Note: this article is best read in conjunction with these earlier ones posted this weekend: here, here and here and the more serious students of this matter may wish to read the Highland Council's Director of Finance's report listing five options for Thursday's meeting.
Now, a comment from Colin as he prepares for the debate over the Sandown debt options on Thursday at
“What is clear is that every Nairn Councillor is working collaboratively for the people of the town on this complex and historic issue. Although the Director of Finance has a clear recommendation that we believe is not best for Nairn, we will focus hard on winning the best possible "Option 5" solution for our folk of the Royal Burgh. We hope to persuade as many of our fellow Highland Councillors to vote for the Common Good of Nairn on Thursday. I believe that is their fiduciary duty as Trustees of "our" assets.
I note that there is some questioning of why it has come to a head now. As the Director of Finance makes clear the Highland Council are being steered by Audit
to bring things to an appropriate legal / fiscal settlement. In other words the
Council cannot simply leave the "debt" of £700K+ lying around in the
books long term. Scotland
We all think Option 5 is the best one for us locally. We have to accept that the Director Finance doesn't think so. So we have a big task on to persuade a majority of our Council colleagues to see things our ways on Thursday. Every vote may count at the end of the debate.”
Thanks to Colin for that. The poisoned chalice of Sandown will once again be exhibited in the Highland Council chamber next Thursday and perhaps a few more Nairn residents than usual will be tuning in to the webcast.
Elsewhere in Gurnshire the five options outlined in the report have been exercising minds.
One of our regular correspondents contacted us earlier tonight with his observation that: “Sandown (Common Good) just reads as 'Nairn is f*****' to me no matter what suggestion gets voted in.”
Another of our regular readers has read the Director of Finance’s report and writes to us with the following points:
“I find the vagueness of the references in the Highland Council paper to taking a "pro rata share" of the Sandown lands (in lieu of, or to "pay off" the so-called debt) very worrying. Nowhere is it explained how this pro rata share would be calculated, or what it might translate to on the ground.
There are two very worrying phrases in the paper's references to this: para 2.5.4 "the Common Good Fund loses absolute control over the land...." (how can the Highland Council as Trustee possibly acquiesce in this?); and para 2.5.5 "the Common Good Fund would lose control over potential future uses for any land transferred to the Council".
So does that mean that in today's sluggish market the Highland Council could claim a larger share in terms of acreage because the value of the land is depressed?”
Yet another observer points to comments made by Bill Young, a member of West Community Council back in January of 2012 and reported on the Gurn, he said:
“I think there’s a huge conflict of interest between the Highland Council’s duties as Highland Councillors and their trusteeship of the Common Good Fund and the two are getting hopelessly intermixed and hopelessly conflicted.”
Sandown issues have had a toxicity for some years now. Will the alarm and even outrage that is being felt by some across Nairn this weekend translate once again into a widespread feeling that Nairn is still being given a bad deal by Highland Council? Will the decision to be made on Thursday once again leave a bad taste in the collective community mouth and impact on the reputations of this current batch of elected Highland Council members that represent us, or has the boil finally been lanced and will most people not give a toss this time round?