Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Last night, I participated in the City Council committee meetings, dominated by the debate on the future of the Kemback Street Resource Centre and the Out and About support service.
The decision, pushed through by the SNP administration, against the combined opposition of every other councillor - whatever their political affiliation - represents the low point of the SNP administration in the three years it has controlled the City Council. SNP councillors made much of their view that the opposition had failed to read correctly the original report from March 2012 on care and support for adults with a learning disability. Personally, I did not have a difficulty with the March report - the principle of providing more 'personalised' services for service users is perfectly reasonable.
This may (or may not) result in less demand for day centre places, but what was so concerning from last night's committee report and the decision by SNP councillors, was that the facilities at Kemback Street are being closed in advance of agreements being made with the users of the facilities and their families about the support the people that attend Kemback Street will receive in the future.
I called this truly shocking and I stand by that view. Pushing through the Kemback Street closure at this stage is premature and, as was clear from the elequent contributions made by last night's deputations, not in the interests of the people who rely on the Out and About service and the Kemback Street Day Centre. Last night was, frankly, the nadir of the 11 years I have served on the City Council; this wholly wrong decision could and should have been avoided.
On a more positive note, at the same committee - Social Work and Health - I welcomed the really positive progress the Food Train service has made.
At the Environment Committee, I welcomed a recommendation to improve security fencing at the Dundee Law Allotments, but sought assurances that other allotments such as the City Road Allotments in the West End would be considered for future fencing improvements.
At City Development Committee, I questioned the quality of utilities' road repairs. The council's press release on the subject said : "Utility companies who dig up Dundee's roads continue to reinstate them to an acceptable standard." In fact, there are many examples in the West End of poor utilities' road repairs - an eagle eyed West End constituent has highlighted numerous examples to me recently and these have been taken up with the Roads Maintenance Partnership. The Director of City Development gave a helpful response to me about ensuring utility companies improve the sealing of roads reinstatements.
The Lord Provost gave a very fitting tribute to the life and work of Michael Marra and it was also with great sadness that councillors were told of the tragic death of City Council planning officer Scott Mill in a motorbike accident yesterday.