Provost Struan Mackie, my hopes for 2022:
Updated: Jan 8
Councillor Struan Mackie, Thurso and Northwest Caithness
Highland councillor Struan Mackie says he will continue to support local campaign groups such as Caithness Roads Recovery and Caithness Health Action Team in the year ahead – and hopes the tide can be turned on the "damaging centralisation" that has affected the area.
“One of my favourite parts of being a councillor is speaking to constituents and community groups and helping develop solutions through casework and campaigns,” Councillor Mackie explained.
“Before Covid-19, I regularly hosted surgeries across the Thurso and Northwest Caithness ward in public buildings and village halls.
“As restrictions tightened and many buildings closed to the public, these were replaced by Zoom and telephone calls. Although these interactions were as important as ever, they were not nearly as effective, and I know many people miss real interaction with their elected representatives. I look forward to returning to in-person surgeries in every corner of my ward and restarting an absolutely vital part of engaging with constituents and the communities we are elected to represent.
“I hope to see meaningful progress on some of the major issues affecting the far north, whether these issues sit at Highland Council, Holyrood or Westminster. There is far more that unites us than divides us, and more often than not there is broad political consensus to see these matters addressed – but actions speak louder than words.
“That is why I will continue to support the Caithness Roads Recovery group to repair our crumbling roads, Caithness Health Action Team’s efforts to retain and improve local health provision and the current petition from Rebecca Wymer and the local endometriosis group to complete an emergency review of women’s health services in the area.
“I hope in 2022 we are able to see some positive developments on all these fronts and turn the tide on the damaging centralisation that has plagued our area for far too long.”
Councillor Mackie added: “This year, Her Majesty the Queen will become the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee – a moment for great celebration after a period of great difficulty and loss. It will bring together not only communities across the UK but those from around the world as we recognise her truly unique 70 years of public service.
“Initiatives like the Queen’s Green Canopy will invite individuals, groups and business to ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’, creating a sustainable and fitting legacy that will benefit generations to come, and I look forward to helping our schools and local groups plant as many trees as we can across Caithness in the coming months.”