Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Last night, I attended the first Friends of Blackness meeting of the new term. Friends of Blackness undertakes both the Parent Council and Parent Teacher Association roles at Blackness Primary School.
It was an extremely positive meeting, not least because of the excellent news about the recent Education Scotland inspection report on the school. This report can be downloaded here. The report is extremely positive and a real credit to Gordon Ferrier, Head Teacher, his excellent team of staff and the pupils and parents of the school.
Other topics discussed tonight included the welcome extension to the school dining hall and some repainting in the school and in the playground that took place over the summer break, the forthcoming beetle drive for pupils and parents and the Christmas Card Art Project.
Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of visiting the MS Therapy Centre in Peddie Street, where I had a very positive meeting with the centre's committee and had a tour of the excellent facilities. The photo below is of myself and some of the committee at the centre yesterday:
For those who kindly nominated me for the ice bucket challenge, I can't take this up (for the very obvious reason that I had a serious bout of pneumonia earlier this year) but I made a donation to the centre in lieu of taking up the challenge.
The centre is looking for volunteers and if you are interested, please contact the centre on 566283.
Yesterday morning, I met with the residents' association that represents the tenants at Sinderins and Pennycook Courts.
We had a good discussion about various local issues including trees, an unsightly gap site, service charges and other issues.
The residents' group works hard for all the people at Pennycook Court and Sinderins Court and it was a useful and positive meeting.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Monday, August 25, 2014
From Blether Tay-Gither :
Next meeting is tomorrow - Tuesday 26th August - 7pm - 9pm at the Burgh Coffee House in Commercial Street.
We're very pleased to announce that we will be joined at the next Blether by an international guest storyteller, Mary Gavan (pictured left), from Vancouver.
Growing up in Scotland and Ireland, Mary learnt the old Celtic legends from her grandparents and modern ones from her parents.
Arriving in Canada, Mary began writing her own stories weaving Celtic understanding into modern experiences and her work as a palliative care nurse.
Nationally and internationally, Mary performs at events and festivals, on stage, radio and TV. Mary is currently an organiser and performer with the Vancouver storytellers.
Our theme this month is Trust, so please feel free to share a story, poem, or song! Or just come along and listen!
Sunday, August 24, 2014
This afternoon saw the Dundee Liberal Democrats' Summer BBQ take place, with grateful thanks to Penka and Iliyan Stefanov for hosting in their lovely garden!
It was a lovely afternoon and excellent food, drink and conversation. Here's some photographs from the BBQ :
|Cllr Willie Wilson from Perth, Alison McInnes MSP, Cllr Tim Brett |
from NE Fife and Craig Duncan, Dundee LibDem Convener
|Penka and Iliyan Stefanov|
From the Volunteer Centre Dundee :
Volunteer Champions Team Awards - New for 2014!
If you know a team of young volunteers aged 12-25 who have gone above and beyond expectations – we want to hear about it!
The Volunteer Champions Team Awards will recognise the efforts of teams of young volunteers who have done something extraordinary! This award is for a team of young people who have come together to work on a specific project or activity for the benefit of the local community. To be eligible for nomination, teams must meet the following criteria:
• All volunteers must be between the ages of 12 and 25.
• Young People must have worked together to complete the minimum number of hours.
• The activity must have an agreed outcome – whether it’s raising money for charity, doing a beach clean-up, or running an event, for example.
• The award can be for one off projects or teams who volunteer regularly.
• There must be a minimum of 4 young people to make up a team.
• If there are between 4 and 6 young people, they need to have gained 100 hours of volunteering collectively. If there are 7+ young people, they need to have gained at least 200 hours of volunteering collectively.
• The Volunteer Team must have gone above and beyond expectations and made a difference to their communities.
To nominate a team, click here. Closing Date: 1st September 2014 at 5pm – so don’t delay!
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Friday, August 22, 2014
Last night, I participated in the latest West End Local Community Planning Partnership (LCPP) meeting at Blackness Library.
The LCPP meeting is an opportunity for representatives from different council departments, councillors and representatives from other organisations like police, fire and rescue and the NHS to discuss local issues, matters of concern and strategic issues.
