Thursday, May 31, 2012

Union Place/Perth Road junction

The planned resurfacing work at the Union Place/Perth Road junction was undertaken yesterday morning and I have already spoken with a couple of elderly residents who are delighted that this bit of road that was a potholed mess to try to walk across now has a much-improved surface - see right.

There are some minor potholes towards the bottom of the street and Tayside Contracts has assured me that these will be attended to as well.

Sunday Band concerts on Magdalen Green

This Sunday sees the start of the Summer Band Concerts on Magdalen Green, commencing with the Dundee Instrumental Band's free concert for the Diamond Jubilee - starting at the Bandstand at 2pm.   

Full details of the various concerts at Magdalen Green and elsewhere in the city are given below:

You can download this poster as a higher-quality PDF here.

Seymour Street and Shaftesbury Road - an update

Earlier this month, I mentioned that I had raised with Dundee City Council the poor state of repair of parts of Seymour Street's roadway (see right) and the west end of Shaftesbury Road.

The City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership has now updated me as follows:

"With reference to your email below, the Road Maintenance Partnership inspector has raised an order for the repair of the potholes in Seymour Street and Shaftesbury Road with a timescale for repair of twenty eight days or sooner. He has also raised an order to re-bed the setts in the channel and this will be done as soon as resources are available and earlier priorities have been dealt with."

(The sunken setts in the channel that are to be re-bedded are in Shaftesbury Road).

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Service 5 bus - west end of Perth Road

Earlier this month, I highlighted the concerns of local residents and myself at the decision of National Express Dundee to re-route the 5 bus service so that it no longer covers the very far west end of Perth Road - west of the Ninewells Avenue roundabout.   This means that residents in that part of Perth Road, Millbay Terrace, Millbay Gardens and Clovis Duveau Drive can no longer catch the 5 service near their homes, nor can visitors to the Riverview Nursing Home use the service anymore.

I am very grateful to the local residents who have kindly offered to collect signatures on the petition I have started - see below.    Any resident wishing to sign the petition, please let me know - 459378 or buspetition@frasermacpherson.org.uk - many thanks.

Nethergate Writers' event

I was pleased to be advised recently by Nethergate Writers that they have published another anthology.    It is called 'Wheels within Wheels'.     The theme this year is how the lives of people are entwined together - with a minor character in one story becoming the major one in another.

There is a reading event the Vine (see right) on the evening of 15th June.    The event is free to attend, with tickets available from Waterstones

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

LibDem Conference coming to Dundee!


As reported in today's Courier, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have chosen Dundee as the venue for their three day Spring Conference in 2013.

I am delighted to learn that my party has decided to again have its party conference in Dundee and all the more pleased that the West Park Centre – right in the middle of the West End Ward – has been chosen at the conference venue, with local hotels such as the Invercarse Hotel and the many high quality guest houses in the area benefitting for the 500-600 people who visit Conference every Spring.

Not only is it great to see Dundee again being chosen by a major political party as its Conference centre, it also represents a substantial boost to the local economy.   Delegates will spend money locally and that’s really good for the local area.

Major figures in the Liberal Democrats including members of the coalition government and the Holyrood and Westminster parliamentary parties will attend the conference, taking place from 15th – 17th March 2013.

I’ll be making a point of ensuring that our parliamentarians and other delegates see the great strides forward our city is taking – the success of our universities, the Waterfront and V&A at Dundee developments and so much more.   It is great to see our city continually attracting major events so I’ll be looking forward to welcoming  my party colleagues to Dundee and its West End next March.

Monday ...

Yesterday, I attended the latest meeting of the City Council's School Parking and Pupil Safety Working Group.

Following the initial meeting of the group before the recent City Council elections, a number of site visits to schools have taken place and feedback from these - along with risk assessments of schools' parking and drop-off facilities across the city - were discussed yesterday.

I was keen to emphasise that drop-off and parking arrangements at the new West End schools project - on the former Logie Secondary site at Glenagnes Road/Blackness Road - must be fully resolved before St Joseph's Primary School, Park Place Nursery School and Park Place Primary School move to their new homes in October.    There are a number of matters to be tackled in relation to this but the important thing is that we see much better facilities at the new site than in the current locations in Bellfield Street and Park Place.

After my two Monday ward surgeries (at Harris Academy and the Mitchell Street Centre), I had the pleasure of attending the latest committee meeting of the River Crescent Residents' Association, at which we discussed a number of local matters including vehicle speeds, road condition, the forthcoming Dundee WestFest events, Riverside Nature Park and local bus services.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Magdalen Green

With the recent good weather, it has been great to see local parks across the West End being well-used by the public, including Magdalen Green - see right.

