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PART II: Highland Council candidates for Badenoch and Strathspey say what they stand for

By Scott Maclennan

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The eight candidates were given approximately 250 words by the Strathy to say why they should get your vote.

Pippa Hadley (Scottish Greens)
Pippa Hadley (Scottish Greens)

Pippa Hadley (Scottish Greens)

Five years ago I was elected to represent the people of the strath. It has been a trial by fire, working out what can or can’t be done and learning how to use my voice to best affect change.

I’ve learned a steady voice is an effective one. Shouting often doesn’t produce the greatest impact. Speaking calmly and truthfully creates change in a way that is helpful to the many – not the loudest few.

Living locally, I listen to and care about all views.

I work to translate the diversity of local voices into policy that works for everyone.

As an opposition first-time councillor, I am proud to have achieved two major policy changes: declaring a climate emergency and greening pension investments.

But speaking up for you, the people I live with – working on issues that matter to you – that is where I hope I have made the biggest difference.”

If re-elected then I will work on protecting our people, land and culture with a just transition; connecting our communities with better public transport and delivering affordable and comfortable housing, for example, through short-term let legislation.

Russell Jones (Independent).
Russell Jones (Independent).

Russell Jones (Independent)

I have lived in this area all my life and I don’t believe that we are being well represented at Highland Council by people whose first loyalty is to their political party and not to us.

I don’t feel that ‘Party Politics’ have any place in Local Politics. Highland councillors should be working every day to make things better for the people they represent, not doing the bidding of their political masters in Edinburgh or London.

If elected I will work tirelessly for local people, support local business and endeavour to increase quality employment opportunities.

We must find a way to provide affordable housing for people to buy or rent.

The current situation is a scandal. Young people simply cannot get a house to live and raise a family in and businesses can’t fill vacancies due to a shortage of seasonal accommodation.

I will support our tourism industry and we should encourage regulated tourism and have proper infrastructure in place.

We need viable transport solutions to better connect us which should include the continued dualling of the A9, better local bus services and instead of trying to close our railway stations we should be increasing station opening hours and providing a user friendly train service.

If you decide on May 5th that you want more of the same political games from our councillors then vote for one of the other candidates.

If you want a local councillor who understands what it means to live and work here, whose only loyalty is to local people, who will be accountable, approachable and will listen, then lend me your vote and believe in better for Badenoch and Strathspey.

Bill Lobban (Independent).
Bill Lobban (Independent).

Bill Lobban (Independent)

Electing a local councillor is not about party politics, it’s about choosing someone who will be there to represent local people long after the polls have closed.

The single most important local issue is affordable housing. We are in the middle of a housing crisis – local people have been completely excluded from the market by rocketing prices. We are also unable to attract incoming workers as they can’t afford to live here.

My proposal for a Short Term Let Control Zone will help shift the balance between housing and tourist accommodation and if re-elected I will do everything possible to increase the supply of locally affordable housing.

Kids leave our area because they can’t find a well paid job and an affordable home.

We must invest in our young people, their education and training and give them the skills to live and prosper in their own community.

Communities like ours suffer severely from rural deprivation partly caused by the appalling transport system which is expensive, erratic and does not serve the needs of our community.

I will support the provision of a locally owned, run and managed bus service.

We need increased investment in cleaning our streets, fixing our roads and I will strongly oppose any attempt to reduce winter gritting of our roads and pavements. I am fully behind proposals to provide a new community-run swimming pool and a permanent ice rink as well as other facilities for locals and visitors alike.

Charlie Whelan (Scottish Labour).
Charlie Whelan (Scottish Labour).

Charlie Whelan (Scottish Labour)

The last thing the Highlands needs just now is the same lot running things here as those in Edinburgh. That’s why I’m putting myself forward against the SNP. When I made the Highlands my home more than 20 years ago, Dulnain Bridge, where I live, had a shop, pub and restaurant. Today it has none of these.

The reason is simple, there just aren’t enough full-time residents and virtually no new ‘affordable’ or social houses have been built. As a Highland councillor, housing would be my priority. I would support all reasonable plans for homes that local people can afford.

I would also support the council charging second home owners double council tax in order to help fund new social housing.

As a keen angler I’ve seen over the years the demise of salmon in our River Spey.

This directly affects the number of visitors bringing business to the area. A huge third of the Spey salmon spawning areas have been lost due to the Spey Dam.

Today, of course, no one in their right mind would consider building such an ecologically disastrous dam. I support the demolition of this dam. One foreign millionaire owns the dam and the surrounding 100,000 acres and payment for his electricity generation is guaranteed by the SNP.

This is a scandal I would seek to end.

A few wind turbines could generate enough electricity for the aluminium smelter so there is no excuse for this dam to remain.

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