Seven candidates chasing your vote on May 4

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Islanders go to the polls on May 4 to choose their next councillors.

Seven candidates are chasing three seats to represent Rothesay.

To help you make up your mind, we profile the people chasing your votes.

Jim Findlay (SNP):

Jim came as a weekender to Bute in 2010 and now lives in Port Bannatyne. Prior to that, he was a product specialist manager for personal protective equipment for a global textile company, providing him with significant business experience.

After graduating from Strathclyde University in 1978, from an early stage in his career he enjoyed roles where relationship building was important, whether these were internal relationships on projects, external relationships with customers, industry bodies or European standards committees.

These strategic skills were utilised for the benefit of the community of Bute in the work done by teamBute last year regarding the retention of the Thomson Court Dementia Day Care service.

Realising that community involvement and the further utilisation of his experience and knowledge from over 35 years in industry can contribute to making Bute a healthy and successful community, Jim decided to stand for Argyll and Bute Council.

Further local commitment sees him as a director of Bute Berthing Co, and a board member of Argyll College, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Jim takes a very positive outlook into his commitment as a councillor, with a policy of transparency and accountability on all issues his guiding mantra.

He says: “I am proud to stand as an SNP candidate to bring change and raise the performance of Argyll and Bute Council administration.”

Robert Macintyre (SNP):

Robert has represented the island of Bute since 1995. During those 22 years the welfare of Bute has been his top priority – he says it has been a tough fight to ensure Bute gets its fair share of the council budget.

Robert was the deputy leader of the council from 2007 until 2010.

In the most recent administration he chaired Bute and Cowal Area Committee until he resigned from the majority group, because of its failure to support the continuation of the Thomson Court Day Care Centre.

He said: “Thankfully the concerted opposition to this misguided proposal was revised by the people of this island. However, much work to safeguard the island remains. There will be struggles ahead and it will need a strong voice which puts Bute first to represent this island.”

A dairy farmer all his working life, Robert has represented Arran, Bute and Kintyre dairy farms for seven years as a Scottish Milk director.

Jean Moffat 

Jean initially joined the civil service but moved on to become a computer programmer.

She moved to Bute 23 years ago, having lived in England, Ireland and Austria. She worked for TSC and then the tearoom on Craigmore pier.

She is on the committee of Craigmore Bowling Club, Ballianlay Rural, Bute Communications and Engagement Group and is a community councillor.

Jean is also a trustee of Isle of Bute Trust which, with help from For Bute and the work by Bute Blacksmiths, erected the ambulance shelter on the pier, sorted out 24-hour showering and toilet facilities for visiting yachtsmen and produces a What’s On monthly calendar.

Len Scoullar 

Len has been an independent councillor for 18 years.

He said: “When you elected me in 2012, I promised to continue progress on the Pavilion as it will be important for jobs and community use, Rothesay Townscape Heritage and have continued my support for Bute Advice Centre, because of its ongoing efforts for our residents.

“I have been in discussions to find a Thomson Court solution which is acceptable to staff and users. In conjunction with council leader Dick Walsh, I contacted Health Minister Shona Robison making the case for retention and met with a senior trade union official on behalf of the staff. I was delighted at the outcome.”

Len is now fighting for the Heritage Funding phase two and continues to fight for grass-cutting and promenade maintenance, also Ardencraig Gardens and Mount Stuart Trust regarding community involvement.

He worked to ensure that Rothesay Harbour has a proper survey carried out and any works needed will be speedily done, and that the repairs to Rothesay Leisure Centre roof will soon be started.

Peter Wallace 

Peter was born in Edinburgh and moved to Bute as a young child. He has remained in the community for most of his life apart from a brief spell while studying for his BA (Hons) in business management at the University of Paisley.

Peter runs a floor covering business on the island where he lives with his wife and three children. He is chairman of the Rothesay Joint Campus Parent Council and is actively involved in his local church as a Trustee.

He has also served as secretary of Bute Community Council for seven years, and is chairman of Fyne Homes, a registered social landlord, which provides quality affordable housing in Argyll and Bute.

Peter is secretary of Bute Island Radio, where he also presents a Christian music show.

Peter said: ”I have been a member of the Conservative Party for more than 15 years and was actively involved in local campaigning for Holyrood and Westminster elections. I also actively campaigned for Better Together during the Scottish Independence Referendum and pledge to oppose Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a divisive second referendum.”

John McCallum 

Born and bred in Rothesay, John McCallum did all his schooling at Rothesay Academy.

He served for 32 years as a firefighter in Greenock, first with Western Area and then with its successor Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service. He retired, only to spend the next 20 years as warehouse manager with Bute Fabrics.

He has been a member of Bute Community Council since November 2016, seeing it as a suitable vehicle through which he can further his interest in the well-being of the town. He is concerned about the slow progress of works in the town and its declining fabric. He points out that it has taken some three-and-half-years to repair the boundary wall of the castle.

He derides the estimated £12.5 million plus being spent on refurbishing the Pavilion, when a care home is what the town needs. He says that the 100 or so carers going round the town carrying out Care in the Community are the only contacts their clients see. “With no local facility,” he says “People are being shunted to Care Homes in Dunoon and Greenock”, posing difficulties for their loved ones, not least in stormy weather. “You cannot move old people around.”

He suggests that the abandoned and increasingly derelict Academy building could be converted into a care home, although there are difficulties with it being a listed building.

He would prefer the £6 million about to be spent on new slipways and parking areas at Rhubodach-Colintraive ferry terminals be better spent on a causeway across the Kyles, with a lifting section in the centre to let the Waverley pass.

He does not agree with Bute being part of NHS Highland for health purposes or with the political unit of Argyll and Bute. “Our links are more naturally with Inverclyde,” he says.

Fraser Gillies 

Fraser’s main aim is “to secure the very best deal for our island at all times.”

He has been in business in Rothesay for almost 50 years.

Fraser said: ‘‘Many voters have asked me to return to the council and bring a much-needed strong voice for Bute back into Kilmory Castle, fighting for you, your families and for Bute. That is why I am offering my considerable business and voluntary experience.

“Bute has been kind to me and my family. I have lived here all my life. I know the island and its people, their concerns and hopes for the future. You can choose a strong local candidate, who will ensure justice and regeneration for our beautiful island.’’

He said new jobs were the key to reversing the worrying population decline experienced in recent years, and the council must “ensure that our older residents can enjoy a comfortable, safe and cared-for life, with quality support services readily on hand when required.”