Yesterday we had presentations on the review of property assets across the West End (and the city as a whole), the impending changes to waste collections and recycling arrangements and also from Sibelius Erskine-Smith of the Scottish Youth Parliament and Dundee Youth Council, who is joining the LCPP as youth representative.
On the waste/recycling collections issue, I sought assurances about consultation with residents before any changes take place.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting Rose Lodge, in Seafield Road, which provides high-quality housing and support for adults with learning difficulties.
Rose Lodge was recently inspected by the Care Inspectorate and I visited yesterday to pass on my congratulations to Alison Hogg and her team for an absolutely excellent report. To quote the Care Inspectorate :
Quality of Care and Support : 6 - Excellent
Quality of Staffing : 6 - Excellent
Quality of Management and Leadership : 6 - Excellent
As Alison says, the success of Rose Lodge is greatly assisted by the local community and supportive neighbours.
Here's a photo from my visit yesterday, with Alison (far left) and some of the Rose Lodge service users.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Residents have complained to me that the entrance to the Home Scotland car park at the south end of Thomson Street (see below) is unsightly with weeds :
I have therefore asked Home Scotland is arrangements can be made to tidy it.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I was delighted, along with Dundee LibDem colleagues, to welcome Willie Rennie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, to Dundee today.
As well as media interviews and a walkabout in the West End, we also did door-knocking and speaking with local residents in Broughty Ferry.
Here's some photographs from today :
|With Willie and local party secretary Daniel Coleman at Riverside|
|Willie at Wave 102 Studios|
|Outside Dundee Contemporary Arts in Nethergate|
Yesterday, I attended the latest meeting of the Jericho House support group, a regular meeting at which a number of us discuss fundraising and other projects to support this important facility in the West End Ward, that assists those recovering from alcoholism.
Jericho's staff and service users are starring in a play that it is hoped will be performed during this year's West End Christmas Fortnight. We were pleased to hear yesterday that rehearsals are going well.
Jericho House service users and staff are also participating in a car wash fundraiser (with thanks to Tesco who are hosting it!) later this month and have already participated in 2 alcohol awareness events with Tesco recently.
The house, in Artillery Lane, will also participate in Doors Open Days (13th and 14th September), one of a number of West End buildings taking part.
Willie Rennie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, will visit Dundee later today to meet Dundee people to discuss the forthcoming referendum and Scottish Liberal Democrat plans for Home Rule for Scotland, within a federal United Kingdom.
I am speaking this morning on Wave 102 News about this - you can hear the interview by clicking 'play' below :
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Further to the recent request made by myself and the City Council's Chief Executive to Post Office Limited about the possibility of temporary facility in Perth Road during the September closure period when modernisation work is being carried out at the Perth Road Post Office Branch, I spoke with the Post Office's Stakeholder Manager for Scotland last Friday about this and was advised yesterday as follows :
Thank you for your time on the phone on Friday.
I appreciate your concerns regarding Perth Road Post Office closure for refurbishment and would like to assure you that we have made every effort to keep the closure period at Perth Road to an absolute minimum considering the amount of refurbishment work to be carried out. As discussed, there are alternative Post Office branches which can be accessed within a reasonable distance of Perth Road branch therefore in this case a temporary service would not be a possibility. A temporary service is normally set up when there is to be a prolonged closure of a branch or if the nearest alternative branch is a considerable distance away and takes quite some time to implement.
The planned refurbishments will result in a much improved customer experience with longer opening hours and a new more modern branch. The aim of our modernisation programme is to enable the Post Office to invest in and ensure the long term sustainability of the current branch network and I am sure this investment and subsequent improvement in Perth Rd branch will be welcomed by our customers.
We do understand that there may be some elderly or less able customers who may be more inconvenienced than others while the branch is closed and we apologise for any inconvenience which may be experienced however we do notify customers in advance of the closure in order to allow them to make alternative arrangements during this period.
The Post Office Website www.postoffice.co.uk provides information on products and services which may be helpful for customers.
