Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
For the Tilehurst soccer fanatic (pictured) is heading for northern Scotland to watch the Highland League match between Nairn County and Cove Rangers.
Feedback from recent public budget consultations backs up the Council Administration’s view savings achieved by doing this could safeguard the maximum number of services during the forthcoming period of financial cutbacks. Public responses have told the Council that it is critical that services continue to be run efficiently and that there is no significant increase in prices.
In his report to the committee, Hugh Fraser, Director of Education Culture and Sport, said the financial advantages of outsourcing are primarily through savings achieved where an arms-length organisation with charitable status qualifies for non-domestic rates relief. Some increased opportunities to raise funds exist and a pattern of reduced costs is the norm. Savings of £700,000 could be possible. He said: “The aim of establishing a single organisation covering all leisure and cultural activity currently run by the Council would be to provide high quality services to the public whilst at the same time making savings on running costs as a result of the charitable status of an arms length organisation. Speed is therefore of the essence. Key decisions are required over the next few months on a range of detailed issues. The aim would be for transfer to happen as early into the financial year 2011/12 as possible” The Committee is being recommended to establish a project board, comprising key members of the senior management team, to lead progress on developing the ALO. Early work would be the preparation of a Service Level Agreement between the Council and the new organisation; the range of buildings and assets to be leased to or managed by the ALO; proposed staffing transfers; central support; capital funding and building and grounds maintenance arrangements.'
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Click on the picture to go to the twitpic page and you'll see the full size version. Earlier Alistair had eaten in the Classroom.
Alistair was also going to the Ceilidh in the Legion tonight. Alistair seems to be enjoying Nairn, you can keep up to date with his tweets here. If anyone is on twitter tonight perhaps you could help him out, he's looking for a free wi-fi connection in town.
The float under the pontoon was badly damaged by the heat too.
Two boats caught fire in the harbour last night with fire crew attending at 2:00 this morning. Both were moored on the south pontoon (nearest the sailing club) and, by the looks of it, they are total right offs according to a gurnite who has sent in this information. The south pontoon was closed by police tape and the boats will be inspected by a forensic expert today to determine if the fire was started by an electrical fault or whether arson was involved. Picture will enlarge. Another picture here.
Update 10.47 : Teenage girl detained over Nairn boats blaze
The BBC reports: 'A 17-year-old girl has been detained by police in connection with a fire that caused damage to four boats tied up in a harbour.' More here.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I see there is a complaint that the flats would be out of context with the rest of the area. Well the Clinic building surely is also out of character at the moment. Anyway those concerned by this development might want to consider approaching the Nairn Residents Concern Group for their thoughts on the matter. When the residents of Water Lane were threatened by overdevelopment that was also to be three stories high the help of the NRCG was invaluable. Everyone should also remember that you can make a comment/submission about any planning application in Nairn (whether for or against or indifferent) it isn’t limited to neighbours and you can have your say too.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
There then followed a short meeting on other matters including the Sports Bar application for the social club. Members of the public present raised concerns about the proposed upstairs external smoking area, worried mainly it seems that noise would travel through the surrounding streets and lanes. They wanted more information about how the external smoking area would be constructed. The Community Council decided to seek more time from Highland Council to consider the matter, calling a special meeting in a week’s time to discuss the issue further. A concern was also raised about another application in the town centre area, this concern was more to do with the accuracy and confusion presented by the conflicting information contained in a neighbour’s notice and the online planning pages on the Highland Council site.
Two members of the public made detailed statements concerning lower river wildlife issues. The Councillors then debated these concerns, taking on board comments from other members of the public present and decided to forward the statements to Louise Clark at the Courthouse with a supporting covering letter adding their own points.
Iain Gordon specifically asked for the digital press present to mention that they wanted to know where the ‘salty bins’ were as they might be needed soon if we have a hard winter. His wit was priceless as usual. Vintage River CC.
I note in the Nairnshire that there is a call from Graham Vine for more signs to discourage dogs and their owners from this part of the West Beach now that the Council dog ban signs have had to go. How in these cash strapped times would the Highland Council pay for more signs (that would have no legal force at all)? Perhaps we could close the swimming pool and divert the money to signs?
Now it is emerged that dogs should have been allowed on the beach after all, this commentator is quite happy to admit to (along with many, many other people) to ignoring the signs and taking dogs for walks on the beach regardless of the shiny enamel warnings. If more signs of a different nature go up I will still continue to do so, taking precautions of course to make sure that children and swans nearby are neither scared, annoyed or mauled. For goodness sake let common sense prevail and if anyone is unable or unwilling to control their dog then let the police deal with it.
