Thursday, March 26, 2015

Earth Hour 2015

WWF’s Earth Hour is a global annual event where hundreds of millions of people switch off their lights for one hour to show they care about our planet.    It takes place this Saturday, 28th March.

It’s about people from across the globe coming together to create a symbolic and spectacular lights out display and asking for change.

It happens every year between 8.30 and 9.30pm, with switch offs starting in Samoa and finishing in Tahiti. 

It’s been growing every year, with more and more countries and people signing up – last year an all-time record with 162 countries took part.

You can find out more here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Solar Cities Scotland

I have written over the past few years about the excellent work of Solar Cities Scotland, and in particular its insulation pilot work in Logie.

The current project has been funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund since July 2012.     It has saved 800 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over this period - this is roughly the weight of 4 jumbo jets! - 110% of an enormously ambitious target. 

Very sadly, due to funding issues, Solar Cities Scotland is ceasing operational activity as from 31st March.   Whilst the project's board hope to secure future funding to allow for recommencement of the project's work in the future, I have spoken with City Council officers about how it can be ensured that the work and expertise of the project's team is not lost.

Today, the team held an end of project celebration event at the Hannah McClure Centre at Abertay University and, although my visit was short due to a hugely busy diary, I was able to call by to wish the team well and thank them for all their excellent work.

Here's me below with Sharon Bain from Solar Cities Scotland at the event today:

Riverside Drive road safety audit

Further to my February update on the outstanding roads issues affecting Riverside Drive following its redesign and resurfacing last autumn, the promised road safety audit has now been completed and the City Council's Head of Transportation has now advised me as follows :

"The Road Safety Audit and recommended amendments have now been fully signed off and the design engineers are actioning the remedial works.

Summarising the recommendations will see:

An edge of road hatching replacing the temporary coning and end of lane bollards installed to make it clear that vehicles should not use this section of road.  This section of roadway will remain at this moment as there is essential road drainage in place and any removal will have significant civil engineering costs that the current scheme could not absorb
Illuminated bollards will be installed at the Tesco Roundabout
Additional painted arrows to be added to make clear that there is diverging opportunities at Riverside Approach (approaching from east), approaching TESCO from west and approaching the right turn refuge from the east for accessing Riverside Approach
The lighting levels have been checked and are acceptable
Other junction and lining amendments already implemented along the line of the works.
All changes to be completed as soon as possible, aside from illuminated bollard that will require road closure / cabling work s and scheduled alongside other planned works later this year

Outwith the scope of the Road Safety Audit the brightness of the traffic signals has been assessed as standard and acceptable, however Siemens and our engineers are discussing the concerns your constituent raised regarding glare in hours of darkness (ie should there be night time dimming?)"

I have made clear to the City Council that a permanent solution for the coned off areas on the north side, east of the rail goods yard, must be found as soon as possible.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Today's meetings ...

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of attending the AGM of the Sinderins and Pennycook Courts Residents' Association, covering both sheltered housing complexes.

It was a well attended and productive meeting.   I updated residents on a number of matters including the new bin/recycling arrangements for much of the West End, changes to the Friendly Bus sheltered shopping service from July and liaison with Home Scotland who own the housing.

Tonight, I attended the latest committee meeting of the Bonnie Dundee group, at the City Chambers. 

This really positive group encourages improvements to the Dundee environment and helps local groups who keep Dundee's parks, open areas, streets and gardens in good shape, and it was a really positive meeting with lots of good initiatives taking place.

Riverside Nature Park - practical conservation

There will be practical conservation work for volunteers at Riverside Nature Park this coming Sunday - 29th March.

All volunteers are very welcome and anyone willing to take part should meet in the nature park car park at 1pm.


Monday, March 23, 2015

City Council tonight

After my surgeries this afternoon at the Mitchell Street Centre and the West Park Centre, I took part in tonight's City Council committee meetings.

At City Development Committee, I welcomed the proposed street names for the waterfront area and in particular the fact the northern boulevard is to be named Thomson Avenue after James Thomson, former City Architect and City Engineer.   I mentioned that James Thomson's grand-daughter Trixie, now in her 90s and still living in the West End, will be delighted at the recognition of her grandfather's huge legacy to Dundee, which includes the Kingsway (the country's first ring-road), Coldside and Blackness Libraries, the City Square and Caird Hall, and the Logie Estate.

