Monday, June 11, 2007


The first cycle of meetings is well under way now, although as yet only half way through. This means that only half the vice chair positions on the main committees have been determined, with Russ Madge vice chair of Social Services and Housing (hereafter SSH), and Rob Crichton vice chair of Development (Dev), in a nail-biting vote-off with Sam Harcus, new boys both.

(You'll note the novelty of writing long committee names has waned already. I'll add a glossary somewhere!)

This starts to address some of the Orkney Today fears as to where the new councillors have gone, after the main committee chairmanships went to veterans. Education, Recreation and Cultural Services (ERCS) is likely to see a 3 way battle of the new councillors, one of whom will be myself. This will be decided on Wednesday 13th, but first there is Transport and Infrastructure (T&I) on the 12th, and Environment, Planning and Protective Services (EPPS) is on Friday 14th. Who is standing for VC on them- I couldn't possibly comment, but it'll no be me, as I'm not on these committees.

The meeting cycle started last week with SSH, and I took part as a spectator in the viewing gallery, which has just enough space for small baying mob. I resolved then always to sit at the sides so I could see who is there, and equally make it hard for my acerbic notes to be read.

First meeting where I was an active partipant took place the next day (Wed 6th), the Information Services sub-committee, where I am now vice chair to Ian Johnstone, proving people from Kirkwall and Stromness can work together. Well at least in theory, it hasn't been tested yet. Interesting meeting, and the developments discussed should see the council providing much more information through the website, more quickly, and with greater assurance it is definitive.

Development followed on Thursday, and included a container hub update. No controversial content in this meeting, but a few recommendations were overturned. Anything that happens here will still have to be ratified by the full council, but it was encouraging to see that a number of us were applying a reasonable amount of scrutiny to all the topics that were being discussed.

On Friday, it was the Land & Property sub committee, and wow, the council have their fingers in a lot of pies. Headline recommendation was not to take on the Kirkwall reservoir, on the basis that it is pure liability as it has to be maintained as a reservoir under the Reservoirs Act, rather than presenting an interesting development opportunity.

It's not just the Council meetings that have been cycling, I've been out on my bike myself, managing a couple of 20 mile runs through the week, and a 36 mile one on Saturday. This is my ridiculously compressed training regime for the annual Edinburgh to St Andrews Bike Ride on Saturday 16th, in which I am participating for the 10th time. I'll buy a tee shirt this time to celebrate.

If you want to sponsor me, send me an email!

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