West End Community Council

On Tuesday evening I attended the June meeting of the West End Community Council.  As ever it was good to hear about the concerns of local people in the West End.  The community council does a great job representing local people and gives local councillors such as myself a good indication of what local people as thinking. 

Visit to Kingsway East Fire Station

Firefighters training at Kingsway East Fire Station
This afternoon along with my Labour colleagues Councillor Georgia Cruikshank, Councillor Kevin Keenan and Councillor Norma McGovern I visited Kingsway East Fire Station.  This was part of an effort by the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in Dundee to give councillors a better understanding of the response and training activity of the service.

This was a good opportunity to discuss issues with the fire and rescue service.  It was also a chance to hear about the work that goes on at Kingsway East.  It was really interesting to see the many different training activities which go on at Kingsway East such as working at heights, rescues on ships, and in confined spaces. 

It was good to have a discussion about issues such as waste in communal areas, fly-tipping and sprinkler systems in social housing.  These are important issues which my colleagues and I will look to raise in the future.  It is important that councillors develop knowledge of the fire and rescue service and work with the service to promote community safety and also carry out
Cllr Georgia Cruikshank, Cllr Norma McGovern, Cllr Kevin Keenan and
 myself at Kingsway East Fire Station
effective scrutiny which will deliver the best service possible for our constituents.


Domestic Waste Collection Strategy

Monday evening's Environment Committee considered a report on the city's Domestic Waste Collection Strategy.  This was in response to the Convener of Environment unilaterally announcing a move to fortnightly bin collections in January.  As I have said on a number of occasions I am not opposed to fortnightly bin collections in principle, I feel though that we need to ensure that there is buy-in by everyone involved before making such a momentous move.  This is why I broadly welcome the report which was agreed on Monday evening.  The report says that there will be wide spread consultation and I hope there will be.  I would encourage anyone with any views on this to get in touch with me.

The one area where I was disappointed  was that the issue of the recycling centres was not included in this consultation.  It beggars belief that Baldovie, Riverside and the now closed Marchbanks Recycling centres are not integral to the domestic waste collection strategy of the city.  The fact that anyone who mentioned the issue was told that it was 'irrelevant' by the Convener does not bode well for the consultation.  I wonder whether the people of Dundee believe that it is irrelevant.  On this topic it was interesting to see an article in this morning Courier where Bailie Ian Borthwick was raising concerns about fly-tipping in the city.

Moving back to the report which was before us on Monday evening  Here is some of what I said, 'As I have said before the Labour Group will support any measure which will improve the environment of the city and the environmental impact of the city.  The city has in the past been at the forefront of recycling and we should be trying to get back to that position.

We need to recognise as the report does that flatted and tenemental areas are difficult to deal with in terms of recycling.  In terms of the current grey bin collections we do not have this correct in many flatted areas of the city.  We need to be looking to best practice elsewhere and to some innovative thinking to find solutions which make recycling easy for residents in the city who live in flats or tenements.

I am glad about the stress put on consulting with the people of Dundee in the report.  I hope that this will be as wide ranging a consultation as possible.  We would struggle to get the people of Dundee to take part in any scheme which they did not support.

 I want finally to turn attention to the one omission from this report before us.  Can anyone explain to me why the future and operation of the recycling centres at Riverside, Baldovie and Marchbanks doesn’t form part of our Domestic Waste Collection Strategy? 

Convener, in the consultation which is proposed this evening will members of the public be allowed to make their views clear on the operation of the recycling centres?  Will this consultation cover every aspect of the Domestic Waste Collection Strategy or not?

I accept that, whilst I did not vote for the Administration’s budget, nobody brought forward any alternatives to the closure of Marchbanks, but people are complaining in the city about this and it is impacting on the carbon footprint of the city.  Surely if we are a listening council we will be prepared to listen to the views of Dundonians on this important issue.'

WestFest - Big Sunday

The picture shows the crowd at Magdalen Green enjoying Big Sunday
 On Sunday I had the pleasure along with many many others of attending WestFest opening event the Big Sunday on Magdalen Green.  Once again this was a really excellent event and it was good to see so many people enjoying themselves.  I remember attending the first meetings to plan the first WestFest over four years ago and to see what it has become in such a short space of time is remarkable.

There was something for all the family and a great atmosphere at the event.  There are events continuing all week and it is worth having a look at the programme.

I would like to say a very big well-done to everyone involved in putting together this great event, they have contributed greatly to the community in the West End and it is events like this that make Dundee an excellent candidate to be UK City of Culture 2017.

I was delighted to see my colleague Jenny Marra MSP at WestFest

Graffiti Clean Up

The picture shows the group who took part in the graffiti clean up
On Saturday I was pleased to join with people from across the West End and volunteers from Tesco taking part in a graffiti clean up as part of the Dundee Festival of Volunteering.  There should be no tolerance for graffiti and I was pleased to take part in the event. 

Graffiti has a terrible impact on communities and we must act against it.  The Community Spirit Action Group were active in the clean up on Saturday.  It was also good to the local community police officer taking an
active part in the event.

It was a very good event and I hope that we have made a difference to the local community.  I would urge anyone who has information about anyone who is perpetrating graffiti should contact the police.

I was really pleased to support the festival of volunteering in the city.  As I have said  before we must celebrate the work of volunteers in the city as they put so much back into the community.