Thu 31 Mar, 2022

I’ve known first-hand the challenges many young Orcadians face today, and the Council Chamber at present doesn’t understand their needs. Kristopher Leask

The Orkney Greens have announced their fifth and final candidate, Kristopher Leask, 22, of St Ola, as their candidate in the forthcoming OIC election on 5 May in the Kirkwall West and Orphir Ward.

A young Green candidate, Kristopher attended Glaitness Primary and KGS, before going on to study International Relations at the University of St. Andrews. He has worked at EMEC following his undergraduate studies and is now working with Scottish Green MSP Ariane Burgess while completing a Masters in Renewable Energy Development at Heriot Watt in Stromness.

Kristopher summarised his key priorities for the Ward as affordable housing, sustainable tourism, and investing in communities.

He said: I’m standing because I want to ensure we make the most of the transition to Net-Zero in Orkney, and that we don’t lose sight of the problems faced by people in Kirkwall West & Orphir. Tackling the crisis in housing is a top priority; Orcadians, especially young Orcadians, are facing a crisis in housing which is inaccessible, too expensive, and often poor quality. Cruise ship tourism, and tourism more broadly, also needs to be managed much more strategically to ensure tourism benefits communities instead of a ‘growth for growths sake’ approach like OIC have pursued. OIC must also become much more open and accountable, and I believe that a fresh approach to local governance is exactly what I can bring.”

The Orkney Greens are determined to break the culture and mould of the current suite of Councillors within OIC. Three of their Green candidates are in their twenties, and two out of five are female.

He continued “I’ve known first-hand the challenges many young Orcadians face today, and the Council Chamber at present doesn’t understand their needs. This has to change, and quickly, if we’re to move Orkney into the low-carbon era. Young people face starkly different challenges today than in the past, with a cost-of-living crisis fuelled by energy and house prices, and an increasingly internationally connected world with all its accompanying threats. I’d be grateful for voter support to push these changes through and bring sorely needed new perspectives to OIC.”

Orkney Greens Co-Convenor, Councillor Steve Sankey, who is retiring at the next election has welcomed his Green colleague Kristopher Leask’s intention to stand. He said “Kris is an enthusiastic, young candidate, amazingly experienced and connected, and exactly the sort of person that we should be looking to elect in Orkney to make the Council Chamber more representative of Orkney’s demographic. We urgently need to transform the older, male culture currently making all the key decisions about our sustainable future in Orkney.”

The Orkney Greens will field five candidates in the forthcoming OIC elections on 5 May, and openness and transparency will be one of their key values, along with prioritising rural housing and sustainable development.


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