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Who should the voters of the Inverness South ward choose to represent them for the next five years? On Thursday people across the region will head to the polls to elect Highland Councillors. For many people it is a worrying time and the challenges to local government continue to mount amid unprecedented demand on services and budgets. So we asked the candidates to tell us what they want to do if elected, here is what they told us


By Scott Maclennan


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Colin Aitken – Scottish Liberal Democrats
Colin Aitken – Scottish Liberal Democrats

Colin Aitken – Scottish Liberal Democrats

Inverness is a vibrant city, one which I am proud to call my home. I want to help make it a truly sustainable community; with integrated services, better transport links, and opportunities for everyone.

People should be able to live, work, and raise their family here – not feel like they need to move to progress in life. That’s why I want to see us build more high-quality energy efficient homes, with the infrastructure needed to support them.

We need to connect our communities and ensure Inverness can remain the thriving hub of the Highlands. I am passionate about improving public transport links with a more complete bus network and more frequent bus services in and around the city.

We also need to be planning more for the future and investing in local projects here in Inverness South. Investing in a new sports facility and increasing resources for education are something I fully support; it will help bring the community together and support young people’s development.

If you put your trust in me to represent you on May 5, I will be your local champion – someone who is in touch all year round, listens to you and makes sure your voice is heard on Council.

Jimmy Duncan – Alba Party for Independence
Jimmy Duncan – Alba Party for Independence

Jimmy Duncan – Alba Party for Independence

The need for more safe space play areas for our children in Inverness and throughout the Highlands which I think is lacking at the moment. The need for out of school care is another top priority in the Highlands as mums and dads have to try and fit jobs with childcare, with this service the parents can rely on out of school care

Public transport seems to be always overlooked in the rural areas and is very important when we consider the benefits of a much lower carbon footprint of one bus over twenty cars driving to the town every day, the opening of rural railway stations is also something I think should be pursued.

Mobile banking is another important issue, with more banks than ever closing down to help the banks save money, I think this would prove very popular in our rural areas.

Roads are also very important to us in rural areas, in the last few years the condition of roads throughout the Highlands has been deteriorating at an alarming pace, with potholes, and in some places subsidence continuing to go on unabated.

And on a very topical issue at the moment we need to fight for same-sex toilets in our schools, although we should also have mixed-sex toilets for those who feel comfortable with these toilets.

Claire Filer – Scottish Greens
Claire Filer – Scottish Greens

Claire Filer – Scottish Greens

I want to be a Green Councillor for Inverness South because I believe that young people in the Highlands and Islands need to have a voice. For too long the Highland Council has had very little representation from anyone under the age of 30.

As a graduate, finding my feet in the working world I want to make a difference in matters that mean the most to people: affordable, warm and green housing; access to green spaces and efficient and easily available public transport.

Fuel poverty and the cost of living is on everyone's minds and as your councillor I would put this at the forefront of my work.

With one Green Councillor last term, we achieved amazing things.

Pushing the council to declare a climate and ecological emergency; progress limiting the amount of second homes in the area and putting pressure on the council to divest its pension fund from fossil fuel companies. Imagine what we can do with more.

I have experience in politics through working with our Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands. Through this I've learnt a lot about how best to represent people and uplift voices.

Ken Gowans – Scottish National party (SNP)
Ken Gowans – Scottish National party (SNP)

Ken Gowans – Scottish National party (SNP)

It has been a privilege for me to serve as a local Councillor for Inverness South over the last 10 years. Often it has been helping individuals, schools, various other organisations or championing community interests to help make positive change. I have established a proven track record and the respect of the community across the political spectrum. I always put local priorities first!

We need to build communities – not just houses. Faced with the possibility of significant housing developments, infrastructure must keep pace. We need big investments in schools with more capacity, teachers, ASN and PSA provision. A sustainable road program must be implemented and a solution for Inshes Junction are priorities.

