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You may well be old enough to remember when kids that were a few miles away stayed in dormitories all week to give them access to shools, Mr. B.They don't have to do that at the moment but you never know, that may return. With tunnels and bridges it would be more difficult for that to be enforced upon people because it would be easier for them to get to Brae or Lerwick, wherever, in bad weather. I'm sure that you would agree, it would be good for the kids and their parents for the children to be going to a local shool that teachers that live elsewhere can have access to their job. Without that access, it means that the teachers have to live on the same island. I'm sure that you would agree that would be destructive to their education.

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There's two games at play with Holyrood, firstly, regardless of their protestations and overtures to the contrary, the Scottish establishment do not, never have, and probably never will in the next fe

Ferry service for north isles is a joke today yes it's windy but can't get off north isles to get to slmg final sale of the year I am disappointed to say the least. It's another reason fixed links nee

Yep, and that could be expanded to "Let's empty all the islands around Scotland AND the Highlands, and centralise everyone to the central belt and make Glasgow and Edinburgh contiguous because it'll s

Guest Mr.Brown

Oh yes George I'm definately old enough! But as I recall there were an awful lot of those kids farmed out to any household that would take them & the S.I.C. paid a fee for this. That was as well as 2 fairly large hostels filled to capacity. Those kids were from 3rd year (approx. 14yrs old) upwards & this was in the late 70's. We did however have the option that is still available (for now) of staying at our local & obviously smaller secondary school. It maybe wasn't a great alternative then as subject choice was very limited but at least there was an alternative. Ironically now that the local secondary schools have been vastly improved & get the results to prove it, they are constantly under threat of closure. I know also from friends a bit older than me that some of them went to secondary school in town (the Central school too), from the country areas for all of their secondary education. But again they did have an alternative choice in a local junior high. However our recent councils have demonstrated that they will take every opertunity to close schools & I am certain they are determined to whittle it down to two high schools (Lerwick & Brae), max. You & quite possibly others may think this is totally fine, acceptable even desirable but I will never be convinced it is. The only way the council could repeat that scenario these days is if they built more hostels as "disclosures" or whatever they are called now are legally required for anyone unrelated to look after or care for children under the age of 18. I guess I have strayed a bit from the original thread but fixed links will inevitability have knock on effects & it is a question of how positive they will be on balance. I am still afraid there will be more lost than gained for the islands. I am very interested in reading all the points of view posted but I know that if I chose to live on any island it would be for the fact that it is an island. I actually would love to live on any one of our islands but it wouldn't be practical for my circumstances at present. I think maybe by the time I have the opertunity I will have to choose between Foula or da Skerries. Wouldn't mind that though!

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Well, where to start with this one. Interesting to read all the views here, even if I don't agree with all of them. 

Mr. Brown, as for your query about workers at SVT (and SGP) I can tell you that I work at the gas plant, 12 hour shifts on a 2 weeks on 3 weeks off rota. Due to the ferry timetable I cannot travel back and fore from Whalsay to work so I have to stay in the Moorfield Hotel when on shift. If there was a fixed link in place then it would be a ~20 minute commute for me. There are at least another 7 people from Whalsay in the same boat and I am aware of workers from Unst and Yell who have to do the same. 

I find it interesting when people talk about commuting they always speak about Lerwick. This is neglecting the fact that there are huge numbers of jobs based outwith the town (SVT, SGP, salmon farms, etc). If you drive from Lerwick to the North in the evening you will see probably as many cars coming towards Lerwick than going away from it. 

From a personal perspective, staying out of the isle when on shift is not ideal but it is far preferable to the commute I used to do on the Whalsay ferry, that turned a 9 hour working day into at least a 12 hour one. During the winter the ferry can be going to Vidlin for weeks on end, taking nearly an hour each way. I know for a fact that putting up with this daily hassle is a prime reason for young working folk leaving, especially combined with the high cost. 

 

I am not going to debate the merits of ferries vs tunnels but the sad fact of the matter is the Council cannot afford to continue funding the service we have at the current level, let alone replace the ageing fleet. This is a dire state of affairs which will render all these debates irrelevant if it cannot be sorted out as there will be no communities left to save. We need to get sufficient funding from Holyrood first before we can start seriously considering the future of these vital transport links. 

I would also like to defend the ferry men here, they do a fantastic job for their communities and I do not like to hear sweeping statements attacking their character. I know ferry men who are in favour of fixed links, even if it cost them their jobs, because they think it the best way forward. I also know some of them believe the opposite, possibly citing similar reasons as people here have touched on. 

The outer isles are a vital part of Shetland, both economically and culturally, and it is a disgrace things have been left to get to this stage. 

