The closure of Scatsta Airport and the Moorfield Hotel will be a devastating loss of employment and income for the constituencies of the chairs of the development and ports and harbours committees; they will now be seeing first hand how devastating the loss of jobs and industry can be for their local communities.
We in Whalsay know only too well how devastating the loss of jobs and industry can be; the closure of the Whalsay fish factory which once employed over 100 people was a hard blow for the community to take.
Many of the older workers then retired rather than seek employment on the Shetland mainland, some of the younger generation took alternative employment with the SIC and others sought employment on the Shetland mainland with some eventually moving out of Whalsay rather than face commuting on the ferry and the substantial weekly costs that involved.
When an international fish processor recently requested to build fish factories in the Whalsay harbour, which could have created a revenue stream to the SIC of over £1 million per annum, SIC officialdom appeared to work against the construction of this project in our island, as various alternative sites in Shetland were proposed for the development but Whalsay was still the Norwegian developers preferred choice.
The project was finally dismissed after the director of development presented his infamous report to the councillors containing controversial claims including the SIC cost estimate for the required new breakwater increasing from £16 million to an unsubstantiated £20 to £40 million in only a few years.
He neglected to mention in his report that the proposed harbour development being for fisheries, was eligible for grant funding of from 40 to 60 per cent and could have included a new ferry terminal for a reasonable additional cost, had the ferries department not dismissed those ferry terminal proposals earlier.
Yes, it’s not nice seeing job losses in your constituency but it can be even worse, if you find that some within the SIC appear to be working against the economy and development of industry in your community.
These are my personal observations and have not been submitted for the approval of the Whalsay Community Council.