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Nwicker60
22-Aug-12, 08:21
Deirdre welcomes the return of decision-making to the far north

COUNCILLOR Deirdre Mackay who represents the East Sutherland and Edderton Ward has unanimously been elected as Chairman of the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee.
The committee met yesterday (Monday 20 August) for the first time at Highland Council’s Drummuie Offices in Golspie. Councillor Deirdre Mackay was nominated by Thurso Councillor Donnie Mackay and seconded by North West and Central Sutherland member, Councillor Linda Munro.
After taking the chair for the meeting she thanked her fellow councillors for their support and said: “I come from Caithness but live in Sutherland so this post has real meaning to me. Both counties are different in many respects but yet have so much in common. Local democracy was a key issue in the recent election so I am delighted that our area committee has been delivered so quickly and that local decision making has returned to Caithness and Sutherland in 12 short weeks.
Speaking after the meeting had ended Councillor Mackay added: “Today we approved capital projects worth over 8.5m and heard how a further 100m of public funding investment is getting ploughed into Caithness for energy sector projects and new schools and offices. We are now in a great position to really drive things forward and focus on what’s important, that’s the people we represent, and what we can do, through this committee, to improve their lives.”
At the full council on 31 May 2012 members agreed that a Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee be established along with the Inverness City Committee as part of a year-long pilot with a view for paving the way for a further three area committees.
Leader of Highland Council Drew Hendry congratulated Councillor Deirdre Mackay on her new role. He said: “Today the Area Committee, and local democracy returned to Sutherland after five years and I am sure Deirdre will work hard to ensure the new Committee is a success with tangible results. This is a great opportunity to tailor how we do business taking into account local circumstances. As well as the area committee taking on the responsibility and scrutiny for local service delivery and deciding on how delegated budgets are spent, an important priority will be to work with partners to promote tourism and boost the local economy with a focus on making sure people are guaranteed efficient and effective services.”