Election candidates reveal their top priorities

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With less than a week before the Scottish local government elections on Thursday May 5, we asked the candidates standing in the South Kintyre and Kintyre and the Islands wards what their top three priorities will be if they are elected.

South Kintyre – ward one

John Armour (Scottish National Party)
John Armour.
John Armour.

1. The SNP council group proposed an extra £4 million for the council roads at the budget in February; this was rejected by the Conservative-dominated administration. It also rejected our proposal for an environment warden for this area. SNP councillors will fight for extra funding for the roads network and ensure that decisions on how it is spent are made locally.

2. We need a council which is closer to the communities it serves and, in particular, where local decisions are made locally, by an area committee.

3. My main priority is my constituents and I will continue to fight for them with any issues that they contact me about and ensure that I continue to do everything to resolve these issues satisfactorily.

Rory Colville (Scottish Liberal Democrats)
Rory Colville.
Rory Colville.

Number one priority must be to grasp the economic challenges coming forward, while at the same time protecting the vulnerable in our community from financial harm.

Even if we cut carbon emission to zero, climate change will still be with us for years; all council decisions must be given a higher priority, ensuring all departments make best use of technological, engineering and nature-based solutions.

If Covid taught us anything, it is that care staff working in all spectrums are having to make impossible decisions, greater scrutiny and resources will be a priority if the national care plan is to succeed.

Donald Kelly (Independent)
Donald Kelly.
Donald Kelly.

1. Infrastructure: continue to lobby for: additional funding for the regeneration of Campbeltown town centre; investment in social housing/encouraging private developers to build in Campbeltown; new primary school; new public toilets; proper traffic management for Campbeltown town centre and housing schemes.

2. Connectivity: continue to push for better travel connections by land, sea and air; I have two petitions still live in the Scottish Parliament for a permanent solution to Rest and Be Thankful and a full-time ferry service.

3. Community: I have supported the community with numerous projects and, if re-elected, will continue to work with the same proactive attitude, giving 110 per cent commitment whilst demonstrating the common sense required to drive South Kintyre forward.

Tommy MacPherson (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Tommy MacPherson.
Tommy MacPherson.

My priorities are to replace the one incumbent; two incompetent; three inept trio of sitting South Kintyre ward councillors who, for a decade, have negated their basic elected duties.

The community’s focus is on their elderly, infirm relatives’ home, respite and hospice care, their children’s schooling, their roads and paths, their bins, their green spaces and that their streets are not filthy with dog fouling.

I will give South Kintyre that strong, new, clear voice that has been lacking in our community.

Only a number one vote for me, on May 5, will get the focus back on local issues; local priorities.

Kintyre and the Islands – ward two

Robin Currie (Scottish Liberal Democrats)
Robin Currie.
Robin Currie.

My first priority, if re-elected, would be to engage with communities throughout the ward so that their priorities become my priorities.

It has been a difficult two years with the pandemic and not being able to meet people face-to-face. By working together, we will get what is required for our area.

Secondly, maintaining and enhancing council services is important even in difficult financial times.

And thirdly, I would lead on us building up a strong economy, assisting the various sectors, maintaining and attracting people, building houses and getting a speedy solution to the Rest and A83.

Jane Kelly (Scottish Labour Party)
Jane Kelly.
Jane Kelly.

My main priorities are education, housing and employment.

John McAlpine (Independent)
John McAlpine.
John McAlpine.

Having consulted with most people on the mainland over the past few weeks, my priorities are to:

1 Provide good quality, affordable housing for young families.

2 Support our fragile fishing industry and those who rely on it.

3 Ensure the current government does not destroy our fish farming industry and the lives of the people working within it.

The current councillors within ward two have ignored the concerns of mainland people and will continue to do so if re-elected.

Islay has seen more than 100 new family homes built in the past five years. This is good; however, unfair.

Now is the time to redress the situation and I am the only person who will ensure we do this.

Dougie McFadzean (Scottish National Party)
Dougie McFadzean.
Dougie McFadzean.

If I am fortunate enough to be elected as your councillor I will:

1. Prioritise your needs, thoughts and ideas, ensuring that your voices are heard and considered within the Argyll and Bute Council decision-making process. I will ensure Kintyre and the Islands punches above its weight.

2. Grasp every opportunity to increase the availability of quality, affordable housing. Young people, families and essential workers really struggle to find a home and I will do my best to improve this situation.

3. Promote and empower the voluntary sector to work alongside our existing health and social care team to improve health and wellbeing.

Alec McNeilly (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Alec McNeilly.
Alec McNeilly.

All local government services are priorities. Vital lifelines for our communities and our most vulnerable. £100 million has been taken out of Argyll and Bute’s budget over the last decade, a total disgrace and a savage attack on our communities.

Building back from the pandemic, we must continue to fight for stronger investment in local government.

My three choices for the ward:

1. Our lifeline ferries and the need for high quality roads to support our whisky industry.

2. High quality housing development to retain our population.

3. High speed broadband connections to attract new business.

Alastair Redman (Independent)
Alastair Redman.
Alastair Redman.

1. Housing: Fight hard for more affordable housing for locals to both rent and buy.

2. Education: Stand strong against plans to dramatically reduce the number of our headteachers with the proposed ‘school clusters’ programme.

3. Connectivity: Continue to lobby for better ferries with more sailings to our islands and campaign for a long-term solution to the A83; work hard to get more investment in our local roads and pavements including tackling flooding issues; work with Royal Mail’s central management in order to get recent local slow deliveries of post back up to speed in many areas; push for action to improve our broadband speeds and mobile phone network coverage in every corner of the Kintyre and the Islands ward.