At the same committee, I sought assurances about ensuring a sustainable future for the Friendly Bus sheltered shopping service in a discussion about a transport public social partnership.

At Social Work Committee, I praised the organisation and achievements of the Community Payback scheme in the city that has achieved good results on projects in the West End.

Mrs Marion Myles

It came as a terrible shock to learn yesterday of the passing of Marion Myles, Head Teacher of St Joseph's Primary School, at the age of only 54.

Marion was a hard-working, approachable and highly professional head teacher.    I first knew her as Marion Lawrence before her marriage and she was a long-serving head teacher at St Joseph's.  Marion was always very supportive of community events such as West End Christmas Fortnight.

My thoughts are with her friends and family at this very sad time.

Muybridge and Animal Locomotion

Eadweard Muybridge
From the Curator of Museum Services, University of Dundee :

Tuesday 24th March, 6pm to 7pm
Muybridge and Animal Locomotion

To accompany the Bodies in Motion exhibition, we celebrate the study of animal locomotion in this special event featuring short talks paying tribute to pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge, whose stop-motion images allowed the movement of humans and animals to be recorded and analysed in detail for the first time. 

Museum Curator Matthew Jarron will give an overview of Muybridge’s work and describe his visit to Dundee in 1890 to give one of the Armitstead Lectures. 

Dr Keith Williams (Senior Lecturer in English) will talk about the cultural impact Muybridge’s work has had, particularly in cinema and literature. Finally, Dr David Booth (Programme Lead for Biological Sciences) will discuss the evolution of animal locomotion and how our understanding has changed since Muybridge’s time, with new insights gained by delving more deeply into the genome. Refreshments will be served after the event. Admission is free and there is no need to book.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Community Awards available

The following update from Kath Torode, Community Champion at Tesco Riverside, will be of interest to local community groups :

The Tesco Charity Trust  Community Awards Scheme provides one off donations between £500 and £2,500 to charities, not for profit groups and schools.

The Community Awards are now open for applications until 24th April.

Please visit www.tescoplc.com/tescocharitytrust for details and to apply for a grant.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Glenagnes Road and Glenagnes Street

Glenagnes Road site
In past weeks, I have highlighted residents' concerns about untidy, unkempt areas in Glenagnes Street and Glenagnes Road.

I am pleased to advise that I have now had confirmation that the Environment Department will be tidying both sites.    

Additionally, at the site in Glenagnes Road (east side south of the West End Campus), the department will also erect a chespale fence where the previous (now removed) fence was, to avoid any further fly-tipping.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Friends of Wighton - Cappuccino Concert - Saturday 21st March

From Sheena Wellington :

Wighton Heritage Centre, Central Library  - this Saturday at 11am :

Helen Forbes (tin whistle), with Lou Lewis (guitar) - Cappuccino Concert.

Tickets £5 (includes coffee, available from 10.30am).

Scotland's finest whistle player presents reels, jigs, slow airs and a surprise or two, sensitively accompanied by Lou Lewis on guitar.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ground at the Technology Park

Overgrown area - Summer 2011
In the past, I have highlighted complaints from constituents about the state of the ground on Dundee’s Technology Park at the entrance to the City particularly in the summer months.

Over the past few years each summer, I have received many concerns about the untidy state of the ground running along Riverside Avenue, just east of the Swallow Roundabout.   It is important that it is kept looking good as it is a prominent entrance to Dundee and often looks unsightly in the summer months because of lack of regular-enough grass cutting/maintenance.

In advance of this summer, I again highlighted the matter to the City Council’s Director of City Development who advises:

“The area highlighted at the Technology Park is a matter that has been investigated previously.   It was established that the area where there is a lack of maintenance to the front of the commercial buildings is in multiple private ownership.    A meeting is being organised with the marketing agents for these properties to their consider their future use and the issue of maintenance will be raised.”

Monday, March 16, 2015

New bins and recycling arrangements - Blackness Road update

I previously mentioned the concerns raised by residents in Blackness Road west of Ashbank Road (on the north side and east of Balgay Road) about how the new arrangements are proposed to affect them.  