Finally dogs and tourism do mix, just go for a walk around the caravan site (30,000 visitors per year), where some weeks just about every other caravan will have at least one resident dog. The staycationers are taking their canine friends on holiday with them and Nairn suits them perfectly.
Monday, July 26, 2010
This in from John Maher referring to a previous post on the Gurn concerning the lifting of the dog ban on the beach:
Not allowing comments on this posting. Are you frightened about a bit of debate?
Well it may have been illegal but given the miles of beach at either side of the central beach it seems a shame we can't have a small bit we can take our children to where there's no risk of stepping in dog crap and or being confronted by a large, excitable dog. The dog might not mean any harm but I don't know that, especially if it is a rottweiler, as happened last week, and it frightens my daughter. Not all owners are as responsible as you imagine. Still, I guess it's a small price to pay for their civil liberties.
Sometimes we don't allow comments on articles John, that's the way this blog is. Your point of view and further beyond that is well catered for over on Nairn matters however. Maybe raising the level of the dog jobbie fine to £500 for a first offender (litter too, especially broken glass) and doubling for each subsequent offence might encourage a few more people to pick turds up. I have to say also that I have heard one individual (a regular on the lower riverside walks) complain vociferously about this and a few days later I saw him allowing his dog to crap in a wooded area where he thought no one was watching.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Police are looking for two youths who pushed Joe Telfer into the river this evening just by the sewage pumping station. The tide was out and he fell 12ft into the river, fortunately his fall was broken by mud and less fortunately for the creature concerned one of the young swans. He missed the many large stones and metal objects in this part of the river. A badly shaken Mr Telfer refused a lift to the hospital from both police who were quickly on the scene and others who came to his aid.
Joe is a controversial figure and has upset a lot of folk over recent years and this might have been related to one of those incidents or more likely it was just a chance piece of reckless stupidity, either way it could have ended up with a murder charge and it is no way to behave towards any human being and anyone with any information should contact Nairn Police.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Letter to the Gurn from Duncan Brown
It is a book about murders that have occurred in the Scottish highlands.
Re the murder of Alistair Wilson, Crescent Road, the writer explains that on the day of the murder Alistair and friends had been walking in the Culbin Forest “which extends eastwards from just beyond the outskirts of Nairn in Inverness-shire towards Findhorn Bay.” (Mistake No. 1)
The very next sentence is: “Nairn is a popular seaside resort on the Moray Firth, with a links golf course.” (Mistake No.2)
The above mistakes apart, it is a very well written book!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Thank goodness sense has at last prevailed and Highland Council have given up trying to enforce their long-standing and (to this observer) unjust dog ban on the 'Central' beach. This ban was a discrimination against local dog owners. At last locals and visitors will be able once again to enjoy taking their pets on the particular beach in question without any bother from this silly regulation - a regulation that large numbers of people simply ignored anyway. You can have expensive signs telling you to do this or that but if people think it unjust then they will just ignore the instructions on the shiny enamel plates. If someone is allowing their pet to misbehave then there is sufficient legislation to allow the proper authorities to deal with it, there is no need to target the law-abiding majority of pet owners and cause ill-feeling along the way.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Sorry no review of the local press this week but we'd like to take you back to the Nairnshire of the 6th of July. Here we've often stated that the community has to do more for itself as the Highland Council quite often seems to have an agenda that is not synonymous with the interests of Nairn. Basically if we had a democratically elected organisation that represented the town then we would have the perfect vehicle to organise a lot more for ourselves. If the three Community Councils were combined then that vehicle would be born - A Royal Burgh of Nairn Council! Anyway let's examine a piece of Iain Bain's editorial from two editions ago (he's referring to the cuts Ward Forum meeting here):
'And those who studied the documents put before them will have noted the increasing role of a voluntary sector. Where we were sitting last week, the talk was of how much further such an extension could continue in a place like Nairn where bodies like the Sports Council and museum already work on that basis. There is a huge demand on volunteers' time and where would the people come from to man the boards of the non-profit making and charitable companies that would run former council functions? One suggestion was that in a small, compact place like Niarn, one board might cover a number of functions. And what would that look like? Very much like a district or burgh council! Aye, it all comes around. We thought it would, in the end.'