I have responded as follows :
...whilst the modernisation is excellent news, it is disappointing that there will be no temporary service given the number of elderly people who will find the distance to alternative Post Offices a challenge.
The City Council did provide a temporary library service in a nearby church hall when a similar situation affected the local library last year and its is therefore disappointing that Post Office Limited could not consider this.
Monday, August 18, 2014
I am pictured - below - on the Perth Road pavement outside Duncan of Jordanstone. Residents have expressed concern at the state of the pavement here - broken slabs and an obvious trip hazard.
I brought this to the attention of the council's Roads Maintenance Partnership, who responded as follows :
"The Road Maintenance Partnership inspector is to raise an order for the re-setting of the loose slabs outside the entrance to Duncan of Jordanstone College and this will be done as soon as resources are available.
A further inspection will be carried out when the inspector who usually covers this area returns from leave and any additional information following this will be forwarded on to you."
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Doors Open Days give you free access to hundreds of fascinating buildings across Dundee.
On September 13th and 14th, for one weekend only, you can explore places that are normally closed to the public and this includes a number of buildings in the West End.
This is your chance to discover the architecture, design, buildings, places and spaces right on your doorstep.
The Dundee Doors Open Days 2014 programme is available to view here.
You can also follow the Doors Open Days Dundee Facebook page to keep up to date with new venues joining the programme.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
In the past twelve months, students from the Master of Design for Services Programme at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, University of Dundee have been tackling challenges from visualising health test results to developing ways to include older people in policy decisions and designing books to enable conversations to happen about significant life changes.
They have worked with businesses, public and not for profit organisations using design tools including observation, visualisation and prototyping to find new ways of engaging service users and providers to design better ways of doing things.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Master of Design for Services Finale event at the University of Dundee's Scrymgeour Hall, at which the students showcased their work. This was a very interesting and inspiring event and a great advertisement for Duncan of Jordanstone. The photo (below) shows Professor Mike Press, Programme Director, Design & Craft, at Duncan of Jordanstone, opening the event :
Friday, August 15, 2014
I was in touch with Network Rail today following concerns about youths getting onto the rail track yesterday near the rail bridge, just before 6pm. This resulted in trains being halted and I asked Network Rail to thoroughly investigate any possible insecurity in the boundary fencing at the rail track in the area.
My office was updated late this afternoon as follows :
"The British Transport Police and Network Rail's Track Services have been aware of this incident since yesterday and have been patrolling the area and searching for a hole in the fence since then. They eventually found a hole in the fence at the Scottish Water compound and the Network Rail maintenance team were due there at 4.30pm today to repair the fence. Network Rail advised that it was two youths that had got in."
I am grateful to both Network Rail and British Transport Police for their prompt and efficient attention to this.
As residents are aware, I have campaigned over a long period for more free to use cash machines and to have fewer - and hopefully in the future - no ATMs that charge local people for the pleasure of obtaining their own money.
A couple of years ago, I was pleased that the Co-operative Group agreed to my request to covert the ATM at their store at the junction of Polepark Road/Edward Street/Brook Street to a free to use machine.
Constituents have complained to me that the ATM at Dundee's bus station in Seagate charges for cash withdrawals so I asked the bus station operators, Stagecoach Strathtay, if the company will review this when the contract with the machine suppliers is due for renewal.
Stagecoach Strathtay's Operations Manager has responded as follows :
"I have contacted the Company that currently supply this machine and they have confirmed they are under contract until 2016.
Your concerns will be considered when we renew or change at this time."
Yesterday evening, I was pleased to attend a preview at the University of Abertay of Living Room for the City, the exhibition of the V&A Museum of Design Dundee's first community engagement programme.
The exhibition features the work of photographer Ross Fraser McLean with communities across the city, along with images contributed by the public, and lighting created at the Living Room Drop In and Design community workshops.
It is really well worth a visit - open from 16th to 29th August 2014 (Mon–Fri 10am–5pm / Sat–Sun 12–4pm) at the Hannah Maclure Centre in the Abertay Student Centre, 1-3 Bell Street.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Friends of Balgay will hold its litter pick this year will be held on Saturday 23rd August from 1.30pm (meet at Mills Observatory).