Eurobins were proposed but this was a stretch of Blackness Road where the current collection arrangements were working well, with few if any bins left permanently on the pavement.

A consultation meeting took place late last month which I and local residents attended and council officers listened carefully to residents’ views.    I am pleased to say that the Environment Department has now revised the proposals here to :

Retention of grey wheeled bins for general waste

Introduction of individual wheeled bins for recycling (blue bin for paper, card, metals and plastics, burgundy bin for mixed glass)

Introduction of an on-street communal food container (small kitchen caddies and liners provided to each household to collect food waste)

Garden waste (brown bins) service to remain unchanged

I am pleased that residents’ views were taken on board and the department is writing to all residents to update them about the revised arrangements.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mono 68 urban planning event

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee:
Mono 68: One city, One month, One camera
Photographs by Phil Thomson, Dundee, November 1968
Lamb Gallery, Tower Building, University of Dundee

To accompany this highly popular exhibition we have arranged another special event:

Monday 16th March at 5.30pm

The Changing Face of Urban Planning – a series of short talks followed by a discussion exploring how planning has changed in Dundee and other cities over the years. Why was so much of the city demolished and are we more sympathetic towards conservation of the built environment today?

The event will start in the Lamb Gallery then move into Room T4 for four presentations:

Jack Searle of Dundee Civic Trust will describe his memories of planning in Dundee in the 1960s and discuss the decisions made at that time.

Barbara Illsley, who recently retired as a senior lecturer in Town & Regional Planning, will discuss Whitfield as a case study of development, demolition and regeneration.

Deborah Peel, Professor of Architecture & Planning, will discuss how attitudes to urban planning have changed over the years, and the increasing recognition of the value of conservation.

Finally, Gordon Birrell of the Housing department at Dundee City Council will describe the renovation programme for Dundee’s remaining multis.

Please meet in the Lamb Gallery. Attendance is free but places are limited so please reserve a seat via Eventbrite.

The exhibition runs until 21st March and is open Monday to Friday (9.30am to 8.30pm) and Saturday (9.30am to 4.30pm).

Friday, March 13, 2015

Unadopted footways programme : Eton Street

Eton Street appears on the unadopted footways list for future adoption.   Residents have queried with me why it has low priority and, on looking at the scoring for the street (in terms of the scheme's scoring priority), I was surprised at its low points for age of housing.

I raised this with the City Engineer and am now pleased to advise of his helpful response :

"I can confirm that 6 points is given to streets where the majority of housing is built between 1940 and 1965. 

The scoring system for Age of Housing is as follows:

Pre-1919 - 12 points
1920-1939 - 9 points
1940-1965 - 6 points
1966-Present Day - 3 points 
No Houses - 0 points

Please note that the Age of Housing score is given for the majority of houses and that one or two houses built before the assessed time period in a street is not considered sufficient justification for a higher point score.

We have however reviewed the Age of Housing in Eton Street and noted from historic maps that 9 houses out of 15 were built pre-1940 (from 1937/38 Town Plans). Given that, we will increase the Age of Housing score to 9 for Eton Street and include it in the current reassessment of the Priority List."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Harris Academy Parent Council

This evening, after my weekly ward surgery at Blackness Primary School, I participated in the latest meeting of the Harris Academy Parent Council.

Jim Thewliss, Head Teacher, gave a very interesting and useful presentation on various aspects of examination performance.   

Jim recently announced that he will retire from the Head Teacher's post at the end of the current academic year and he will thereafter take up the post of General Secretary of School Leaders Scotland

Jim has made an immense contribution to education in Dundee throughout his time as Harris Academy's Head Teacher and he will leave Harris Academy in excellent shape.

Dundee Botanic Garden Endowment Trust

Gordon and I at the Botanic Garden today
Earlier today, I had the pleasure of meeting with Gordon Ramsay, Development Officer for the Dundee Botanic Garden Endowment Trust.   

Last October, I was delighted to attend the well-attended launch of the Trust and, today, Gordon was able to give me a very positive update about the Trust's progress and future plans.

