Monday evening saw the City Council get back down to business with the first set of committee meetings since the election. I am pleased to say that Labour as the main opposition party will continue to scrutinise the work of the council and always work in the best interests of the city and the people of Dundee.
As Labour's Environment spokesperson at the Environment Committee I welcomed the new Convener, Councillor Craig Melville, to his new post and wished him all the best in his new role. I asked about investigations into contaminated land, how areas were identified and what happens if problems were uncovered. I was somewhat reassured by the answers I received, council officers examine areas of concern and prioritise areas and the responsibility for dealing with problems lies with those who own the land.
In the Environment Department's Service Plan Review reference is made that the Department will 'Examine the frequencies of all waste collections to deliver maximum recycling.' I sought a reassurance that there would be no move towards reducing grey bin - general waste collections. I was told that there are 'no immediate plans' to reduce grey bin collections. I was glad to hear this because I just do not think that recycling has reached the level that we can reduce grey bin collections in the city. This is especially true in the West End with the high level of tenement properties where recycling is difficult.
I was pleased to see that the Policy and Resources Committee agreed to look at ways of delivering a long-term and sustainable use for Camperdown House. These proposals will include looking at Camperdown House becoming a fine dining hotel, a boutique hotel, commercial gallery or a function venue. It is important that the people of Dundee make their views known about the future of the House. As a councillor and as part of the council I am merely a custodian of Camperdown House on behalf of the people of Dundee. From the report I noted that both the National Museum of Scotland and the National Gallery of Scotland are home to artefacts connected with Camperdown House. In Dundee we can see the benefits of a national institution working with the council and the city in the case of the Victoria & Albert Museum. If a British institution like the V & A can do this I would hope that Scottish institutions would realise that Scotland extends beyond Edinburgh and that both the National Gallery and the National Museum might work with the city to allow plans for Camperdown House to progress. I would be very interested to hear the views of local residents about the future of Camperdown House.