Thursday, March 15, 2012

Safety at the Links Playpark - River CC unrest continues

Gurnites will recall the Nairnshire front page splash of February 21st: “Cuts compromise safety?” The first paragraph of that story stated: A community Councillor has called for a re-think by Highland Council on its policy of not deploying a street cleaner at the weekends over the winter months to check for broken glass or dog fouling at the Links Playpark.

There was a sequel to this issue on Tuesday night at the Community Centre meeting of River CC which illustrates yet again how the community fails to get effective action from Highland Council. Something is seriously wrong Gurnites if someone cannot be found to check the playpark at weekends. Who runs the Civic Administration locally? The Councillors in Nairn, the officials here or the high heid yins in Inverness? Just who is laying down the law when it comes to getting things done?

Mike Henderson stated on Tuesday night: “We did write to the four councillors asking for their views and if they would reply prior to this meeting . I asked Stephanie if there had been any reply and no reply from any of the councillors.”

Liz said: “ We did actually discuss it Mike at our ward business meeting and the outcome was that in the spring it gets done anyway at the weekends. There’s someone that goes down at the weekends in the summer months. It was going to be monitored and the feedback that we got was from John Fraser as well was that it wasn’t a big problem.”

Mike continued: “A number of people have approached me thanking me for bringing it to attention. I’ve got to thank John Dolan and the Nairnshire for giving it such a headline because I think, whatever John Fraser says, I’m there every weekend, John Fraser isn’t. And I think it is pretty disrespectful to the Community Council Liz that not one councillor replied."

Stephanie Whittaker then stated that she had asked John Fraser if he was willing to come along to the meeting and he is willing to see community councillors in his office but he can’t go to any meeting of the CC.

Liz then said that she had an e-mail from John Fraser that she could forward to Mike. She had asked if they could either reconfigure the boys routes so that they could do the Links at the weekend or find additional funding to do it and he replied back that they were actually looking to find more savings.

Cllr Ian Gordon was incensed with the information emerging he said: “They live in their ivory towers, they’re not prepared to come face to face. You can go to their office, their kingdom where they feel in control. They are paid by us to provide a service to us, not vice versa, they are accountable. Why should we be dictated too? This is a very valid point the Links are an asset to Nairn, it brings people into Nairn and it must be kept up to a certain standard. Does it need one child to be damaged by broken glass etc, is that where we’ve got to go to get anything done? He can sit in his office if he wishes but can we not just take him down to have a look at it?"

Stephanie then said :”I think that is a bit unfair to John Fraser if we want to someone to come along then we have to ask his boss, it’s not his fault he can’t come to meetings”
Liz confirmed that.

Andrew Purkis then stated it was down to a frame of mind and compared Nairn with other seaside communities where councils acted on such issues. He thought that Highland Council sometimes don’t see what is going on outside Inverness.

Tommy then said: “Is this not where we should actually be trying to get things done locally, everything back locally and this is a perfect example of where it is going, it’s getting further away all the time.”


Anonymous said...

A big thank you to the Nairn Leisure summer casual staff who have collected litter on the beach and links areas over the past many years, seven days a week from June to September, or has this gone unnoticed ?

Greg Riddle said...

The situation at the Links playpark is unacceptable.

As a parent to two pre-school children I am disgusted at the amount of broken glass and rubbish observed from time to time. It's a disgrace that it's not checked during the winter, and as for only checking at weekends, do the council think that no children use the park on weekdays ?

Cleaning and safety issues aside however, the state of the play parks and equipment in Nairn, and the rest of the Highlands, is pretty shabby compared to many other local authorities, just take a trip to Aberdeen, Perth and Kinross or Stirlingshire and the facilities are far superior. The Highlands are supposed to be a family friendly tourist destination.

If Highland Council and the new arms length organisation won't improve the situation for the locals, at least do it for the tourist economy.

But back on topic, would it cost so much extra to pay the guy who cleans the toilets an extra 15 minutes per day for a bit of sweeping up and litter picking ?