The purpose of the Dundee Botanic Garden Endowment Trust is to provide an alternative funding source which will benefit the public by:

• Investing in the economic sustainability and future of the Dundee Botanic Garden 

• Inspiring community involvement through the development of activities to promote engagement

• Building financial assets and resources to support Garden operations and development

• Educating and promoting health and wellbeing in the wider Dundee community

You can read more about the Trust at its Facebook page.

Friends of Magdalen Green meeting

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the latest Friends of Magdalen Green committee meeting.

It was a really positive meeting and great to hear the success of the recent 'Can't Cook, Won't Cook' fundraising event.    A Dance Night is now being planned for June, with tea dances later in the year.

The Friends of Magdalen Green AGM will take place on the evening of Tuesday 19th May at the Friendship Hall, Dundee West Church.    

The speaker will be Eddie Small, author of the book Mary Lily Walker: Forgotten Visionary of Dundee - pictured right.

Forthcoming event as part of Women in Science Festival 2015


Getting things done ... Richmond Terrace

Residents have rightly complained to me about the poor road surface in Richmond Terrace:
I asked the City Engineer if the roadway can be considered for a future thin resurfacing programme and have now been advised as follows :

"Richmond Terrace will be considered for inclusion in the updated 2015-18 carriageway resurfacing programme which is currently being reviewed."

Meantime, I am assured that current potholes will be attended to by the start of April.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Improving collections at the Roseangle recycling facility

I have previously highlighted problems with the recycling centre at Roseangle overflowing (particularly the plastics bins) and constituents again highlighted this over the past couple of days, as reported in last night's Evening Telegraph.

The centre was serviced and tidied at my request yesterday so is now looking a lot better:
However, the substantive issue is that the facility either requires more bins or more regular servicing.   The Environment Department's Head of Policy and Performance responded to me as follows yesterday on these points as follows:

"With regard to the above issue, the ongoing concern seems to be the amount of plastics waste (bulky, and any bins for this commodity tend to fill a lot more quickly than other commodities). Ideally we would like to reconfigure the amount of bins on the site - but owing to the space constraints there, this could mean removing a bin for another commodity, which would prove problematic in other ways.

Additionally, our collection framework is set up in such a way that carrying out another collection here would be challenging operationally, so we are therefore actively looking into reconfiguring the site to have smaller bins for some of the other commodities, thus allowing more room for additional plastic bin(s). As soon as this is undertaken, a member of the team will advise you."

In response I made the point that expanding the facility to the immediate west may prove viable and had this follow-up helpful reply:

"We intend to try to make improvements to the configuration to better accommodate the plastics volume as our first change - if we could expand the site as you suggest, it would certainly be of value. We will therefore investigate this aspect as well.

Just for noting, the majority of our resources this week are devoted to the container delivery and associated programmes, so it may be a week or so before we can make any potential changes at this site."

Dr Fred Freeman at the Wighton Heritage Centre

Dr Freeman
From Sheena Wellington :

Dr Fred Freeman: A Musical Introduction to the Scots Language

The Wighton Centre invites you to an exciting talk about the Scots language by Dr Fred Freeman.

Friday 13th March 2015 at 2pm at the Wighton Centre, Central Library.

Dr Freeman is author of two books on Scottish poetry and over a 100 articles on Scottish literature, folk music and history. He is a producer and musical director of some 45 CDs, including the 12 volume collection of the Complete songs of Roberts Burns. He has taught at both the School of Scottish Studies and the English Department at University of Edinburgh; and also held postdoctoral posts at Edinburgh and Oxford universities.

This is a free event but booking is essential.

Bookings can be made by contact Central Library on 431500 or central.library@leisureandculturedundee.com.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuesday activities

This morning, I had the pleasure of supporting Shelter Scotland's awareness raising campaign - Illegal Evictions: Know Your Rights, run with the support of Police Scotland, Crimestoppers and the Scottish Association of Landlords.

Shelter is running this excellent campaign to ensure that tenants and landlords know their rights and responsibilities and that illegally evicting a tenant is a criminal offence.   I am pictured below at the Dundee University Students' Association with Shelter and Police Scotland representatives:
This afternoon, I had a very useful meeting with Housing Department officers and a representative of Community Payback about improving the Logie Estate's railings.   We are confident of getting many of the railings desperately needing repainted  attended to over time in the coming months where the support of owners is agreed.