If you wish to volunteer for this, please contact email@example.com so that the Friends have an idea of numbers for obtaining litter picking equipment from the City Council.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Currently running at Verdant Works, this exhibition is an exciting chance to view a selection of fascinating objects from Dundee Heritage Trust's collection, which aims to show how the jute mills of Dundee were frequently centres of celebration.
Far from being simply places of work, this exhibition will reveal how the mills had tightly-knit communities, which were keen to celebrate the qualities and achievements of their co-workers and also to recognise important events such as weddings, coronations and anniversaries.
This is also a unique opportunity to see some previously unseen items which have only recently been acquired by the Verdant Works. Mills featured in the exhibition include Pitalpin Mill, Camperdown Works and Dudhope Works.
You can read more about this free exhibition here.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Back in February, I advised that several residents had contacted me about how difficult they find it to get across the road in the area around the Glamis Road/Drive/Blackness Road roundabout.
Thereafter, the council agreed to my request for improvements, and, after a site visit to ascertain the viability of providing a central refuge island and drop kerbs, it was agreed these should be provided.
I am now pleased to report that the work to provide this has now commenced – see below:
As residents are aware, I have long campaigned to get a permanent and full resolution to the stones problem on the Riverside pitches on the south side of Riverside Drive, following a number of injuries to footballers in the past.
In June, the City Council's Environment Committee agreed to the necessary works. I recently visited the site to inspect the works now well-underway - see photo below:
Monday, August 11, 2014
Earlier today, University of Dundee Rector Brian Cox officially opened a new advice centre for students on campus - see right.
Situated at DUSA, adjacent to Campus Green and the Union shop at the foot of Balfour Street, the new Enquiry Centre will henceforth be home to the university’s Student Services team and relocated to the new premises at DUSA from today.
The University has updated me as follows :
"The prominent facility at the heart of campus will act as a first-stop drop-in centre for students requiring assistance but unsure where, what or who to ask for help. The team can help with all types of enquiries including travel, accommodation, finances, study support, health and careers advice. If they are unable to help they will put the student in touch with the appropriate service.
Enquiry Centre Manager Margaret Wyllie said, “We are delighted to be making this move to premises fitted out precisely for our purposes and excited to be able to improve the service we offer students.
“Having such a prominent presence at the heart of the University means all students will know where to find help if they need it. The new Centre will also mean we can enhance the range of activities on offer and, with the assistance of Student Services colleagues, we will arrange workshops, events and activities aimed at helping students develop the personal skills required throughout their academic career and after they graduate.”
The Enquiry Centre will also maintain a regular presence at the Ninewells and Fife campuses and make information leaflets available at strategic points throughout the entire University estate. If required, Citizen Advice Bureau appointments can also be arranged on main campus each Tuesday afternoon during the academic year."
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of chairing the second West End Christmas Fortnight 2014 meeting of the year at Blackness Library.
This year's Christmas Fortnight will run from Saturday 22nd November to Saturday 6th December and there's a number of new initiatives that will be taking place this year, including "Shoppers' Saturday" on launch day, 22nd November, which will also feature a number of other launch events, including children's activities. The Dundee West Church Guild Christmas Fayre will also take place on launch Saturday.
The West End Christmas Concert, lights switch on and fireworks display will take place on the evening of Wednesday 26th November and Blackness Primary School's Christmas Fair will be on Saturday 29th November.
There will be a number of other activities - one being a new initiative - a social evening for West End friends', community and residents' groups - and some for local children including a P6 Football Competition on the closing Saturday, 6th December. Also on the closing Saturday, the Pennycook and Sindersins Courts' Christmas Coffee Morning will take place.
We'd greatly welcome the participation of new people - local residents and local businesses - in the committee that helps plan the Christmas Fortnight so either call me on 459378 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to participate - many thanks!
In June, I chaired a meeting of Logie residents at which, amongst other matters, we discussed the deteriorated state of the lock-ups in Glenagnes Street.
At the meeting, Housing Department representatives committed to producing a residents' survey about the lock ups to gauge possible new demand for them and get residents' views on the best way forward with the lock-ups' future.
