Christmas is a time of reflection and, as I look back, it’s clear that 2016 has been a year of challenges.
However, we have met them head on and worked tirelessly with our partners to make life better for our people and communities.
Improving the way we work has been a key theme and the terrific progress we have made in this area was officially recognised by Audit Scotland and the Accounts Commission in the first half of the year.
I’m very proud of this and we will continue to build on this moving forward.
We also made some great progress on a number of projects that will help transform the lives of people across South Ayrshire.
We are building for the future and want to ensure our young people can take advantage of all the opportunities available to them.
2016 took investment in our schools to £135 million to create the best possible learning environments for our young people.
I am happy to say the refurbishment of Marr College in Troon is almost complete and the new Ayr Academy at Craigie is progressing well and on target for completion in the autumn of 2017.
Construction work also moved on in Girvan on the Quay Zone, the new community leisure centre which will open its doors next year.
And the legacy of The Open at Royal Troon lived on with significant investment in our golf clubhouses at the municipal course in Troon and at Belleisle in Ayr.
The Open was one of the highlights of the year and well and truly put South Ayrshire on the map as a global visitor destination with 173,000 spectators descending on Troon and creating an amazing atmosphere.
I’m standing down as a Councillor next year, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your input and support during my time both as a Councillor and Council Leader – it’s been an honour and a privilege.
My warmest wishes to you for a peaceful Christmas and a healthy and contented New Year.