Convenor stands down to avoid becoming “scunnered”

After three years at the helm, Nick Walker stood down as convenor of the Royal Burgh of Wigtown and District Community Council at Monday night’s annual general meeting.

In his report of the year past, the retiring convenor said he was happy to step down to avoid the perils of becoming “scunnered in office” for too long.

He said: “Community councils have a long heritage of long-serving members and office-bearers; this brings obvious benefits of continuity and consistency, but also risks exhausting the incumbents, failing to share out CC task amongst the membership and missing out on innovation from new people taking the lead for a spell.”

Nick said the community council had struggled on some issues including attracting youth representatives, meaningful engagement with some local authority departments, particularly education, specifically the lack of information on the effect of budget changes locally.

But he added there had been other excellent experiences with the council including presentations on community safety and kerbside recycling. He hoped that community councils would soon have a direct voice at area committee level again so communities could air relevant issues in a democratic way.

Over the past year, Wigtown had seen the unveiling of the Martyrs’ Stake information monolith and a working party was set up ahead of the centennial commemoration in 2018 of Louis McGuffie’s Victoria Cross award. Broadband and the electricity infrastructure were improved and Matt Kitson took over the community council website and launched the CC’s Facebook page.

Both the summer Community Festival and the Christmas events were ahead despite threats of cancellation to both and, looking forward, the Wigtown Riding of the Marches was about to take to the highways and byways again after 54 years.

The community council met outside the town twice - once at Whauphill and once at Kirkinner, but Kirkinner Community Association is winding up due to lack of local participation. On the other hand Whauphill Community Association continues to go from strength to strength.

There had been various changes in personnel on the community council, but, in particular, Nick highlighted the contribution made by Betty McGowan who retired after two decades service to the community council. He also thanked June Robinson for her sterling work as minute secretary as she was standing down as well that evening.

The new convenor is Matt Kitson, who was previously the community council secretary. The secretary’s role will now be filled by Jak Kane.