Cllr Liz MacDonald told the Gurn that Fergus can't make his surgery this week in Nairn as he is being appointed as Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity on Friday morning.
She said:" I shall be standing in for him, and I intend to go and speak to Fergus on Friday afternoon at this office in Inverness, other Nairn Councillors are also invited."
On the topic of the new EU "poor" classifications for Nairn Beach, which Nairn tourism representatives had indicated that they wished to speak to him about, she continued:
"I received a useful briefing from Calum McPhail, Environmental Quality Manager SEPA. The electronic information signs are to better inform the public, so folk know when the water quality is fine for bathing, which will be the majority of the time. The poor water quality notices will just come on, on occasion and it'll be up to individuals to decide or themselves if they wish to swim or not.
The European Directive is now 4 times more difficult to pass than before and Calum is keen to come to speak to stakeholders. He has agree to come to a future ward business meeting. It is important all public agencies, SEPA, Scottish Water, Highland Council, agricultural interests, tourism representatives and community groups take an active part trying to find a positive solution.
SEPA teams already regularly monitor the flow data from the River Nairn, and although I'd asked what practical measures could be taken to improve our status, future levels will be based on this years and the 3 previous years samples, so let's hope for a good dry summer, as heavy rainfall has a detrimental effect on our results. Meanwhile we must do all we can, working together to try to improve our environment, so folk again have confidence in our water quality."