My recent motion established the Inverness East Sports Facility Working Group, as Chair, my ambition is to provide a top-class venue that those with any level or ability can enjoy.

More shops, restaurants, doctors and health care related services, the introduction of 20mph speed limits in residential areas to improve safety and environmental quality are also very important.

I live in the heart of the ward with my wife, Michelle, who is a local librarian, and our daughter Breagha who attends Secondary School. I hold a Masters Degree and lecture part-time in Art and Design at UHI Inverness.

I believe the three most important qualities every councillor needs to demonstrate are: Commitment; Collaboration; Compassion.

David Jardine – Scottish Labour Party
David Jardine – Scottish Labour Party

David Jardine – Scottish Labour Party

As a Scottish Labour candidate, my priorities for Inverness South are addressing the cost of living crisis and supporting local people, families and communities.

For 15 years now, Highland Council, like all Scottish Councils, have faced brutal cuts from the SNP Government - many times greater than their own funding cuts from Westminster.

There’s so much to be done, including repairs to our roads and better facilities for schools. As a disabled person, I know first-hand how important our social care service is and I welcome Anas Sarwar’s commitment to introducing a basic wage of £15 an hour for care workers. We need to place a much higher value on the work our care staff do.

So many Council responsibilities like these have been neglected and underfunded for too long. If elected, I will work with other Labour Councillors in Highland and across Scotland to fight for a better deal from Holyrood.

I support Highland Labour plans to create a new Communities Wealth Building Fund for wind, wave, tidal and hydro energy generation. This has been a huge success in the Western Islands and brings over £2 million into the local community every year, making communities more resilient, self-reliant, and sustainable.

Duncan Macpherson – Independent
Duncan Macpherson – Independent

Duncan Macpherson – Independent

I now stand for re-election, having been privileged to represent you as your local councillor for the last five years.

For five years I’ve campaigned to have a community pharmacy for Cradlehall and Westhill, to save elderly and infirm residents from a four-mile round trip just to reach their previous nearest chemist.

I campaigned to get the Tower Road Junction accident black spot improved and Traffic Speed reduced on B9006 Culloden Road from Inshes Overbridge to Culloden Battlefield. Road improvements and additional lay-bys on the B851 Daviot to Culloden Moor and the upgrading of the single track road to Clava Cairns and Culloden Viaduct.

I insisted that CCTV cameras and the Inverness Control Room be upgraded from the old unreliable analogue cameras, to new digital colour cameras, to protect the wellbeing of everyone.

I have worked with Community Policing Teams to deliver safer streets and parks, to curb antisocial behaviour.

I’ve been diligent at getting abandoned cars, vans and caravans removed, when they’ve been left to litter car parks, lay-bys and beauty spots.

Highland Council urgently needs to spend the millions of additional funding it’s received, to repair potholes and resurface the old and crumbling roads.

I have no political agenda, your agenda is my agenda and a vote for me is a vote for you.

Andrew Sinclair – Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Andrew Sinclair – Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Andrew Sinclair – Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Highland Council faces many challenges, so the council elections feel particularly important this year. I am determined to see improvements in the quality of services provided from our council, and ensuring taxpayers money is spent as efficiently as possible on the things that really matter.

Here in Inverness South many of the most important issues for local residents all stem from the area’s rapid growth, and from the Highland Council’s lack of long term planning and joined up thinking.

We need to ensure that crucial infrastructure is in place to support the growth of this thriving part of Inverness. Capacity continues to be a major issue for our schools, and our road network has often struggled with the huge increase in traffic volume.

Roads repairs have been hugely underfunded, leading to a pothole crisis. We urgently need to see more investment in these essential areas.

Throughout the last Council term the Conservatives have led the way in holding the Council administration to account and arguing against any wasteful spending which doesn’t represent value for taxpayers money.

I am committed to fighting for continued improvements in all the areas that matter most and ensuring that the Council delivers what’s desperately needed.

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