The Friends of Magdalen Green and I have made clear to the City Council that there was a need for additional litter facilities - the "heritage style" bins look the part in a Conservation Area but simply do not hold enough litter.

As an experiment, the City Council's Environment Department last week installed half a dozen wheelie bins at specific locations at the Green edge - see below:
Feedback from residents to this has been pretty positive although, given the number of bottles left on the Green overnight on Friday, a number of residents have commented that the bins could be better sited - I have given their feedback to the City Council.

And ... with thanks to the City Council's Head of Transportation, who has given me his permission to reproduce his photograph below, here's the new Solar Powered Marker Lights that now run along the paths in Magdalen Green, making the route of the paths clearer at night:

Bioblitz ... and Balgay!

Yesterday afternoon, just before the start of the Friends of Balgay litter pick at Balgay Hill, I had the opportunity to call in at the start of the Bioblitz at Riverside Nature Park, run by Dundee City Council's Countryside Ranger Service - see right.

BioBlitz is a 24-hour event in which teams of volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers, and others from the local community work together to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms as possible.   It was great to see a good turnout of people on a beautiful Sunday afternoon!


However, I spent the bulk of Sunday afternoon helping with other volunteers from the Friends of Balgay to litter pick Balgay Hill.   It was a glorious afternoon to be doing this and lots of litter was removed from the hill.   Here's a couple of photos from yesterday's litter pick:
The Balgay Litter Pick Team - I am on the far right of the photograph
Me with Dr Hilda Spear, Chair of the Friends of Balgay

On a less positive note, I am grateful to the residents who have brought to my attention vandalism to part of the bill by persons unknown who have been digging out part of the field near the steps that come from Balgay Hill to form a makeshift mountain bike assault course.    See photos of the damage below:

The matter has been reported to Tayside Police and the City Council will restore the ground in the near future.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

West End Local Community Plan 2012-17

Last week, I mentioned that I had attended the launch of the eight news local community plans across the city.

The West End's new local community plan was written following an extensive consultation exercise with the West End community, including:


• 500 post cards distributed in prominent venues and shops across the area seeking views of local people about ways in which the quality of life could be improved

• Young people involved with the Pupil Representative Council at Harris Academy were asked to confirm local priorities

• Public events held in Dundee West Church, outside the supermarket on Perth Road, at Blackness Fire Station and at the WestFest community festival, at which local people were given the opportunity to discuss issues and to prioritise action

• All community groups and tenant and residents’ organisations were offered stakeholder meetings and 4 were held to discuss concerns and identify issues with a focus on solutions

• Dundee West Church’s Healthy lunch club and Logie and St John’s Toddlers and were asked to confirm priorities for action

• Local staff from a range of services asked to express their views on local needs and services

The summary of the West End's new local community plan can be downloaded by going to http://tinyurl.com/westendplan.

Councillor salaries and expenses - 2011/12

Yesterday's Courier highlighted the salaries and allowances claimed by Dundee City Councillors in 2011/12.

Of the councillors who served in the 2007-12 term and who did not retire or failed to be re-elected, my claim was the lowest across the City Council*  - because I refused the councillor salary increase in 2009 and have maintained this stance every year thereafter.  Additionally, I never claim expenses - and have not done so throughout my 11 years on the City Council.

I will continue throughout the next council term to refuse any increase in councillor salary, accepting pre-2009 salary levels, and, as long as I am a member of Dundee City Council, I will never claim expenses of any kind.

I am privileged to serve the people of the West End on Dundee City Council.   It is not about remuneration - it is about getting things done.

* Two others - former councillors - also had the lowest salary/expenses in 2011/12 - my sister-in-law and former colleague Helen Dick, who retired from the City Council at the recent elections, and Donald Hay, formerly a Conservative councillor, who was not re-elected.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Broadband services in the West End


Many constituents in the western part of the West End Ward get their telephone and broadband services from the telephone exchange at Invergowrie.   

A constituent recently wrote to me to say that various Broadband providers fail to give the best deals to people served by the Invergowrie exchange.    To quote my constituent:

"For example, Plusnet for broadband and calls would cost me £12.99/month but someone with an upgraded telephone exchange would pay £6.49.    Sky would be £7.50 for unlimited broadband and telephone calls, but a Sky customer with the Invergowrie exchange would be £17.   AOL is £10.20 for people with an updated telephone exchange, but I pay £19.99.

