FIOS COLUMN – 2 FEBRUARY 2016
We extend a welcome to Iain Mackenzie, who has taken up post as Amenity Site supervisor. Iain covered for a short period during 2015 and we are delighted to have been in a position to select and appoint him to the role, beyond the initial contract.
Much work has been undertaken in recent months to select and renew a sporting lease on the south end of the estate. An agent has been provided with a lease and this is in a bid to improve the habitat on the estate and also to provide an income for further environmental works. This decision was given much consideration and statistics have been gathered over several years to assess the demand for day permits. This option was the best way forward in the medium term. An area has been set aside for day permits and anyone wishing to find out more about shooting permissions should contact the office. No one is permitted to shoot on the estate without the appropriate checks being carried out by office staff and upon production of relevant documentation. All shooters on the day permit area are provided with a permission agreement and must carry this with them. If you would like to find out more, get in touch.
The rabbit situation has been one that has held court for a number of months now and recently some work has been carried out to assess the options open to the Urras and Grazings committees and how they can work together to tackle this issue. It is hoped a meeting can be called in the next couple of weeks to discuss the plans further and try to ensure a long term plan can be implemented. It is recognised by all that the problem is not going to take care of itself and commitment will be required by all parties to support any plan adopted.
We were deeply saddened to hear about the death of Simon Fraser. There are numerous community landowners and organisations that are indebted to him for his advice and guidance over many years. He provided great support to Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn during the community buy-out process and the trustees are privileged to have worked with him. Since then, he continued to assist in many ways, initially as Interim Factor, then in ensuring a successful transition of the factoring duties to the Urras itself and responding to the many queries that arose along the way. More recently, Simon was a director of our subsidiary Galson Energy Ltd. and provided invaluable advice and reassurance during the critical latter stages of the wind energy development and the associated community share offer.
Simon was always helpful, courteous and could relate closely to the challenges faced by community organisations, often opening up new avenues or models to achieve the necessary progress through his extensive knowledge of crofting and company law. The last communication received from Simon was in late September in response to the news that Galson Energy had secured the necessary loan finance for the wind energy development and, making contact from Raigmore Hospital, he was as upbeat and supportive as ever.
We wish to convey our deepest condolences to his family at this sad time.