Monday, January 04, 2010

Skiing skills proving useful in 2010 Nairn

Thanks to Donald L for this picture of skier on the Newton Footpath, handy equipment for those parts the grit can't reach yet.

Remember Highland Council can't be blamed for everything and we have debated here how much responsibility we should take ourselves for clearing snow but it cannot be denied that they have cut back on gritting this year. They might have saved a few pounds for themselves but just how much do communities gain from this? Here's some information from the Press & Journal today:

'Up to 100 patients a day, many with fractures, were also seen at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. The sheer number of people who needed treatment for injuries has been blamed on councils not gritting paths and pavements during the cold spell.'
The P&J also attacks councils in the North and suggests that they may lose money anyway as injured parties consider legal action: Cutbacks may cost councils dear.

'LOCAL authorities may rue the day that they decided to let council tax payers largely fend for themselves in one of the longest periods of cold weather in recent memory.'


growtosow said...

back too school for some lessons on this one how much did they save? against the possible amount of folk who may want too sue them are they going too take that risk in the future. as this year is too late some folk could be already making claims and who would blame them not me for one. time too get off your blackberrys and wake up what are we paying council tax for?

visit nairn said...

Isn't that Eddie the Eagle in training for the next winter Olympics?

Even sledging has lost its charm, no one on the links yesterday afternoon despite there being more snow

Anonymous said...

for the 3rd day running I have witnessed a gritter/plough come down Duncan Drive as far as the Academy Gates gritting and ploughing then switch of it spreader, reverse into culdesac where I stay and then drive off , cheers matey im sure that saved you 30 secs and a half bag of grit.

Thank you said...

Damned if they do and damned if they don’t

The current prolonged cold snap has certainly caused a good stooshie with regard our ice and snow covered streets and pavements, with no let up in the current weather conditions in sight.
I for one, and perhaps I’m the only one would like to thank all the people who have worked so hard to try and keep our roads open in recent weeks. It’s been no easy task as has been seen by the number of gritting vehicles who themselves have become casualties and slid off our roads, fortunately no one involved in these operations has been reported as seriously hurt.
Joe public it seems has been outraged and angry that cash strapped councils have not thrown more of our money at the problem. Whilst it may be desirable to have squads of specially trained snow clearing workers ready to roll out at the drop of a snow flake, I would suggest that in monetary terms councils would get hung if they made this sort of expenditure, what would the crack snow clearing team do for the rest of the year?
In general councils have managed to keep main roads open. These are our main arteries when it comes to receiving goods, getting to work, etc and in general I have found all the ones I’ve had to use perfectly OK when driving with due care and attention. Getting to my car and then onto a main road has on some days been challenging, but with good footwear and careful driving I have managed.
The alternative that some people are asking for is a much more extensive gritting of side roads and pavements. Whilst this would undoubtedly be desirable I just cannot see that the council could justify the cost. On some days snowfalls are every few hours and with hard frosts at night pavements and side roads would require several applications of grit in any given twenty-four hours. Ignoring the manpower costs, Highland Council is using roughly £56,000 worth of salt per day to keep main routes open, I cannot begin to calculate even the material costs involved in trying to grit every public way in the region. Note: I’m calculating salt costs at £28 per tonne; it could be a little more or less than this.
With a Council Tax freeze there isn’t a way our council or any council for that matter can find money for the extra winter costs other than by cutting another service, and with the salt bill running to around £400,000 a week that is an awful lot of our money it has to find.
There are no easy answers and I’m sure Highland Council would very much like to provide a better service when it comes to the extent of its gritting.
Just in case you are wondering I don’t work for the council but live in Nairn and as I said at the beginning of this gurn wanted to thank the people who have worked over the holiday period to keep so many of our roads open!
As for future winter policy for Scottish councils that it up to us at the next elections. A continued freeze on council taxes, or do you want to pay a lot more so that the next bad winter is not quite so harsh to endure?

too hot to handle said...

All this reminds me of a trip I made up the street in the summer. It was one of the hottest days ever but there wasn't a bit of shade to be had, I thought at the time that our council should really plant more trees for such situations.
I tried to buy an ice cream cone to cool myself but all the shops I tried had sold out, I looked in vein for a public drinking fountain but there were none to be had.
Hot, dehydrated, and in danger of fainting from the heat I managed to persuade a taxi driver to drive me home, he wasn't keen as he wasn't sure if we'd make it before his radiator boiled over.
Our council should really make sure that in high summer there is sufficient shade and water for folk, otherwise what are we paying our council tax for?