Unanimous support tonight in the Community and Arts Centre by NWSCC for their NRCC colleagues as the stushie surrounding Highland Council's order to Nairn River Community Council to go into "abeyance", i.e. to shut down until some time dictated by Glenurquhart Road in the future.
Chair of Nairn West and Suburban, Dick Youngson read out the following statement followed by three motions that were unanimously passed. Several River CC members including Chair Tommy Hogg were sitting on the public benches as Dick spoke. He began:
- I would like to start by expressing my serious concern and disappointment over the sudden and arbitrary "decision" by the Ward Manager to shut down River CC with neither advance notice nor discussion of available options (such as interim elections or quorate continuation till November);
- I note that there is already well founded doubt (expressed in River CC's response) as to whether the Ward Manager had a proper and legitimate basis for her actions;
- I would also point out that the same prospect could face NW&SCC for different reasons - not perhaps over membership numbers, but for example on grounds of admin/accounting issues;
- I put on record my anxiety that this appears to be a continuation of the campaign of hostility and criticism levelled at both CCs by elected Councillors and officials in recent months which appears designed to prevent, rather than assist, the CCs to play their role as representatives of the community;
- And I have to say that this is completely at odds with the tone and messages emerging from recent meetings, one with the HC CEO and another on the Common Good, which have sought to build a new atmosphere of collaboration and support;
- I say that silencing or closing CCs - instead of offering constructive guidance and advice to enable them to function more effectively - sends entirely the wrong message to the people of Nairn (they must wonder what on Earth is going on) about the Council's approach to dialogue on local issues
This action, if implemented, would leave almost half of the town's population unrepresented, disenfranchised, and with no mechanism for raising and discussing policy proposals, planning applications, or other subjects of local interest;
- I must warn that devoting time at CC meetings to procedural arguments, debates over the wording of minutes, and internal wrangling, is an unwelcome diversion from sensible consideration of the many important matters which are of concern to local people - whether that is parking policy, budgetary and cutting services, planning and development issues, common good management, or other current problems.
- For all these reasons, I and colleagues in the Nairn West and Suburban CC believe it is a priority to take a clear stand and put our views publicly and formally on record.
I would like then to propose the following motions
- Nairn West and Suburban CC firmly support Nairn River CC being enabled to continue fulfilling its essential role
- Nairn West and Suburban CC will continue to work with Highland Council and all other interested groups to explore how best Community Empowerment can be used to deliver a prosperous and inclusive new future for Nairnshire and all its people.
- Nairn West and Suburban CC asks for an urgent review of the decision to put Nairn River CC into abeyance
Ccllr Linda Bisset asked for working with Highland Councillors too to be included in the motions, presumably this will be included in item 2. Lots more at the NSWCC meeting tonight which if time permits we will post later this week.