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I'm a newbie to Shetland, having been here since 2013, but I've learned that many Shetlanders from outside Lerwick/Scalloway seem to believe there is a Lerwick-centric culture within SIC, which if true is very worrying and sad. If the councilors are seriously following that course, then what's to say the Scottish government won't, at some point in the future, turn around and make the same decision about Shetland as a whole? And not just Shetland, but the Western Isles too. And many other remote communities on mainland Scotland. Where could it end? Everyone living in the central belt?*

 

The decision makers at SIC should not only cherish the outer-islands but do everything they can to promote social cohesion within those communities, which includes an improved physical connection (ferries/bridges/tunnels), whichever is the best option for each island, but also improved digital connection via fibre-optic broadband. By future-proofing the outer-isles and remote areas of Mainland, we future-proof Shetland as a whole. I can't understand why successive local administrations couldn't grasp this very obvious issue and deal with it, especially when they have recently been offered assistance by a (Norwegian?) company to provide the finance and build of tunnels. I'm sure fixed links would see an increase in traffic and make the islands' economy stronger.

 

*That's a bit of a piss take, but hopefully you'll get my drift.  :cool:

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I'm a newbie to Shetland, having been here since 2013, but I've learned that many Shetlanders from outside Lerwick/Scalloway seem to believe there is a Lerwick-centric culture within SIC, which if true is very worrying and sad. If the councilors are seriously following that course, then what's to say the Scottish government won't, at some point in the future, turn around and make the same decision about Shetland as a whole? And not just Shetland, but the Western Isles too. And many other remote communities on mainland Scotland. Where could it end? Everyone living in the central belt?*

 

The decision makers at SIC should not only cherish the outer-islands but do everything they can to promote social cohesion within those communities, which includes an improved physical connection (ferries/bridges/tunnels), whichever is the best option for each island, but also improved digital connection via fibre-optic broadband. By future-proofing the outer-isles and remote areas of Mainland, we future-proof Shetland as a whole. I can't understand why successive local administrations couldn't grasp this very obvious issue and deal with it, especially when they have recently been offered assistance by a (Norwegian?) company to provide the finance and build of tunnels. I'm sure fixed links would see an increase in traffic and make the islands' economy stronger.

 

*That's a bit of a piss take, but hopefully you'll get my drift.  :cool:

Your point is no piss take, by attempting to force the SIC to use its reserves to pay for basic services which they should be funding this is exactly what the Scottish Government are doing. Another example is "per pupil" funding models for education. Rural areas will always suffer under such methods. Some would say your scenario is already well underway. 

 

As for the Norwegian offer, yes the offer is there but the SIC would need a ~£20M down payment (for the Whalsay option, could be different for other routes), if we were to take this from our reserves then that would have a huge knock on effect on other services. 

 

Your point about fibre connections is very true, especially in light of the potential satellite centre development in Unst which would require fibre broadband. 

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Guest Mr.Brown

Hi Whalsa & everyone else. Certainly didn't mean to imply that anybody travelling out with the islands would automatically be employed or seek employment in da toon, I brought that up as it had already been touched upon. I am very interested to read your view "W". As I have said before, I think the opinions of island residents are the most relevant in this subject & that they should all get an opportunity to put them forward. I don't claim to know what the majority would be in favour of. It certainly needs to be discussed thoroughly & officially though so that if fixed links go ahead that problems can be prevented as best as possible.

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Its good Orkney finally opened eyes and will give chance for scottish Goverment to take on job operate ferries  save there own isles funds they can   spend on other things, Maybe shetland can take alook at same thing ,even 5 year test see how things work, it seems work ok westcoast scotland,give them chance as at  end day they  have funds ,it looks like Northlink contract next round Goverment operate service them selfs  as  they do in west coast I say welcome to  them,if tunnels are out of picture no other option for isles,

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Whilst my views won't be popular, I will put them forward.  We continue to live a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget.  According to this link:

 

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cost_of_ferry_and_air_servicethe annual cost of running the Papa Stour Ferry Service for the financial year 2016/17 was £360,118.

 

I believe that there are 8 residents on Papa Stour.  The cost of running the ferry is £45,000 per resident per year.  Life in the isles may be idyllic, it's certainly eye-wateringly expensive for the rest of us.  If you want your schools etc. out in the sticks or your fixed links then luxuries like the ferry service for the good folk of Papa Stour, and many other little treats are going to have to go.  The alternative is to kid yourselves otherwise and continue with the status quo.

