: "We are currently considering the responses to our consultation and listening carefully to what people are saying and early feedback suggests there are major concerns regarding the primary school week.
A huge number of responses have been received as part of the phase two Budget Consultation. There were 4 key strands to this phase of the consultation including surveys of the Citizens' Panel, the Highland Communities Panel, ten Focus Groups with hard to reach groups and an online survey as well as general comments which were received.
Highland Council Licensing Committee is voicing its concern that a small number of licensed taxi and PHC operators are failing to take appropriate steps to ensure their vehicles are safe and meet the standards required. This follows three hearings at each of the last two Committee meetings, on 14 October and 11 November, following the receipt of reports from Trading Standards.
Over one hundred delegates will be welcomed to The Highland Council's second Carbon CLEVER Conference on Monday 17 November, in Inverness which this year is titled "Working Together for a Low Carbon Highlands". Highland Council Convener and Conference Chair, Councillor Jimmy Gray said: "The range of speakers and delegates who have signed up to the conference shows real commitment from organisations in Highland to address climate change, and is testament to the vision of Carbon CLEVER.
Building work has begun on a new enterprise and research centre at Inverness Campus. The building will house a new collaboration between two of the region's key strategic organisations.
Members of the public are being invited to an event in Thurso to consider the Main Issues Report for a new Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan (CaSPlan). The first event is in Thurso on 18 November at Caithness Horizons, High Street.
As winter approaches householders are reminded that Garden Waste Collections will cease for a period of 3 months from the end of November. There will be no brown bin collections in December, January or February.
North businesses are being invited by The Highland Council's Procurement team and Business Partners to join them at Mackay's Hotel, Wick on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 November to find out about new opportunities in public sector business. This is a free advice and information event aims to help interested businesses bid for public contracts, whether they have worked with the Council before or never considered public sector contracts.
The construction works to provide a safe cycle route from the Inverness Campus at Beechwood to Inverness city centre are now complete. The completed route forms part of the link from the new Inverness Campus and the recently constructed golden bridge over the A9 in the east, through Raigmore housing estate to Millburn Road, where it continues to the city centre.
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