Iain Bain hopefully senses the inevitable in the wind.A single council for Nairn wouldn't cost too much at all, bear in mind it would be based on the amalgamation of the three existing community councils whose members give their service to the community for free. A single council would really help Nairn punch its weight in the world - if it doesn't happen we all lose out and an opportunity for the citizens of Nairn to address a democratic deficit that came into being with the loss of Nairn District Council will have been denied to us!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Two alerts have been received for dog owners from our Veterinary correspondent.
The first warning is regarding Kennel Cough. Kennel Cough is an upper respiratory infection which is highly contagious. Some of the symptoms to watch out for are if your dog develops a dry, hacking cough, goes off its food and seems listless. All dogs can get it and particular attention should be paid to dogs which have underlying conditions, puppies and elderly dogs. If you think your dog has Kennel Cough consult your vet about treatment. Vaccines are available and the vet can advise you regarding these. Check out this video at YouTube to get an idea of the coughing.
More information on Kennel Cough can be found here.
The other condition doing the rounds is Parvovirus with reports of an increase of cases in Aberdeen. This is an extremely serious virus which can kill your beloved pooch or leave it with serious long term health problems if it survives. Although puppies are very susceptible this virus can affect dogs of any age which have not been vaccinated.
The main symptoms are;
- Severe, foul smelling diarrhoea which can be bloody (our correspondent says you never forget the smell!)
- High temperature
- Lethargic or depressed
- Off their food and not drinking much
Once the symptoms appear then time is of the essence and you must seek veterinary help immediately. This often fatal illness can strike fast and is very distressing for both the animal and the owner with a high emotional and financial cost. Our correspondent has seen the results of parvovirus first hand and urges everyone to consider getting their dogs vaccinated; on the face of it vaccination may seem expensive but in the long run it may be a small price to pay. Don’t wait for it to reach this area, if your dog or puppy is not vaccinated speak to your vet.
More information on Parvovirus can be found here.
Monday, July 05, 2010
Bus woes again on Page 1 of the Nairnshire. On page 2 a mention of the sudden death of Bruce Barron (a full obituary to follow), what the Suburban CC want to do about part of Sandown and news of two Culloden and Ardersier councillors and a complaint of bullying. Next on page 3 the question is asked ‘Will Sainsbury’s open for business in Easter?’ Further into the paper to find out more about the 200 homes proposal for Croy and the campaign against the plans. Another page is dedicated to the cuts meeting held last Wednesday evening.
The editorial this week is a treat with a analysis of the cuts meeting and a wry observation at the end. There’s another complaint about the seagull s**** in a letter to the editor and a picture of Micheal Maclellan’s recent charity marathon. All this and more including the usual sports pages.
Murd made a very good point about saving money at the cuts meeting. It was a question that caught the mood of the meeting. The Chief Executive Mr Dodds said he thought it was a very good question too.
Murd told the meeting:
“I reported a tree at the river, it was in a dangerous condition. I had to be consulted to go and show them where the tree was. There were two reps from Highland Council that went there. I asked them the question, ‘Why are there to of you here?’
‘Different departments.’ One was forestry the was the tec services. Why was there two men that had to go and see this.’
With only a couple of hours before the latest edition of the Nairnshire appears on the shelves of the Co-op it is perhaps worth reflecting on part of last week’s editorial:
‘No-one can deny that the puncturing of an economic bubble and the subsequent rescuing of a banking system has created huge debt. But it should not be forgotten that this is also a political matter. When Alston, Park et al come to Nairn tomorrow, wringing their municipal hands and asking for our help and forbearance in axing items that we thought were at the core of local life, then Nairnites should remember that they elect them and the certainties of gloom and doom that they will relate are also a matter of choice. This is politics.’
Iain Bain was of course referring to the Ward Forum Cuts meeting held in Rosebank last Wednesday night. The cuts that Highland Council are going to make are a political process, the Ward Forum road shows were part of that process and it was bizarre to see Councillor Alston accuse Liz MacDonald of trying to score political points. Maybe he just doesn’t understand Nairn, Liz is an SNP councillor yes but her personal politics are closer to the sentiments of the community then any political party, this was reflected in her coming top of the poll at the last election. In attacking Liz, Cllr Alston was in fact taking a swipe at the Community as the angry reaction he provoked from those present demonstrated. Is there anyone that believes that Liz is political and the Highland Council Administration is not? Here’s something that was sent in by one of the Gurnites, it’s an Audit Scotland Document entitled Best Value 2 pathfinder Audit, Highland Council
'103. There is strong political leadership in the council, with an administration that works consistently and effectively and an effective opposition. This contributes to a clear and consistent strategic direction. Elected members demonstrate good leadership, and working relationships between party groups, among members and between members and officers are generally good. Members have a positive approach and work well together in the interest of the whole of the
It'll be interesting indeed to see what the Nairnshire made of the proceedings last week especially as Sandy Park began with a quick barb intended for Iain Bain. He said, ' I think we did get a wee mention from Mr Bain that maybe we wouldn't take the consultation seriously but I think in all fairness we will, this will be fair, Councillor David Alston will explain that when he does his introduction.'
