THE trust that runs Lomond Hills Regional Park has denied rumours that seven rangers from the Pitcairn Outdoor Centre have lost their jobs, but admitted that job cuts are unavoidable, reports KEVIN QUINN.
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust receives the majority of its income in a five-year services agreement with Fife Council- to run the park and coastal path. From October the trust will also be responsible for Lochore Meadows Country Park and all beaches in the kingdom.
A Fife Coast and Countryside Trust spokesperson blamed further reductions to their council budget on possible job cuts: “We have been notified of further cuts for the next financial year and remaining period of the agreement.
“The majority of our services agreement income is spent on salary costs so regrettably it will be inevitable that the restructuring will include some redundancies.
“No final decision has yet been made by the trust with regards restructuring, however staff and union representatives are actively engaged in discussions.
“We remain committed to delivering the best possible service for residents and visitors to Fife in providing access to high-quality outdoor facilities across the region.”
The spokesperson added that the trust plan to increase their fund-raising efforts in a bid to lessen their reliance on council funding.
Councillor Bill Kay, a former chair of Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, is worried about its future.
He said “While we were aware that any new administration could cut the funding, we expected the five years service agreement would give staff some job security.
“It really does concern me that the council are asking the Trust to take on new burdens and at the same time cutting their funding. One would expect the opposite.
“Their are only 13 Rangers covering the whole of Fife and it would certainly undermine the Trust’s ability to meet their commitments if their numbers were cut.”
Cllr Kay applauded the trust for their work in promoting the park and coastal paths as tourist destinations, reserving particular praise for the work of the ranger service in education projects, conservation schemes and patrolling the vast Lomond Hills Regional Park. He also described the trust as ‘one of the corner-stones of a Greener Fife’.