Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Time for Inverness to have its own local authority so the rest of the Highlands can "receive the representation more suited to communities' unique needs".?

This observer suspects that Gail Ross's statement in the Scottish Parliament would find considerable sympathy in Nairn and also Andy Wightman's follow up response on twitter. Inverness now too big to allow effective local democracy elsewhere in the Highlands?

Monday, January 27, 2020

"There's much less clarity over the much larger contributions from housing projects. These add up to much more money than the Common Good Fund has ever had"

This observer went over to the meeting of the Nairn West and Suburban Community Council earlier tonight and it was a fascinating event. Students of the various subjects that have dominated local politics in recent years will be fascinated by some of the comments made tonight. There was talk of where the City and Region deal cash has been spent. An outline of things that are now in the Common Good Asset Register. Where can money come from to get the things that are needed to be done in Nairn. The Alton Burn flooding. The proposed move of the CAB to the former Social Work Buildings. The A96 and will funding for it get through the next Scottish Government Budget. It was a night of facts, figures, hopes and aspirations. If time permits over the coming days we will report on some of what was said. This evening though, here's something that Community Councillor Brian Stewart had to say:

[…] That's the public money, we musn't forget that there is also a hugely significant source of other money. Especially for infrastructure like roads, roundabouts, drains, schools, playgrounds and other improvements like that. There's money for that, it comes from the contributions made by developers when they build and expand housing estates and by new businesses like Sainsbury's when they set up business. And in some areas, sadly not for us at the moment, things like wind farm projects. Over the past few decades there has been a huge amount of such development in Nairn.

You only have to look around. It continues right now at Lochloy and Kingsteps and there's quite a lot of new bids on the horizon for sites at Granny Barbour's Road and elsewhere. But while we know about the Sainsbury's money, part of it went on the High Street, and we know rural Nairnshire is getting some windfall money from windfarms, there's much less clarity over the much larger contributions from housing projects. These add up to much more money than the Common Good Fund has ever had. People talk for example, about what happened to the money that was supposed to be paying for the bridge over the railway at Balmakeith. People wonder about the windfall gain from the disposal of the substantial and valuable site at Lochloy that was originally earmarked for a school. Where's the money for that? Nobody knows.

The Council has acknowledge that there have been difficulties in identifying and keeping track of this money. The point for us, is that it could and probably does add up to millions. Millions which could and should be available to meet the necessary costs of improvements to the fabric of Nairn. The question is what can we do about it?

I think the answer is simple: Transparency, the information and the figures need to be public. We need to know how much Nairnshire chips into the pot in rates and taxes that go to the public purse and we need to know how much money, public money, comes back in the form of funding for public services. And we need to know the amount and scale of development contributions on all of the extensive developments in Nairn over the years. How has it been spent? Where is it at the moment if it hasn't been spent? And what is it going to be spent on? We need to ensure that the developments that the planners promote also can deliver the infrastructure which the town needs.

Brian went on to say that the new management structure of Highland Council and the new Chief Executive has designated and appointed regional Chief Executive Officers to oversee and champion the various different regions in the Highlands. He asked and got approval for the Community Council to ask the new CEO for Nairn to visit one of their meetings outline how she intends to promote and challenge the interests of “this her parish”.

Cuairt-litir buidheann Gàidhlig Duolingo Inbhir Narann - Nairn Duolingo Gaelic Group Newsletter

"Cuairt-litir buidheann Gàidhlig Duolingo Inbhir Narann
Nairn Duolingo Gaelic Group Newsletter

Our first Duolingo event in the Bandstand on 14th January was very well attended and a lot of Gaelic was spoken, we had eight people with a very good level of Gaelic who helped everyone else along a bit. We will be returning to the Bandstand on Tuesday the 11th of February (again at 7pm) to try a little more conversation. We are simply trying to create an environment where people get a chance to use their Gaelic whatever their level of knowledge. We have to help each other along and use our Gaelic – it is up to us to create the opportunities where we can speak Gaelic, be that at more events or simply in the passing in the street or up at Sainsbury's or wherever we come across each other in day to day life. If we are going to learn some Gaelic we might as well use it so please come along and give it a go in the Bandstand on the 11th of next month.
If you didn't see the document (linked below) in a previous e-mail, have a look - it gives a few hints for getting going with conversation if you haven't been learning Gaelic long. It is important to start using your Gaelic as soon as possible and start creating that Beurla-free space that will accelerate your learning.

Please see below for other events coming up, including the regular library sessions and a try at a Wednesday afternoon session to see if that suits anyone who can't make evening or weekend events.
Please let us know what suits you and also if you have any ideas for things we can do to encourage the use of Gaelic in Nairn.
If you have friends who are Gaelic learners or speakers please forward this newsletter to them so they are aware of the efforts of our group. They are very welcome to come along to any of the events.
Le deagh dhùrachd,

FORTHCOMING EVENTS - informal get-togethers and opportunities to use your new language skills!
Saturday, 1st February, 12noon - 1pm, The Library Nairn: join in the weekly Cearcall Còmraidh
Tuesday, 11th February, 7pm, The Bandstand: evening meet-up over a glass of something
Saturday 15th February, 10.30am - 12.30, Sandown Allotments, Bùth-obrach nòdachadh - Grafting Workshop - everything you wanted to know about grafting apple trees!
Wednesday 19th February, 2-3pm, 112 on the Brae: daytime meet-up for those who aren’t free evenings or weekends.
What other events would you like to see? Sky-diving? Knitting? Hill-walking? Singing? Story-telling? Baking? Please let us know!"
Tuilleadh fiosrachaidh an seo - more information here.  

