SELKIRK’s Gordon Edgar, after five years in the political wilderness, has been put in charge of Scottish Borders Council’s roads and infrastructure department.
And he has pledged to do all in his power to upgrade the region’s ailing roads system, claiming that, without improvements, the town’s drive to boost tourism and economic development will hit the buffers.
Mr Edgar was commenting yesterday after he was formally appointed to SBC’s executive committee and handed the portfolio, which has a £6million budget in the current year for roads maintenance and repairs.
“It will be a major challenge, but one I am more than ready to take on,” he told The Wee Paper.
The self-employed electrical engineer believes he is well qualified for the job, which carries a salary of £22,000 a year, having been the porfolio holder for technical services with SBC from 2003-2007 when he represented the former town ward of Old Selkirk. He was first elected in 2002 in a by-election occasioned by the death of Tom Henderson.
Having failed to get re-elected in 2007, Mr Edgar stood again this year as an Independent in what is now an extended three-member ward, and was elected at the expense of the SNP’s Kenneth Gunn.
In a new-look council at Newtown, he is one of nine Independents (including two Borders Party representatives) who have combined with the nine SNP and six Lib Dems to form an administration, leaving the Tories, including Selkirkshire’s Michelle Ballantyne, in opposition.
“Since I was last a councillor I think it’s fair to say that our roads system has deteriorated and my first task will be to ensure the network is safe and fit for purpose.
“We need good roads across the region if towns like Selkirk, which increasingly depends on tourism, are to recover and flourish.
“I will be batting for roads, but also for Selkirkshire.”
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