This evening, I attended West End Community Council, where there was an interesting presentation from the Chair of the West End Local Community Planning Partnership (LCPP) and the West End's Communities Officer about the LCPP's work in the West End.     As always, there was a good discussion about a variety of local issues as well as an update from Police Scotland.

West End Community Council Update

I have today launched my March 2015 Update to West End Community Council.    Subjects covered include:

•         Thomson Street temporary road closure   
•         20mph consultation agreed   
•         Seymour Street road repairs   

The Community Council meets tonight at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall at 7pm - all residents welcome.      You can download my Update here.

Changes to Waste & Recycling collections : roadshows

Further to my latest update about the changes to general waste and recycling arrangements in a large part (but not all) of the West End, the council has arranged roadshows for residents (and for those in parts of Broughty Ferry similarly affected).

There will be two events at Blackness Primary School - details below - all residents welcome :

Monday, March 09, 2015

Frank's Law supported by Dundee City Council

This morning I had a very useful and productive meeting with the new West End police sergeant about local policing matters and later today I held my weekly Monday ward surgeries at the West Park and Mitchell Street Centres.

Tonight, I participated in City Council committees.

At Policy and Resources Committee, I was delighted that the City Council unanimously supported my motion to call for the adoption of "Frank's Law" following a very moving address to committee by Amanda Kopel, wife of the late Frank Kopel.

Following Angus Council unanimously agreeing to back “Frank’s Law” to recognise the need for free personal care to dementia suffers aged under 65, my friend and colleague, Montrose councillor David May, had contacted me to suggest it would be highly appropriate for Dundee City Council to also back the campaign, given Frank’s long association with the city and the importance of this issue.

Having spoken with Amanda, I was pleased to support her tireless campaign for proper recognition of the personal care needs of dementia suffers aged under 65, and it was excellent to see the strong support support across Dundee City Council tonight, similar to that in Angus Council recently.

I have the upmost respect for Amanda’s work to highlight this hugely important issue.   She has raised the profile of the campaign to improve access to care for people under age 65 who are battling dementia.  Amanda has made her case to the Scottish Parliament petitions committee and to the previous and present Scottish Health Minister.

This is a question of equality, fairness and an end to age discrimination of younger dementia sufferers.   My motion read as follows:
Policy and Resources Committee notes that, currently, legislation enables personal care to be provided free for people in Scotland aged over 65, provided they are assessed as needing it. 
  
Of the 85,807 dementia sufferers in Scotland, 3,201 are under the age of 65 and therefore not entitled to the help.
Committee commends the campaign by Mrs Amanda Kopel – “Frank’s Law” – to request that Scottish Government extend free personal care to under-65s with dementia.
Committee therefore instructs the Chief Executive to write to the First Minister requesting her to consider the introduction of a ‘Frank’s Law’ so that free personal care is extended to under-65s with dementia.
Amanda, David & I are pictured below just before tonight's committee meeting:
Also, at Environment Committee, I welcomed new regulations that should assist the City Council tackle wheelie bins left permanently on pavements and also welcomed the proposed new South Road skatepark that will benefit Lochee and the wider area including the West End.

At Housing Commitee, a report was considered on the future of council owned lock-ups, which included the recommendation to demolish the Glenagnes Street ones.    

Residents will recall the survey on their future I helped to promote last year.    The lock-ups have almost half the units unoccupied, are in a poor state of repair and the survey indicated little future demand.   

Tonight, I sought assurances that efforts would be made to find alternatives for existing lock-up tenants and also that the Logie community will be consulted on the future of the site - eg possible parking or other possible uses.

Perception of Biology

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee : 

Perception of Biology :   An exhibition in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum

Students from second year HND Contemporary Art at Perth College (University of the Highlands and Islands) present their response to the Zoology Museum. Taking influence from historical and visual aspects of the collection as well as responding instinctively, the 12 students have worked intensively over a four week period, inspired by their access to the fascinating and unique 130 year-old collection. 

The project has been run by Anna Orton, UHI Contemporary Art Lecturer, who promises that “the end result will be a collective body of work that showcases a range of responses, encompassing humour, mark-making, collaged imagery and film work.”

Join us for the opening evening on Tuesday 10th March 5pm to 6.30pm.    

