Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sandy says sorry for the state of the High Street on Saturday

Regulars will have read the Gurn article posted on Saturday highlighting the dangerous state of the pavements. Ian Ramage of the Press and Journal has been investigating the issue and he reports an apology from the Convenor of the Highland Council:

“The guys were caught out and I’ve been inquiring about this. There’s no excuse, especially during the Christmas shopping period. We’ve got to get the salt out quicker. I apologise.”

Liz thinks there may be more fundamental problems however:

'“The administration are reducing the funding for winter clearance by £464,000 over two years.
“If we have a bad winter there will not be the men on the ground and it will obviously take longer to get round. That will have a big impact, anywhere.”

More on this issue on the Press and Journal site.

UPDATE 21.12 Salt on roads - Liz gets quoted on Gaelic television channel BBC Alba. On the 20.00 news programe to be precise. What she said has also been published on-line.
'Dh'innis Pròbhost Inbhir Narrann, An Comh. Liz Dhòmhnallach, nach eil an uiread air a bhith air a dhèanamh gus rathaidean agus starain a dheasachadh san aimsir.
Thuirt i gur e lùghdachadh ann an uairean luchd-obrach, agus lùghdachadh san àireimh de làraidhean salainn as coireach.'

Gurn translation follows (no money back no guarantee): The provost of Nairn Cllr Liz MacDonald said that not enough had been done to salt roads and paths in the weather. She said that it was the reduction in the hours of working and the reduction in the number of salting lorries that was to blame.


on the wounds said...

Not wishing to do anyone out of a job, but if the council were to give me a wee bag of salt I would be quite happy to spread it on the pavement outside my house as required

growtosow said...

it might come too that the ways things are going with HC and all councils its going to be about cutting costs were they think they can get away with it. worth while keeping a look out on this and other matters that i am sure will come too light.

Anonymous said...

Was exactly the same on Forres high street on Saturday and sunday, infact even now although the high street has been done, most of the other roads have not and are still slippery as hell...
The council should change there name to Cost Cutters haha

A dose of salts said...

A council tax freeze seems to mean that some our roads and pavements will remain frozen when there is bad weather.

Easy to snipe at the cutbacks, but how many people are going to be joining the Lib Dem calls for a big hike in the council tax we pay?

Slippery pavements or a larger hole in your wallet?

Graisg said...

Morning 'dose of salts', one is inclined to ask just exactly the opposition would balance the books. This is why being a Highland Councillor at the moment is a damed if you do and damed if you don't situation. Communities will be hurt by cuts and communities will be very upset.

There are problems already yes, but surely there is still enough room for manoeuvre to ensure a bit of salt for the High Street pavements on a freezing cold Saturday afternoon.

a dose of salts said...

Good morning Graisg,

Not being in charge of Highland Council's budget I'm not sure as to what provision has been made via TEC services for winter services in the form of clearing roads/pavements.

But perhaps the icy obstacles outside our houses are already a sign of the cuts?
Having a team ready to deal with heavy rain/snow/ice on call at a weekend does cost a lot of money, as does broken limbs and accidents etc if public roads and pavements remain untreated

The freeze on council tax is like a horrible version of monopoly in reverse whereby you have to sell off your assets as you go round the board, and everyone is a loser in the end

It doesn't matter if your vested interest is in getting salt on a pavement or care for an elderly person the cuts that are going to be made are going to cut services to the bone like a chill north wind

We can squabble and no doubt do our own 'if I was in charge of the council budget' impersonations, but at the end of the day we have to face diminished services or increased taxes.

Higher tax bills are not vote winners and smack of some form of socialism which seems deeply unfashionable ever since the 'I'm all right Jack' philosophy of Mrs Thatcher days.

Hands up those wishing to pay more council tax?
Hmm, I thought so, not exactly a forest!

Seasons greetings and sorry to debate such a sorry subject (It'll end in tears)

Graisg said...

Apologies, the closer we get to Christmas the worse the spelling gets. I like to try a couple of 'damned' instead of the damed and throw a 'how' into that lost comment as well.

Thanks for this conversation 'Dose of Salts' we are getting to the nitty gritty hear (pun only slightly unintended). Time for all politicians to be honest and just admit that things are not going to be fun as far as reductions in local government jobs and services go. The trouble is that out there there are people struggling to get by that have no sympathy at all with those in the public sector with their pensions to look forward too etc. One wonders actually if anybody's pension anywhere is safe now? But that's another side issue really.
I don't pretend to understand the economics at all but all those years of borrowing money to finance a consumer/building boom had to hit the buffers some time.
Now we have to pay for it and that means less money for a lot of things we take for granted.
At least there's still some money in the ATM's when we go there. I suppose the lights going out in all the banks would have been the alternative. As someone said recently on the Gurn in relation to another matter - a scenario that would make 'Shuan of the Dead' look like a Vicar's tea party.

Jingle said...

Could communal salt containers not be placed in various locations in the town.? I am sure there would be more than enough people willing to salt their own streets when required.

Graisg said...

There are a few already including one in the vennel between the High Street and the bigger Co-op. Remember that two wifies were seen putting salt down there from the large yellow container near the recycling area.

There's always one... said...

Could we get communal pepper as well as the salt then?

Jingle said...

It all depends if there is any "Hot
Gossip" on the streets I suppose.