Want to learn some Gaelic? 172,000 other folk are right now for free on the Duolingo online course? 

KIngsteps Road closure - more on how residents should have been informed

The Gurn received the following reply from Scottish Water on twitter concerning the nature of the closure and the works that are planned:

"Where extra sewer capacity is needed to accommodate development, developers are responsible for providing this. The planned work is therefore being carried out by a contractor on behalf of the developer. 
It's important the work takes place so there is no detrimental impact from new connections on our existing customers or the local environment, but SW isn't directly involved in the specific construction / road arrangements which are agreed between developer and roads authority."

So something has gone wrong elsewhere, the failure to inform Kingsteps folk is not down to Scottish Water. The Gurn also understands that Highland Council asked Springfield to inform the Kingsteps residents. 

The Gurn also understands that BEAR Scotland are seeking information on any diversion signage that may be required for the A96. 

In relation to the sewer upgrade it also appears that a number of public interest questions have been sent to Highland Council by one local resident.

Chinese Lion Dance Blessing at Ashers on the High Street this morning

More images here on the Gurn Flickr pages

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Nairn Academy Duke of Edinburgh Gold Group Burns Night Celidh fund-raising sucess

Excellent video in the tweet below too. Well done the Gold DofE group

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Kingsteps residents shocked to find Lochloy Road closing for six weeks

This road sign comes as a bit of a shock to one or our regular readers at Kingsteps. Morton told the Gurn:

"This will effectively cut off Kingsteps and we will now face a major and lengthy diversion to access Nairn

A new sewer is to be laid for Scottish Water.

At the Planning Application by Springfield for its Kingsteps housing development we were assured that the existing sewage system had plenty of capacity and we were never informed of the need to provide a new stretch of sewer.

No one had the courtesy of giving residents prior warning or explanation of this road closure and we only found out when signs were put up today advising the road will be closed from next Tuesday for six weeks!!

I had to contact the local Roads Department to obtain an explanation!"

Conversation in on of the local social media hotspots indicates that residents in the new housing schemes in Lochloy had been consulted and informed but some folk that are nearby and will be affected do not seem to have been contacted at all. 

The Gurn has asked Scottish Water for details of the work and whether a press release is available. There is concern as to whether the emergency services and the like of the school bus have been informed too. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Post office plans cancelled with McColls closing in Nairn

The plan to move the Post Office to McColls is no more. The Nairnshire Telegraph has revealed that the store is now to close. Much debate in Nairn social media circles now about the future of the Cawdor Road Post Office and the services it provides.

More evidence of the turbulent times for many High Street retailers, with fags and newspapers on sale at so many outlets in Nairn it must have been too difficult for the company to justify continuing with its Nairn outlet.  

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Cròileagan Inbhir Narann (Nairn's Gaelic Early Learning and Childcare Setting) Open Session Friday 24th and Monday 27th January

Gàidhlig - Gaelic - lots going on in Nairn - loads of folk learning with the new Duolingo app

Gaelic in Nairn has been given a bit of a boost recently with the arrival of the new Duolingo Gàidhlig app. According to one article recently about 80% of the learners using the online resource are resident in Scotland. This morning there are an incredible 159,000 folk using Duolingo to learn some Gaelic and it's only been available for seven weeks too!

This observer knows 14 people in Nairn that are using the Duolingo Gàidhlig and there are probably the same again in town and nearby and maybe more too. You can register here - it's free too. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Nairn River Community Council election result and interview with top of the poll Tommy Hogg

The result read out by Depute Returning Officer and Ward Manager Willie Munro

Interview with top of the poll - Tommy Hogg

Monday, January 13, 2020

Scozzesi (male vocal quartet) - Saturday January 18th 7.30pm - Nairn Community and Arts Centre

Tickets at the door.

Chase away the January blues with a fun night of song! Scozzesi, the acclaimed Scottish operatic ‘boy band’ comes to Music Nairn on Saturday (18th ) with a night of favourites from opera, operetta, Gilbert and Sullivan, traditional airs and songs from the shows. Singing both a cappella and with piano, these four young Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduates have delighted audiences all over Scotland with their easy rapport and beautiful singing. The concert starts at 7.30pm in Nairn Community and Arts Centre with tickets at the door.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Nairn Duolingo Gaelic learners getting organised - join the Nairn "Chapter"

Back on the 19th we published an article commenting on how the new Duolingo Gàidhlig app had attracted 100,000 people to learn Gaelic in a little less than three weeks. That figure today is 135,000 and according to one recent press article 80% of the learners are in Scotland. 

This observer knows personally about 15 people using the app in and around Nairn. There will be quite a few more though learning a bit of Gaelic as and when time permits with this app which is just perfect for the way we live our lives and do a lot of stuff on our devices. 

If you are one of those learners you can find out about events that will be organised in Nairn to offer folk the opportunity to use their Gaelic. Tuilleadh fiosrachaidh an seo - More details here.