Monday, October 31, 2011

"Relevance of Community Councils"

There was an interesting editorial in the Inverness Courier on Friday – It isn’t online yet which is a bit of a shame but long gone are the days when the Scottish Provincial Press journals in the North would put everything out online almost immediately. The article commenced by referring to the demise of Inverness South and Merkinch community capitals in the Highland Capital. Although Nairnshire East didn’t attract enough candidates in time there was no such problem here in the town itself and Nairn will now have a minimum of 27 community councilors spread over River, West & Suburban. Let’s turn for a moment, however to the content of the Courier’s editorial.

“A common theme emerging from community councillors themselves is that they no longer feel they are taken notice of. They complain that much time and effort is put into gathering local views only for their recommendations to be ignored by decision making bodies such as Highland Council. This is in large part due to the lack of statutory powers granted to community councils and is something that should be addressed by the Scottish Government if it is serious about involving people in the democratic process. While we wait for central government to act, if it ever does, Highland Council could make a difference now by finding new ways of including community councils in the decision making process. After all, these volunteers often provide the truest reflection of community opinion and as such deserve not only to have their views taken seriously but also acted upon”

The sentiment expressed in that article would find much support in Nairn. It is not only the community councils that feel ignored sometimes but the population too. The large number of people willing to put themselves forwards indicates to this observer that a lot of people are fairly p****** off and want to have a voice. They want to do something for the community. This observer would venture a mantra that would perhaps also find an echo with some of the candidates: “The sort of town we want, not what the Highland Council or developers or even the Scottish Government want.”

Once the new make-up of the three community councils is established next month then this observer anticipates some interesting initiatives emerging from within the three councils themselves and through the “(Royal Burgh of) Nairn Community Council Forum.” Interesting times indeed for the existing Highland Councillors and whoever is elected/re-elected to serve another 4 years at Glenurquhart Road. They will soon have a busload of community council activists watching their performance.


growtosow said...

The sort of town we want, not what the Highland Council or developers or even the Scottish Government want.” hear hear on that one, nairn for nairn folk sounds good to me.

Anonymous said...

But if a community council is not democratically elected, why should it have statutory decision making powers? Out of the Highland area, there is only 25 or so community council elections in Nov '11. Most community councils have been appointed.
The question of relevance is a completely different topic of course. But long gone (but still in living memory) are the days of the landed gentry or priveliged few in a position of power in a local community. And that's a good thing. To hand important making decisions to interested unelected amatuers, may lead to bad, biased or even at worst corrupt decisions.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if the community councils are up and running yet?
Generally elections are another two weeks away or so, but for example River community council was returned unopposed.
Question is really over the next two weeks, do we still have valid community councils across Highland area? Or is there a short gap in continuity?

Graisg said...

Not quite sure of how it swings in the interregnum for Suburban and West but if you are a river resident and have an issue just see Tommy when he's out on patrol or any of the other of River's contingent of usual suspects.