I delivered the survey to Logie residents (and nearby residents of Scott Street and the part of Blackness Road adjacent to Logie) at the weekend.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
There will be a temporary public art installation in place from today until 24th August on Magdalen Green – see photos below.
It is by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design student Laura Donkers as part of the Masters Degree show.
Entitled ‘Landship’, the work is a large blue ring, about 5m in diameter with text running around the ring.
|Approximate position of 'Landship'|
|'Landship' on the Green (original photograph by Liz Broumley)|
Saturday, August 09, 2014
Further to the good news of the extensive refurbishment and modernisation of Perth Road Post Office, both the Dundee City Council Chief Executive David Dorward and I have written to Post Office limited to request they consider a temporary facility during the September closure period when work is being carried out.
There are many elderly and infirm residents nearby including folk from four sheltered housing complexes for whom a visit to Blackness Road or Meadowside – the alternative Post Offices cited by Post Office Limited - would be a real challenge.
During the Blackness Library refurbishment last year, the City Council had a temporary arrangement at Logie St John’s (Cross) Church. There are actually several possible sites for a limited temporary Post Office service and I would like Post Office Limited to consider this for the closure period of 8th to 19th September.
Mr Dorward’s letter to Post Office Limited indicates :
‘The Council welcomes your plans to modernise and extend the opening hours of the post office branch at Perth Road.
However, one of our elected members has suggested that it would be good if you could consider providing a temporary limited facility in the area while the branch is closed for refurbishment.
There are many elderly and infirm residents nearby, including the residents of 4 sheltered housing complexes, for whom a visit to the Blackness Road or Meadowside branches would be a real challenge. There would have been a closer alternative, but the branch at Nethergate was closed in the last round of post office closures.’
I am to be discussing the request further with Post Office Limited's Senior Stakeholder Manager for the area next week.
Friday, August 08, 2014
A number of sheltered tenants in the Abbotsford Street area have complained to me about the poor state of the pavement on the south side of Blackness Road near the bus stop at the Abbotsford Street junction - see right.
I brought this to the attention of the City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership who advised :
"... there is a small section of footway to the East of the Bus Stop where the footway surface is worn but serviceable and as such there is no proposals for resurfacing works at the location in the near future."
I have responded saying : "I have had numerous complaints about the section of footway to the east of the Bus Stop where the footway surface is worn – can I ask that it is considered for a future resurfacing programme?"
Thursday, August 07, 2014
Along with my Dundee local party Convener Craig Duncan, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie MSP and Tim Brett and his North East Fife LibDem team, I had a very enjoyable evening campaigning in a lovely, sunny Leven - a couple of photos below :
|With Tim, Willie and Team in Leven|
|Willie, Craig and me - campaigning for a stronger Scotland after Scotland rejects independence|
This morning, I was delighted to take part in a presentation by Network Rail to Dundee Museum of Transport of a historic rail station sign that originally sat (from the 1950s) on the rail platform of Tay Bridge Station and latterly on the south wall of the station on Riverside Drive.
It is another great addition to the museum and many thanks go to Network Rail for donating it.
|Previous site of the sign on the side of the station|
This Sunday’s band concert on Magdalen Green is the final one of the 2014 summer season features the Tullis Russell Intermediate Band.
It starts at 2pm on Sunday 10th August at the bandstand.
Further details available here.
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
The City Road Allotments Open Day takes place this coming Sunday, 10th August, between 11am and 3pm :
Wide selection of produce, preserves and plants
Refreshments and home-baking in the café
Free on the street car parking
Toilets on site
Join in the fun everyone welcome
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
No ... not that one! Earlier today, Cllr Jimmy Black, arguing the case for "Yes" in the referendum campaign and I - arguing the "No" case - participated in a debate at Sinderins Court for the residents of both Pennycook Court and Sinderins Court.
Chaired by Tina Bell of Home Scotland, I think all agreed it was a good natured, polite and positive discussion and a thoroughly wothwhile event.
Later on, along with my Dundee LibDem local party Convener Craig Duncan, I was campaigning for our good friend Cllr Tim Brett, in Newport on Tay.
