The yellow gritting box in Ballark place - many of these handy boxes around town are now empty too.
This morning Radio Scotland reported that Nairn shops had run out of table salt as citizens try to keep areas close to their homes clear of snow. The situation is getting very difficult in many parts of the town and as this article is blogged further heavy snow falls on the area. The Highland Council is simply overwhelmed and, as reported in the Nairnshire, the Wee County now only has 3 gritting lorries instead of 4 and vacancies in the roads Nairn department have not been filled due to the cuts. Cuts that will only get worse in the years to come. According to Lib Dem councillor David Alston (quoted in the Sunday Times):
'Over the next three years we need to make savings of £60m. This will require a reduction in staff of about 12 per cent. We have a workforce of almost 10,000 so we are talking about 1,000 jobs.'
Elected councillors are simply reduced to the role of axemen and women. So the next time we have bad weather a lot more men and machinery could have been paid off. What is to be done as the local authority's power to help its citizens and council tax payers disintegrates before our eyes? Time for a new approach? Could a body of volunteers be recruited? A network that could be used in times of weather emergency and alerted by text and e-mail. Contractors could deliver loads of salt to designated sites around the town and volunteers could spread the salt with shovels and barrows?
What is the alternative for the future? Just give up and allow the elderly and those more vulnerable in our society to be prisoners in their own homes, with even the able bodied unable to walk safely on pavments or get their cars onto the diminishing number of roads that are open and safe to drive?
If the council is in the process of giving up is it time for the citizens to take more responsibility?