Saturday, April 21, 2007

Points of View

(The comments that are made and their replies are often missed due to the need to navigate to the comments for a post. I've cut and pasted the comments so far here.)

Anonymous said...

Steven- I'd be interested in your views on the recent aquisition of Garden House by the council. Is it a decision you would have supported ?-DustJunkie

Steven said...

Good question DustJunkie.

I accept the argument that Garden House is a good investment that will give a better return than how the money was invested already, is a secure asset that will apreciate in value, and is an asset that is now secured in local control.

I don't agree with how NHS Orkney seem to be balancing their books with a fire sale before the end of the financial year, and that it was rushed through without the scrutiny of the full council, or without apparent evidence that the Council secured the best possible price for the buildings.

I think there is a misconception that money has been spent on these buildings, where it could have been spent on a care home. The money has not been spent so much as invested in a way that will provide a return that could help with the ongoing revenue costs of a care home (with the initial investment secured in the value of the buildings, which can be realised in the future if need be), rather than depleting the reserves by a capital investment on a care home that will incur revenue costs. And such revenue costs will be harder to afford if the reserves are depleted and no improved settlement from the Scottish Executive is forthcoming. As the capital for such projects seems to be available from other sources it seems sensible to use the reserves in a way that will provide an ongoing return.

However this latter argument must be explored by the council with no preconceptions. We should question whether the rainy days that our reserves were set by for are here now, and perhaps spend on quality projects or investments that will benefit future generations.

Community owned renewables are clearly things that could be considered.

Anonymous said...

Hello Steven - I'm looking at the "About me" section of your site and I was having a look at the photo of youself. There was an option of "see full size" but the result of clicking on this would suggest that you are only around 14 inches high. Do you think it will be difficult for a man of your small stature to effectively represent the ward ? - Cinnamon Girl

Steven said...

Hi Cinnamon Girl

You have picked up on another side of my Action Man persona

Russell said...

Best wishes on your campaigning and election. I am sure your IT experience will come in useful!Great idea to have a blog.Do you have a RSS feed or have I missed it?

Steven said...

Hi RussellThanks for the comments and good point about the RSS feed. There is an Atom feed, but it isn't obvious when using IE6 as your browser.

The URL of this feed is

Anonymous said...

Steven, you were vocal about the Kirkwall traffic plans last year- what do you think of the latest version of the plans?

Steven said...

Anonymous, good to see you posting again!

Re. the plans, I'd love to see them and be able to offer to comment. It still looks as though Kirkwall is moving towards being built around an ugly bus station rather than a magnificent cathedral. Changes that had been promised to the community council and Town Centre Traders that would have allowed buses to leave the stances in both directions have been ignored and we can expect to see this used as a means of driving a one way system that we neither need nor want.

In this we have been badly let down by the existing councillors, as the consultation was meant to mean something after the shabby way the proposals emerged in the first place.

When we discussed this on Radio Orkney, Bob Sclater conceded that the 'Travel Centre' location consultation favoured the existing site but then shrugged and said 'But you know about consulation'! Well the same is happening again, but literally being set in concrete now before we can do something about it. Another aspect is the new taxi rank on West Castle Street, which has come as something of a surprise to the unconsulted residents of the street.

I recommend that you vote for me and I will fight to make sure that such things stop happening.

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