Tim has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate in North East Fife, replacing Sir Menzies Campbell, who has been the constituency's highly respected MP for the past 27 years.
We had a great response on the doorsteps, reflecting Tim's hard work in the area. Here's a photograph of some of the team from tonight:
Further to my update in April about the proposals for the roadway, pavements and environmental improvements in Riverside Drive, the City Council has now advised as follows :
Riverside Drive (Tesco Roundabout to Barnetts) – Carriageway Resurface and Lane Re-arrangement
I wish to notify you that work is programmed to commence at the above location on Monday 11 August 2014, and will last for approximately 8 weeks.
The main contractor for the works is Tayside Contracts.
The Works will be carried out during the first 5 weeks with lane closures but maintaining two-way traffic. From the 14 September there will be 2 weeks of night closures with the carriageway being available for two-way traffic through the day. This will be followed by a further week of lane closures with two-way traffic being maintained.
The night time road closures are being implemented in the interest of public safety for the 2 weeks from the 14 September. Through traffic will be diverted via Perth Road, Hawkhill, West Marketgait and Riverside Drive, and reverse, for these 2 weeks.
Please accept my apologies for any disruption these works may cause. I am sure that you will understand that major road maintenance work is unavoidable and necessitates a degree of inconvenience to road users.
Please note that pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained throughout the works.
Monday, August 04, 2014
This afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending the Great War memorial shrine time capsule ceremony at the City Chambers.
This hugely well-attended event marked the opening of the time capsule which contained the records and services of Dundee postal workers during the First World War.
The time capsule, designed to commemorate the 240 Dundee postal workers who served in the Great War - and in particular the 36 who did not return.
The inscription on the shrine is : "To be opened on 4th August 2014 by the Postmaster in the presence of the then Lord Provost" and, so, fittingly, on the centenary of the day Great Britain entered the First World War, the capsule was so opened.
Here are a couple of photographs from today's moving event :
With thanks to Suzy Scott, who produces the www.dundeebuses.info website, details of the August 2014 bus changes can be accessed here.
The significant changes affecting the West End include Stagecoach Service 96 no longer operating along to Ninewells Hospital (service now 42A/42B Dundee City Centre – St Andrews only) and the opening of the new Bus Interchange at Lochee Bank Street, affecting services such as the 28/29 that run through parts of the West End Ward.
PDFs of timetables for services relevant to the West End are available as follows :
Some changes to improve reliability, including;
Monday to Friday 06.50 X5, 07.03 5 & 07.25 X5 Barnhill – Ninewells Hospital are extended to the Technology Park.
Monday to Friday 17.08 Service X5 Ninewells – Barnhill will now be a Service 5 via Broughty Ferry Road and Greendykes Road , instead of an X5.
Changes take effect from Sunday 17th August 2014 although those caused by opening of the interchange at Lochee may be a little later depending on the interchange completion and opening. Note that school services for St John's High School - 9S and 10S - are not changing at this time.
Service rerouted via Lochee High Street (lower), Bank Street – New Bus Interchange, Lochee By Pass, picking up current route from Harefield Roundabout. Buses via this route in reverse towards Douglas. Some changes to times as a result.
No change to routes towards Asda West. On journeys towards Douglas, buses will follow existing route along South Road, then Lochee Bank Street – New Bus Interchange, Lochee High Street (lower) and onto Douglas. Some changes to times as a result.
This service includes Scott Street, Perth Road etc. There is a revised route in Lochee via Lochee By-Pass, Bank Street (New Interchange) and the lower part of Lochee High Street. (Southbound – via reverse northbound). Some minor timetable changes as a consequence.
Sunday, August 03, 2014
Over the past few weeks, I have chaired a number of meetings across the West End at various sheltered housing complexes.
Quite a few residents make use of the Friendly Bus shopping service, but some residents were not aware of the service, so I have since arranged for copies of the timetable to be handed into the sheltered lounges concerned.
I still have some copies - so if any resident would like a copy, just call me on 459378. Alternatively the timetable can be downloaded here.