Letter: Puzzled by the Actions of OIC

Dear Orkney News,

envelopeI am puzzled.  OIC have bought three, small, unspoilt islands, and plan to proceed to despoil them by building wind turbines to produce energy, when Orkney has as much wind-powered energy as we need, and more, which is why some of it may be exported via the sub-sea cable.  Yes, this would mean that the wind farms would be away from people, which is a good thing, and also,  could mean that OIC, and Orkney, could obtain revenue from the wind farms on these islands, eventually.  But, meanwhile, services which are needed NOW, such as wardens for sheltered accommodation for old folk, learning facilities for special needs children, concessionary travel, and a number of other projects which benefit the most vulnerable in our society, are being cut, by the Council, because, they say, the money is not there to support them.

Much is made of the fact that the Stewart Endowment Trust intend to plough some of the proceeds from the sale, back into Orkney.  This is very good of them, but  has nothing to do with OIC.  Presumably,  if Donald Trump had bought the islands, the Stewart Endowment Trust would have used the proceeds in the same way.

The aim of OIC, appears to be to make money for OIC.  A Council, is not a business venture, it is a public body – there to benefit the people of the area it serves.  If that includes making money to be spent for the benefit of those people, yes, a good idea, but, when necessary services are cut, whilst money is spent on ventures which may, or may not, produce money, sometime in the future – that does not compute.

So, I’m puzzled, and also wondering how and why this Council continues to be in control.  And, however wrong this waste of funds may be, I have a feeling that, if the Council want to go ahead with it, they will – that’s  what they do, mostly.  How do they repeatedly get away with it?  That’s another thing which puzzles me.  I am repeatedly puzzled by the actions of OIC, and also, angered. Are you?  Who will you vote for, next time round?

Yours, Bernie Bell, Orkney

4 replies »

  1. The answer is rather simple. The islands have been bought with capital. Capital cannot be spent on services, such as you describe. The capital spent will produce income, which can be spent on those services. Our council is therefore taking a forward step towards increasing the services it can provide. Also, the energy produced will go towards the tipping point for the new export cable to be installed, enabling more of our renewable energy to be exported. This will increase income. Additionally, it will attract further investment in renewable energy projects (wave and tidal) into the county, providing many jobs. Whether or not these uninhabited islands are where we want turbines from an environmental point of view is another question, but I have no doubt that this is a progressive idea and I welcome it. I’ve often maintained that the so-called “oil fund” would be best put to use in providing renewable energy.

    • As Andy Mitchell states the islands were purchased with capital but what can’t be ignored is the fact that the council has used capital to embark on a business venture and like any business venture it either be a success or a failure so therefore the purchase is in part a gamble using public money. This purchase seems to have taken place without due consultation other than a decision to purchase taken by three people. The islands are a SSSI and as such will attract a great deal of scrutiny by variois groups and organisations all of which could potentially scupper any developement. What steps if any did the person’s who committed the purchase take to ensure that a wind farm on the islands be granted. The council already owns the island of Enyhallow which they purchased for £90,000 and yet have yet to do anything constructive with it, why do they not install a wind farm on an island they already own. The purchase of Holm of Faray and Red Holm will require a great deal money thrown at it for it ever to generate an income. A number of expensive studies and consultations will be required owing to it’s SSSI status. Let’s not forget the money wasted by the OIC on studies etc to solve the wave problems at the barriers and to date no real solution.

  2. Err…quite a bit of what you say, is what I said, re. the benefits of OIC making money, to be spent on behalf of the people of Orkney. So, we’re mostly in agreement.
    One thing, re. the different ‘pots’ of money, and how and what they should be/could be used for…………..
    For some years, we were saving up to buy a multi-fuel stove, had a particular ‘pot’ of money which was meant to be for the stove. But, other things kept turning up which gobbled up the money – things which were needed more, at the time – the car would conk out, the washing machine would conk out etc etc. So, we used the money we had, for what was needed, there and then, with plans for a stove in the future, when the money would be available for that purpose. We did get a stove, eventually, and a good thing it is, too.

    Money for those services is needed NOW. I understand the idea of different ‘pots’ of money, for different things, but I also see where there is need, and that there is money in the kitty, so, I don’t see the point in being so strict about adhering to the labels for what that money is meant to be for. That’s just my way – I’m not a politician, or a financier, but I have found that it’s meant that I can manage my resources (at times, very limited resources), to provide what’s needed, when it’s needed, and still think to the future, for what might be needed then. This approach can mean that a person, or organization, can manage limited resources, to best effect.
    “A bird in the hand, is worth two, in the bush”.

  3. Hello again. My first reply was to Andy Mitchell, and this one is to Richard…………..I’m in agreement with you, but I hope that OIC don’t try too hard to find a ‘use’ for Eynhallow. It’s a place of wonder, and, to my mind, serves a purpose by just being….what it is! But I am, by nature, inclined to the romantic and mysterious.

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