The museum will then be open Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March from 11am to 4pm.  

Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Councillor salary increase refused - again

With news that councillors in Scotland are to get a 1% increase in their salaries, I have decided that, for the third time, I will not accept the increase and will instead donate my increase to the Dundee charity, the Dundee Festival Trust.

In both 2009 and 2014, councillors received a pay increase and I felt it was inappropriate to accept this at a time when public services are under financial strain so I donated the money to the Dundee Festival Trust which, through its award scheme, supports community groups across Dundee.    

I have now advised the council’s Director of Corporate Services that I’d like to also donate the latest increase to charity.

I will also continue to claim no expenses whatsoever through my work as a city councillor.

I would encourage community groups to apply to the Festival Trust if they are looking for support for any community events they are running.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

'Drink! The Musical' : from Jericho House

Another excellent production ahead by producer Claire Bee with a cast from the service users and staff at Jericho House.

With a cast of 30+ aged from 7 to 81, 'Drink! The Musical' guarantees to bring you fun, laughter, amazing original songs and a heartfelt script.

A snapshot of the emotional journey any of us could face. This diverse cast brings you a performance like no other...filled with high energy and tears along the way.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Temporary Traffic Order - Thomson Street

From Dundee City Council :

"Dundee City Council proposes to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating demolition and building works.  The Order is expected to be in force for 10 weeks from 9th March 2015.    Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Thomson Street from Magdalen Yard Road for a distance of 100 metres or thereby in a northerly direction.

Access to residents will be maintained where possible.  Pedestrian provision will be maintained at all times.

An alternative route will be available via Magdalen Yard Road, Windsor Street and Perth Road.

If you have any queries please contact 433082."

I am advised that the Order is required to facilitate the building works to extend the nursing home at the bottom of Thomson Street.   There are some demolition works required in the first week or so.

I have received assurances that the builder has been asked by the City Council to letter drop the residents closest to the works and to maintain access to driveways where possible.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Council spent over £20 000 on Victoria Park bowling green pavilion - then shut it

Victoria Park Bowling Green
As reported in last night's Evening Telegraph and today's Courier, I have expressed concern about the City Council’s decision to close the Victoria Park Bowling Green, axed in the SNP administration’s budget, after it emerged that, only last year, the council had spent nearly £23 000 on repairs to the bowling green’s pavilion.

As residents are aware, I attempted at last month’s City Council Budget Meeting to save the Victoria Park Bowling Green and also the one at Baxter Park from the axe but unfortunately the SNP voted to close them and Labour also failed to support the bowling greens.   After my asking questions about the situation, it now emerges that the council spent £22 836 in 2014 repairing the pavilion at the Victoria Park green just a matter of months before closing it.

This rather made a nonsense of claiming closing the bowling greens saves money.    The total annual revenue budget saving from closing both bowling greens was claimed to be £30 000, so, as Victoria Park's is the smaller of the two, I suspect the saving there would be under £15 000, which begs the question why council spent nearly £23 000 on the pavilion only to shut it months later.

The council claimed that these bowling greens could have been better used but the council itself has failed to properly promote the greens and their availability for local people to use.   If the council had been more proactive in advertising these bowling greens, they would been better used.

In the West End, we are lucky to have excellent private bowling clubs like Hillcrest and Balgay, but for people unable to afford an annual subscription or residents just wanting an occasional game without a recurring subscription, council bowling greens provide that facility.   The bowling green at Victoria Park has a lovely setting and it is a crying shame to see it dismantled.    

The Environment Director has said the council will consider possible alternative uses for the pavilion and green but so far there appears to be no proactivity to progress this.    I would like to see possible new community uses explored, but meantime I am simply scratching my head as to why anyone would think of spending nearly £23 000 of public money on a building and then shut it just months later.

Dundee Voter Registration App #YoungVoicesMatter

Do you know that registering to vote has now changed?

You now must register as an individual. 

Register to vote by downloading the app here.

#YoungVoicesMatter

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Community Spirit Action Group meeting

Earlier tonight, I attended the latest meeting of Community Spirit Action Group, the residents' group for the 'north' of the West End Ward, covering areas like Cleghorn, Pentland, Ancrum, Tullideph and Milnbank/Forest Park.

