Local News for Thursday 23rd June 2016
Polls open in Euro Referendum
Forty-seven polling stations manned by 94 polling station staff opened at 7am this morning, so that island voters can have their say in the EU Referendum. In the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar voting area there are 21,259 eligible voters and election staff want all of them to feel confident and able to take part in an important process for the UK. Last month an impartial voting guide was sent to every household, giving information on what to expect on polling day and how to take part. The question on the ballot paper is 'Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?'. Voters will be instructed to put a cross in the box for their preferred outcome - 'Remain a member of the European Union' or 'Leave the European Union'. Polling stations remain open until 10pm today, and voters who have opted to vote by post need to make sure their postal ballot pack is returned by 10pm too. You can hand it in at your polling station if you have forgotten to post it.
Another shellfish warning
The latest area to show signs of shellfish toxins is Loch Erisort in Lewis, with monitoring work on behalf of Food Standards Scotland indicating that shellfish such as mussels, cockles, or razor fish may pose a risk to human health. Notices have been posted at various locations on the shore and commercial shellfish harvesters in these areas have been contacted by the Comhairle. Harvesting will be postponed until algae levels subside. The Comhairle say it is a sensible precaution to avoid eating shellfish from these areas until further notice. The council is monitoring the situation and will remove warning notices when it improves.
Local News for Wednesday 22nd June 2016
Western Isles population – down and out of balance
The Western Isles population has dropped, and the islands’ demographics are weighted towards older people, according to current population estimates. Now Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is to hold a seminar on the decrease in population and demographic imbalance. Estimates put the number of islanders at 27,070 as at 30 June 2015 – a decrease in the overall population of 180 in one year. The decrease in the population is due mainly to the highest levels of negative natural change over the last decade – that is, the number of deaths exceeding the number of births. Cllr Angus Campbell, said: "Net migration is an essential part of counteracting negative natural change. These islands offer a good quality of life but we also need to provide the infrastructure for people to fulfil their aspirations and for that we need good and affordable housing, good services and most importantly; a multi-agency approach”. The Comhairle this week agreed to host a population and migration seminar in the autumn and have invited Islands Minister Humza Yousaf to attend. 0The ambition is to work with the private and community sectors to create a confident Outer Hebrides where young people are highly valued, and where the population is stable and moving towards growth.
Read more: Local News for Wednesday 22nd June 2016