Local News for Tuesday 5th April 2016

Get ready to vote
With the Scottish Parliament election fast approaching the Comhairle is urging residents to look out for the Electoral Commission's voter information guide, which will be landing on doormats this week. On Thursday 5 May voters in Scotland will go to the polls for the Scottish Parliament election. The Electoral Commission's voter information guide will be delivered to every household in Scotland over the next week. If you want to be able to vote and have your say at the election, the deadline to register is Monday 18 April. Malcom Burr, Returning Officer for Na h-Eileanan an Iar said: "I would encourage everyone in Na H-Eileanan an Iar to look out for the Electoral Commission's voter information guide. It gives you all the information you need to ensure that you can have your say at the Scottish Parliament election on 5 May. If you're not registered to vote, you have until 18 April to apply online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote."

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 5th April 2016

Local News for Monday 4th April 2016

Election Candidates announced
The candidates contesting the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency in the Scottish Parliamentary elections, and parties and candidates contesting as regional representatives for the Highlands and Islands, have both been announced. Nominations closed on Friday and the names and parties were announced by the Western Isles Election Office soon afterwards. For the constituency, the candidates standing are: Alasdair Allan, Scottish National Party; John Cormack, Christian Party ‘Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship’; Ranald Fraser, Scottish Conservative and Unionist; Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour Party and Kenneth Macleod, Scottish Liberal Democrats. For the regional list for the Highlands and Islands, parties contesting the election are: RISE – Respect, Independence, Socialism and Environmentalism; Scottish Christian Party; Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party; Scottish Green Party, Scottish Labour Party; Scottish Liberal Democrats; Scottish National Party; Solidarity – Scotland’s Socialist Movement and the UK Independence Party (UKIP). There is one independent candidate for the region, James Stockan. Polling Day is Thursday May 5th and polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm.

Read more: Local News for Monday 4th April 2016

Local News for Friday 1st April 2016

Hydro shops to close
There’s been more bad news for the town centre and for island jobs, as SSE announced yesterday that its Stornoway and Lochboisdale shops were among the 37 remaining branches to be closed. A total of 119 jobs are being lost nationwide, with up to six believed to be in the Western Isles. Branches at Ullapool and Portree are also closing. SSE said the ‘Hydro’ shops were making a loss, with more shoppers making electrical purchases online. In Stornoway it will mean another empty unit on Cromwell Street. SSE said the decision to close the stores had been ‘difficult’ and that employees will be offered help with redeployment within the company.

Read more: Local News for Friday 1st April 2016

Local News for Thursday 31st March 2016

War Memorial facelift to begin
Work is due to start within weeks on a major renovation for the Lewis War Memorial, thanks to a grant of £132,000 just awarded from the War Memorial Trust's First World War Memorials Programme. Together with £100,000 from the Comhairle's capital allocation, this will allow significant restoration and repair works. Simpson and Brown Conservation Architects were appointed to prepare the pre-contract and tender process, with Flemings Masonry Contractors from Glasgow appointed as the successful contractor. Comhairle Convener and Chair of the Local Remembrance Group, Cllr Norman A MacDonald, said: "The Lewis War Memorial has been one of the most iconic buildings in our islands since it was opened on Friday 24th September 1924. More than two thousand people gathered that day to witness the opening of the Memorial, dedicated to Lewismen and women who had lost their lives fighting for their country. Due to its prominent unsheltered spot on the top of Cnoc-nan-uan, the building has suffered damage to its stonework over the years, due to the Lewis weather. It is very important that we maintain such buildings, which are a constant reminder to us all of the sacrifices made by so many islanders." The works are expected to start in April and will include pointing, stone replacement, replacement of windows and restoration to overhanging turrets and the turret steps. It is envisaged that the work will take most of the summer.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 31st March 2016

Local News for Wednesday 30th March 2016

Emergency communication centres plan
Better communication between emergency co-ordinators and the public is the aim of a new agreement to use Fire Stations as communication hubs during emergencies. Fire stations in the Western Isles will open their doors during power and communication outages, with the Western Isles emergency co-ordinating group using it as a base to provide emergency communications, information to the community, and a location for welfare vehicles. Local Senior Officer for the Western Isles, Billy Wilson, said: “This plan formalises already close working relationships within our communities and it is hoped that this additional tool for response will prove useful in decision-making when faced with challenging situations.” The plan’s been welcomed by SSEPD and other agencies, who will all be involved in future emergencies such as experienced during the storms of winter 2014 to 15.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 30th March 2016