There was a presentation from the Environment Department on the impending changes to waste and recycling collections.   Most of the Community Spirit area is not covered by Phase 1 of the new arrangements that will be implemented imminently - but will be covered by Phase 2 in the autumn - though it was good that the group was updated and able to ask questions about what is being proposed.

Further to my recent article about mobile phone cabinets overkill at City Road, I was pleased to update Community Spirit members that the mobile phone operators have been as good as their word and have now removed two of the unsightly boxes and painted the remaining ones all the same colour - see below :

Pass it on Week


Get your work colleagues swapping and sharing for Pass it on Week!

National re-use week from 7th to 15th March is the perfect time to get staff thinking beyond recycling and have a bit of workplace fun.

If your workplace is committed to sustainability, or you’re looking for some fun activity to get staff interacting, Pass it on Week is a perfect time to run some office events. Pass it on Week is all about encouraging re-use, and getting people passing on, swapping, sharing and donating things they no longer need to a new home, to reduce the huge volumes of re-usable items that go to landfill each year.

This could involve:

Social activities to get staff thinking about re-using more everyday :

- Hold a book, DVD or CD swap in the office
- Hold a clothes swap
- Set up a virtual lending library – use your intranet to lend out power tools, gardening gear, suitcases and all manner of other things that you only use a few times a year.
- Have a stationary amnesty – liberate the hoards of staplers, pens, whole-punchers and post-its lying unused in desk drawers to re-stock the stationary cupboard for free.

Activities to incorporate re-use into your business practices:

- If you’re expanding why not look at re-used office furniture and IT equipment, instead of buying new?
- If you’re downsizing or have ordered new furniture and IT equipment, why not donate your old stuff to a re-use organisation? 

There are loads more ideas for things you can do in our Pass it on Week toolkit, which has a whole section on events for the workplace.  This is supported by a range of ‘how to’ guides giving more detail on organising specific types of events, and promotion posters and web banners. You can also register your event on the Pass it on Week website and show everyone you’re getting involved.

Pass it on Selfies

We’re also encouraging people to take ‘Pass it on selfies’ and tweet them during the week. You can show that your business is getting on board by encouraging staff to do this and including your employer’s Twitter handle in the tweet.

Get in touch

If you want to chat about any aspect of Pass it on Week – get in touch!   Simply call Kim Young on 01786 433960 or email kim.young@zerowastescotland.org.uk.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Friends of Blackness

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the latest Friends of Blackness meeting at Blackness Primary School.

Friends of Blackness undertakes both the Parent Council and Parent Teacher Association roles at the school and, last night, there was an extremely positive meeting with a Head Teacher's Report, discussion about school meals, feedback on the highly successful Christmas Fair and using funds for school improvements.

Gordon Ferrier, Blackness Primary's excellent Head Teacher, will be on secondment between April and the start of the 2015/16 session at another primary school, but Blackness Primary will remain in safe hands with Depute Head Teacher Michelle Allan as acting head teacher, pending Gordon's return in August.

Latest from Friends of Wighton

Barbara Dymock
From Sheena Wellington :

Lunchtime Recital -  Wednesday 4th March at 1.15pm  

Wighton Heritage Centre at the Central Library 

Barbara Dymock and Chris Marra

One of Scotland's finest singers, Barbara Dymock and Chris Marra, a brilliant instrumentalist, who also sings, combine to make a truly wonderful sound!

Admission free, donations welcome.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Roseangle - new playpark taking great shape!

This morning I had the pleasure of touring the Roseangle Playpark site along with Sharon Dickie of the playpark campaign.   Its still a construction site but the new playpark is taking great shape.   It was good to tour it on the day the new turf was being laid, a sign that the project is moving towards completion. 

Here's some photographs from today's site visit :






Kay Macfarlane

It was with a great deal of sadness that I learned at the weekend of the passing of Kay Macfarlane, one of the founders of WestFest and accomplished local artist.

Kay, along with Liz Broumley, was the driving force in getting WestFest started and established.   

Following a career in social work, Kay put her huge energies into her art and community activities.    I think Kay is summed up by her own comment about herself:

"I love being creative and making things.   I am a fidget and cannot sit still having to do something all the time."

We'll all miss Kay and my thoughts are with her family at this sad time.