More later on the Co-op shelves - have 40p ready.
The Brae crossing that is not a crossing receives coverage in the P&J today here's what Liz has to say:
“The safety officer has now recommended that the crossing is placed right at the bottom of the Brae although I find it difficult to understand how that makes it safer when it is a wider part of the street. I think there could also be some form of physical barrier to stop people using the rumble strip as a crossing.”
Again a picture of a Nairn sunset appears on the Internet attracting admiring comments and praise but the legend accompanying the picture should surely give us cause for concern:
'There is not a lot very pretty about nairn town centre. but it is beside this idyllic beach...so beautiful.'
UPDATE: And now in the Express, Iain Bain gets quoted as a sceptic:
'Closer to home the editor of the local Nairnshire Telegraph also grumbled in the programme about a lack of children’s voices around the place and an unhealthy “skewed demographic”
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Saturday, July 03, 2010
This in from 'A Jury':
'Having studied the hand-outs from Wednesday's Ward Forum, I am amazed that
A relatively large proportion of the expenditure £14.6m. goes on computers, communications and technology. Is this new and expensive technology being used to reduce expenditure?
e.g. Video conferencing council debates, thus allowing members to remain in their constituencies, and saving expenses for travelling, meals and often overnight accommodation. Paperless billing of council tax, rents etc., saving on postage as well as office time.
I noted that there was no mention of cutting members salaries and expenses. But then WE must put up with poorer education, less care for the elderly, closed libraries and swimming pools, not to mention smelly dustbins. After all THEY must have their meals accommodation and travel expenses. Why else are they in the job?
Friday, July 02, 2010
'Yestosh' has kindly posted the relevant piece on Youtube.
Brian captured an image too over at MyNairn
Thursday, July 01, 2010
At last night’s cuts consultation former Cllr David Fraser suggested a big cutback in the number of councillors in the
I heard Cllr Foxley on the radio recently saying there were no sacred cows. I just wonder why they haven’t considered a reduction in the number of councillors because I feel the Council should petition the Scottish Government to reduce the councillors by 25% and save half a million a year.’
As we reported earlier David Alston's blast at Liz on Wednesday night for being political didn't go down well with Nairnites. He was shouted down for his efforts. Let's face it all is political in Highland Council these days and the mere prescence of David Alston and Micheal Foxley in Rosebank made it even more so. They were just as guilty of 'politics' as Liz. Anyway Liz told the Gurn her thoughts about the consultation meeting, she said:
'The proposal to close the swimming pool is coming from the Administration - Sandy, Laurie and Graham so if it stays open they saved it from themselves closing it! The Care Home position wasn't saved although the public made it clear how important they were to their communities.
A lot of the proposals in the consultation have already been agreed by administration and gone through committee - grass cutting tender, privatising care homes, service point payment strategy, privatising care at home, day care review. David Alston said no decisions had been made.
Times are hard, and although folk like having their say I'd question the value of tonight's and the rest of the consultation across Highland and time and money could have been better spent with officers looking for savings in services without all this PR exercise to worry the public and staff and dividing communities.'
Sainsbury's reps were reporting a large turn-out at the Community Centre today as a steady stream of Nairnites filed in to see the plans and fill in comment sheets. Still nearly half an hour to go and see for yourself (18.35).
We took a picture of the plan, it should enlarge and there is an artist's impression in the Nairnshire. Sainsbury's - bring it on! Let's get Nairn a supermarket worthy of the new millennium!
It was a great relief to get to the proper question and answer section, which contrary to some expectations lasted for over an hour. Liz made the first statement outlining her fears that despite the consultation process some things seemed to be getting cut anyway. She sat down to applause ringing around the hall. Cllr David Alston (LibDem) got quite shirty with Liz over that and started talking about political point scoring and then the citizens present got shirty with him in turn. Things looked like they were going to get quite nasty but they calmed down.
There were some more difficult moments for the administration councillors and the accompanying high heid yins as members of the public made their points (and many of them spoke eloquently on the swimming pool issue).