ARTICLE: Communities Need Action Now

I often write about supporting families worried about the cost-of-living crisis in these articles. I do so because these issues matter in a big way to local households.

That sometimes means other vital issues don’t make this column but are very important to local residents. One such issue is the poor bus service across the city and the wider area.

Let me be clear: people should have regular and reliable public transport – anything less is unacceptable.

Without drivers, Stagecoach is struggling to keep services moving.

It is frustrating for you and for them.

As much as we understand they cannot fix the national recruitment issue, we can ask for better. That includes communicating effectively with residents about delays and service disruptions.

To ease the situation, we also need to improve traffic flow to help services connect more efficiently. That’s why the city needs an urgent agreement reached on the Raigmore Bus Gate and key infrastructure projects.

Another issue coming up when I speak with local families is the frustrations over local parks.

Having a safe place for our children to play in – especially as parents face a cost-of-living crisis – should be a priority for us all.

Again, we get it; there is no easy solution.

Every community has its own case, and the Council doesn’t have the money to do it all.

There might not be an easy answer, but there will be an imperfect one if we preserve together and cut some of the red tape.

We cannot commit seriously to delivering an aspirational vision for the future and not commit to helping fix the issues blighting the city today.

None of us has a magic wand, but we can work together to find innovative ways to improve our amenities and services.

We need to be ambitious about the future of our city, and the plans for the future are exciting. To succeed, however, we need to listen to communities now.

Our passion to deliver a modern green transport system in the future must be equalled by our passion to ensure today’s transport links get folk to and from their jobs and appointments on time.

Our commitment to build a family-friendly city for the future should be matched by our commitment to ensuring a safe place for your kids to play today.

It is, after all, the very least our communities should expect.