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Well my views maybe won't be popular either but if we really want to economise then why don't we just all centralise to the town & perhaps Brae & just keep expanding both until they accommodate all of us. That would no doubt be a saving, at least in the long run! My real point is that where do we draw the line at effectively making it impossible for people to live in the area they choose, maybe where they grew up, have family in & possibly have land they work? I don't pretend to know how often the ferry goes back & forward to Papa Stour (I'm sure somebody will enlighten me) but if we are going to talk about them in particular, maybe it is feasible to cut down the timetable & still provide enough access to the mainland. If there are only 8 residents then it surely wouldn't be beyond the capabilities of the S.I.C. to have a meeting with them all to work this out. To the best of my knowledge the residents of this island are not requesting a theatre or leisure centre or the likes, just the basic necessities of limited travel to the mainland & a primary school teacher when there is a child/children resident. As I said where do we draw the line? We all complain about the cost for us to get to mainland Scotland & would gladly see this cut. But the tab has to be picked up somewhere along the line & if the mainlander's took the attitude that we should either pay up or move south then we would not be too impressed!

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......... why don't we just all centralise to the town & perhaps Brae & just keep expanding both until they accommodate all of us. 

Yep, and that could be expanded to "Let's empty all the islands around Scotland AND the Highlands, and centralise everyone to the central belt and make Glasgow and Edinburgh contiguous because it'll save money having everybody in one place"  :P

 

Seriously though, when you look at Unst, all the tourists like to make a beeline for it, to visit Hermaness and see Muckle Flugga. So there needs to be a population there to provide the services that the tourists will need and expect.  Nobody will go there if there are no shops, cafes, and accommodation. That would hit Shetland as a whole. It'll be a disaster to de-populate it.  

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Inter-Island ferry services

 

It’s sad Scottish government don’t include in budget funds for inter-island ferries, as its live line to people in islands, but same time cheaper options must be looked at operate service. and for 15m per year from Scottish office and 7.5m toped up by Sic per year it’s not good value for monies. thus again option Sic must look at is following

 

A put out to tender to professional operator come in with vessels operate service. Cut costs 

B give it to Scottish government to run it,

 

ZetTrans do wonderful job but few in head of    ever been to sea for practical experiences for other transport needs well Shetland is north to south east to west for buses this one hour job arrange bus time table but we have no bus station in lerwick?, aviation well airline operator looks after that, so why we Require  ZetTrans?  just say we have transport advisers?

 

This one saving could be done by SIC yearly. one cannot compare western islands as they never had oil revenues like Orkney Shetlands good days have been when big monies were there SIC don’t think tunnels all this back then for future,good old days when they were investing in south Africa, were oil funds gone left 200m? can anyone see this material how was spent ? this as belonged to people of Shetland. main roads sullomvoe  to lerwick was oil company paid most of it, so it makes wonder why SIC have so much power over this funds, Scottish government no way fools they can see what’s happening, Sic must Pull in belt and not cut small schools but cut their own spending on flights travel adviser departments as end day standard are under question why there really there for, SIC should not operate any service put to tender to save funds in interest of Shetland people  Sic must change minds let private operators on isles let them get on with job,

 

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Listening to Radio Shetland last night what Derek McKay was literally saying is, if Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur will come and bow before me in my office I'll give you ferry funding.

 

Derek McKay has been told for 3 years that the ferries need more funding, he doesn't need Tavish and Liam "to come to my office" to tell him that so what he's doing is simply an egotistical power trip.  He's playing politics.

 

We have hit a new low in our relationship with Edinburgh and as the man said, "it just isn't funny anymore".

 

Tavish was right, the SNP Scottish Government doesn't like Shetland and Orkney because we didn't vote for them.  Sadly, the truth of those words is a lot, lot darker than how it's written on a website or said on a radio.

 

And they're going to continue twisting the financial knife in the hope that we'll surrender and give them control of the ferries and also use up the oil reserves.

 

I saw a comment on the Shetland News Facebook page which also hits the nail on the head "They are starving Councils of funding to bankrupt them and take them over as part of a strategy of centralisation".
 

It's time for the SIC to open talks with London with the aim of Shetland becoming a Crown Dependency.

 

Now.

Edited by Kavi Ugl
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That's politics I'm afraid, because the SNP no longer hold a majority the budget has turned into a negotiation, it'll only get passed with the support of another party. We want more cash to pay for ferries, the SNP want their budget passed.

Looks like the only stumbling block is an assurance that Tavish and Liam will back the budget.

The same horse trading is happening day in and day out in every democracy in the world.

Edited by Capeesh
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The Scottish government need just 3 votes from other parties/independents to pass their budget, in the chamber there are:-

Total seats - 129

SNP - 62

Con - 31

Lab - 22

Green - 6

LibDem - 5

Independents - 2

As was the case in the last budget the Greens have a list of demands to guarantee their support in this budget which will obviously take money away from a very limited and ever decreasing pot.

This system of horse trading and backroom deals is the norm in every parliament in every democracy in the world when other people/parties hold the balance of power.

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