Staffin Gym’s Sam Crowe and Anna MacDonald.

 

Staffin's oown community gym is shaping up to be a real local assest.

And, next month the local facility, officiallt named Aurora Fitness is set to celebrate its first birthday by preparing to attract even more users.

As well as recruiting more local members the gym is also planning to involve more visitors during the 2017 season.
According to the Staffin Trust lready one in 10 local residents are now card-carrying members at the gym, which  is based upstairs at Staffin Hall. For the coming season it intends to promote its presence more heavily to guests staying at Staffin B&Bs and self-catering properties.

At the request of the Convener, the interim CEO called a special meeting of the Crofting Commission on Friday 9 December 2016. 

The Commissioners present reaffirmed the importance of working together effectively in the final months of their terms.  The Board also discussed the status of the meeting held in Brora in September and how to move forward. 

The Board decided that there was one meeting in Brora which took place in two valid parts, the meeting previously referred to as a special meeting being a continuation of the scheduled Board meeting.  Any consequences from this will be considered at their Board meeting on Wednesday 14 December 2016.

Four new retained firefighters are being recruited in Broadford.

Scotland's Fire and Rescue Service are looking for locals to step forward and join the local station to help save lives.

Members of The Highland Council will be asked to approve a proposed scheme to make workforce reductions at the Council meeting on 15 December.

 The Employee Early Release Scheme (EERS) is designed to make reductions in the council workforce in a way that is affordable and in line with the reductions in funding available for the 2017/18 budget. It is inevitable that a further significant reduction in budgets will require the Council to reduce the size of its workforce.

FIREFIGHTERS attended more than 500 accidental house fires during last year’s festive and New Year celebrations, latest figures show.

They were alerted to a total of 517 such emergencies at homes across Scotland between 7 December and 11 January.

Accidental fires over the winter months can be caused by an increased use of heating and electrical appliances plus higher alcohol consumption during the holiday season.

Meanwhile, the colder weather can also see firefighters attend more traffic collisions on the roads, caused by treacherous driving conditions during ice and flooding.

       

West Highland businesses are being given a helping hand to achieve Investors in Young People Accreditation

The accreditation is part of the wider Scottish Government Youth Employment agenda and helps organisations who are looking to recruit, retain and develop Young People.

Now two organisations, the regional Developing the Young Workforce and Investors in Young People are pushing to encourage more businesses in the West Highlands to achieve this valuable accreditation and reap its many benefits.

The Highlands UK Parliament constituencies are set to undergo changes.  The Boundary Commission for Scotland is consulting on proposals to create three new constituencies.

The new layout has raised fears, including concern over the potential difficulties for MPs servicing larger constituencies.

Plans to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 will result in three new Highland constituencies, known as Argyll, Bute and Lochaber; Inverness and Skye; and Highland North.  No changes are to be made to the boundary of the Western Isles constituency, Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

MV Loch Fyne


With sailings cancelled and local businesses hit, Skye MP Ian Blackford is to meet with Scottish Government Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf to try and thrash out a solution.

Close to 400 sailings were cancelled over the summer on the Mallaig - Armadale route and the subsequent fall in ferry traffic is said to have hit local businessess hard. At Clan Donald Lands Trust alone they have seen a massive 25% fall in coach traffic .

Recently Sleat Transport Forum alerted Mr Blackford that what they see as a "wholly unsuitable" vessel, the MV Loch Fyne, had been seen out on local waters and Calmac have since confirmed that the ship could well be taking over the service route next year.

Mr Blackford said: “Clearly Caledonian MacBrayne have not learned from the fiasco they created last year. Neither have they listened to what they were being told about the havoc wreaked on the tourist industry, where many businesses lost out due to the unreliable ferry service.

The Scottish Government has declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone requiring that all poultry and captive birds must be kept indoors, or otherwise kept separate from wild birds.

This precautionary step has been taken in response to multiple reports of a strain of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 causing high mortality in wild birds in mainland Europe, mostly affecting waterfowl. There have been no cases of this strain detected in the UK.

The Prevention Zone applies to all of Scotland and will remain in place for 30 days. A Zone has also been declared in England.

Within the Zone bird keepers are legally obliged to take all practicable steps to ensure that poultry and other captive birds kept separate from wild birds - in most cases this will be by keeping birds housed.

Highlands & Islands MSP David Stewart has written to the Chief Constable of Police Scotland in relation to the deployment of Wildlife Crime Liaison Officers (WCLO).
 
“I understand that within Police Scotland there are 14 Divisions and each Division has a dedicated  WCLO,” said David Stewart. “However, having just read the Government Annual Report recently released, called ‘Wildlife Crime in Scotland,’ I am concerned that the area with the highest number of recorded wildlife crimes in Scotland is in the Highlands & Islands, (61) followed by Aberdeenshire and Moray, (45),obviously both areas in my region. Perhaps this is understandable when you consider the land mass involved in these areas. This leads me to wonder why the Divisions with the highest number of wildlife crimes have the same number of WCLO’s as those Divisions with the lowest number of such crimes. I would have thought that more resources would be directed to the areas where wildlife crime is more prevalent given that these types of crime are very hard to deal with and detect and the Police have to work particularly closely with their partner agencies.”