It must be very difficult for a SIC councillor to make decisions based on advice from their officials’ reports, as it appears they might never know which face some SIC officials will be wearing from day to day.
During the past two decades, SIC officialdom appear to have tried to convince us that building and running ferry services is cheaper than building and running fixed links, however not all of us were convinced.
The last inter Island ferries upgrade in Shetland was in Yell Sound, SIC figures show it cost nearly twice the officials pre-construction estimate to build and ended up being a third more expensive to build than the Norwegians estimate for the construction of a tunnel.
During the past two decades SIC officials have advised the councillors, to favour the construction of a similar ferry service upgrade for the Whalsay routes, including one or two new bigger ferries; thus increasing the running costs and carbon output.
A report also included a proposal to reduce the runs from 18 a day down to 8, which I assume would only require one ferry on the route, which with a larger ferry would still appear to increase the present carbon footprint and running costs.
While the officials have advised against 3 offers, including funding and a Quote, for the construction of a fixed link to Whalsay which would have allowed unrestricted access to and from the Isle 24/7.
Perhaps if a duty of honesty was included in the Code of Conduct for SIC employees, the minority who appear to tarnish the reputation of the whole SIC, may be forced to produce more credible reports.
SIC documents, some of which procured from consultants outwith the SIC; appear to show that the proposed tunnel would reduce the SIC annual ferries running costs and carbon footprint, showing the tunnel could be run at roughly a tenth of the cost of running the proposed larger ferries on the Whalsay route.
Now some officials appear to be advising in a report, www.shetland.gov.uk/documents/KeyCarbonReductionActions2020.pdf to reduce Shetland’s carbon output, with one of the proposals being believe it or not, the construction of fixed links.
If you were a Councillor which report would you believe?
These are my personal observations and have not been shared with other members of the Whalsay Community Council.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 400 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News