The council should be ashamed of themselves, the newly "elected" leisure board need to take their heads out of the sand, and I invite anyone who thinks there is no problem to meet me down there with my children to discuss.

clean up said...

Weekends seem to be sore points when it comes to getting any council services in Nairn. The Gurn has featured the likes of over flowing bins, and litter on the beaches and at the harbour

I appreciate weekend work equals getting staff to do it and overtime payments, but visitors don't come to Nairn to see rubbish or broken glass, and I'm sure residents don't like it much either

I would have thought just a couple of workers going around the main bins and busy spots on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon could have a positive impact on the problems, and maybe a number for the public to call to report such issues?

growtosow said...

looks like its down too cost cutting again, were does it end? and what are we paying for? it would seem we still pay for these services but only get half the jobs done or we end up doing the jobs that we get charged for.

Anonymous said...

In my personal opinion ive learned in my 29 years experience coming to nairn, unfortunately doing things half heartedly, and making things harder than needs to be for folks, is the recommended norm for these parts. if your under 50 do officials really give 2 hoots about common sense concerns raised by caring parents who are looking out for the welfare of their children? Evidence gained nah, not if extra cash is needed.

Anonymous said...

CC Ian Gordons pop at John Fraser is unacceptable (if correctly reported).

There is a code of conduct that exists for councillors and council employees alike.

Councillors are answerable to the public, council employees are answerable to their employer the Highland Council,

Thats why senior officials deal with Councillors not employees like John Fraser who does'nt have the authority to act.

Respect by both parties is the essence and I only see one sided respect here unfortunatly.

The CC's should be less cynical towards ordinary council staff and direct thier efforts into more proffessionaly structured means of communication with senior officials

Even though I agree with the importance of safety at such public spaces I am saddened with public criticism towards individuals in this manner.

I dont attend CC meetings and probably am not the best judge of folks but I can see why there is a need for "The code of conduct in this case", respect is earned and should not be taken for granted.

Low paid council staff employee, who is thankfull to be in a job these days.

Graisg said...

"The CC's should be less cynical towards ordinary council staff and direct thier efforts into more proffessionaly structured means of communication with senior officials"

In the meantime the broken glass at the playpark doesn't get picked up. In this case the CC tried but got nowhere. To quote Liz: "It was going to be monitored and the feedback that we got was from John Fraser as well was that it wasn’t a big problem.”

Now community councillors and members of the public do think there is a problem - they are being ignored? Who runs this town - the people through their representitives or the officials?
All that is being asked for here is someone to check the playpark area at weekends during the winter months.

Graisg said...

Maybe the safety issue at the links playpark is now creeping up the election agenda?

Ashley Broadbent tweets "The Links play area - Highland Council TEC Services need to review service plans in line with community need."
Hopefully the Nairnshire will follow this one up next week too.

swings and said...

"Maybe the safety issue at the links playpark is now creeping up the election agenda? "

Does this mean we'll see councillors out with brooms clearing up the glass, or catching the bairns as they fall.

Ash BB is seriously underestimating the power of the Gurn if he thinks matters will get resolved by an appearance in the Nairnshire, he clearly hasn't grasped as to what is out there in the ether rather than newsprint! Ignore at your peril!!!

On a more serious note I would suggest that another part of the problem is the lack of an active phone line with someone who can do something at the council at weekends. This has been highlighted before with issues such as gritting

Graisg said...

@swinsgs and "Hopefully the Nairnshire will follow this one up next week too."
was in fact my comment placed after Ashley's quote. The Nairnshire still is a power in this town :-)
Maybe we should see more of councillors out with brooms.
This observer knows that Oor Sandy cuts the grass at the A96 crossing from the Village to Boath House. It is one of those no man's land areas where neither Bear nor Highland take responsibility. Result Oor Sandy deals with it himself.
Perhaps Oor Graham could take this on along with his litter pick ups?