Quit or else, councillor told
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THREATS have been made to a community councillor to stand down or face the consequences.
Sandy Devidge went ahead and successfully sought re-election as chairman of Ardersier and Petty Community Council this week, despite the anonymous letter threatening to expose alleged illegal activities, claims he insists are nonsense.
"It is just terrible and that’s all I can say, all the people who have heard about it think it’s disgusting," he said.
Police have been informed of the incident and recorded it, but no investigation is under way.
Mr Devidge, who lives in Stuart Street and suffers from the chronic fatigue disorder myalgic encephalopathy, has led the community council for four years.
He does not know why he has been targeted but the village was split earlier this year by a row over the future of the Old School Hall.
The community council supported a bid by the Ardersier Development Company to take over the premises. However, Highland Council eventually sold it for £1 to the rival Ardersier War Memorial Hall Committee, which pledged to try and bring the two sides together.
Culloden and Ardersier councillor Glynis Sinclair believes divisions remain and branded the latest development as a cowardly character assassination.
"There is something going on in the village and I can’t put my hand on it, but it isn’t right," she said. "The threatening letter basically said that he should resign as chairman of the community council or else.
"Part of the threat was that if he showed the letter to anyone it would have consequences.
"We are all supposed to be civilised but this is pathetic and you see these things happening on the television.
"You would understand this if we were in New York or Milan but it’s a community council in Ardersier, for God’s sake."
It is not an isolated incident. A campaign was launched on Facebook urging people not to vote for Mr Devidge at the community council elections last month, but it failed to stop him finishing sixth out of the 17 candidates battling for eight seats.
"A few people don’t like him but these people don’t come to meetings as he’s a good chairman," said vice-chairwoman Patricia Barrett, who received the most votes.
"I don’t know why he got the nasty letter threatening him."
Treasurer Alistair McKay believes the incident will galvanise the community council into pulling together.
"The writer’s feelings got the better of their thinking," he commented.
Highland Council’s Inverness city manager David Haas acknowledged feelings seemed to be running high in Ardersier.
"There are circumstances that occur from time to time where community members do challenge each other and sometimes that can become heated and quite personal," he said.
"It is often because people care about their communities and become very involved and committed."
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