As you can imagine, I would really like to save money with a cheaper deal but have no idea when the exchange will be updated.  I have spoken to other people in the West End of Dundee and they are also financially disadvantaged by having to use this outdated exchange.  We don't have cable either so can't use companies like Virgin."

I took up this matter with BT, who own the exchange and their response is below.    I hope therefore that Broadband service providers will, in future, request installation of their equipment at the exchange to improve the commercial offering to people served by the exchange at Invergowrie:

"Dear Councillor Macpherson,

I'm replying to your letter of 15 May on behalf of your constituents who are served by the telephone exchange in Invergowrie near to the City of Dundee.

I’m unsure where your constituents have got the information from that Invergowrie exchange is outdated. That’s not so. It provides all the modern features to phone users and broadband services to residents and businesses in the area. It’s true that ADSL broadband technology is distance-based, but the individual user will get the best possible speed their line will support.  

When you mention that your constituents are unable to take advantage of less expensive broadband/telephone offers, I think you are referring to bundled packages – which include phone/broadband/TV - that are offered by companies.

Let me say that the UK is recognised as having one of the most competitive communications markets in the world.   A process known as Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) enables Communications Providers (CPs) to connect directly to the consumer via BT's copper local loops and then add their own equipment to offer broadband and other services.

CPs can request a LLU upgrade at any BT exchange in the UK to offer their services.   I can report that we have not had any requests from CPs to install their own broadband equipment at the Invergowrie exchange.   As you will appreciate, BT is not in a position to comment on what future plans a particular CP may have to offer LLU services at a particular exchange.   It’s entirely up them to make that decision.    In this case, as the exchange is small, CPs may perceive that it’s not commercially viable for them to invest.   The only advice I can give is that your constituents involved here talk to their CP and ask them about their commercial plans."

Eurovision ...

Each year, I do a bit of a Eurovision theme and, this year, as Britain heads to guaranteed defeat tonight in Baku, I thought I'd highlight one of my favourite Eurovision losers of all time!


Gigliola Cinquetti's 1974 entry for Italy - "Si" - was one of the best Eurovision entries of the 1970s but faced something of an uphill struggle in that she was up against Abba and "Waterloo".  Gigliola Cinquetti came a creditable second to Abba that year, with Olivia Newton John's UK entry "Long Live Love" coming fourth.


Here's the Gigliola Cinquetti original version:
... and here's a rather good cover in English by Tears n' Joy from 1993:

Riverside Drive footpath - an update

Earlier this week, I highlighted the concerns residents and I have about the new footpath on the north side of Riverside Drive (in front of the development site at the old Homebase store) being, in our view, too close to the very busy roadway and too narrow.

I have been in correspondence with the Head of Transportation at Dundee City Council regarding the matter, asking what the possibilities are for moving the footway a bit away from this hugely busy roadway - or widening the pavement - or installing safety barriers.

Most recently, I have received this feedback:

"The pavement will be constructed as the development progresses and I cannot envisage a pedestrian barrier being installed along the very extensive length.

I will ask for a Road Safety Review of the temporary set up and the permanent layout but do not anticipate anything significant - the speed limit reduction to 40mph will hopefully change the feel of this road.  

More significantly the rail footbridge will significantly change pedestrian routing in the future (reduced use of north footway of Riverside is expected)."

The Road Safety Review is to be welcomed and I have asked for feedback once this has been carried out.   However, I remain concerned that the footpath here could have been constructed differently - and better - and I will be keeping a close eye on the situation as development on the site progresses.

Gibson Brothers ...

To round off disco-retro week, the GIbson Brothers:

Friday, May 25, 2012

West End Local Community Planning Partnership

Last night, after my ward surgery at Blackness Primary School, I attended the latest West End Local Community Planning Partnership (LCPP) meeting at the Tartan Coffee House in Perth Road.    


The LCPP meeting remains a great 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 and matters of concern and also let local residents raise issues, ask questions and have their say.


We started with a presentation from a local 10 year old pupil of Blackness Primary School who recently wrote to me saying he and his friends would like to see a skatepark in the West End as the nearest facility - Dudhope Park - is so far away.   Along with his father, we have met with the City Council's Head of Environmental Management to discuss the viability and last night we sought the support of the LCPP meeting to move this forward.  Obviously funding is the major issue - finding a site for it in public ownership in the West End is less of an issue -  and the LCPP enthusiastically supported the idea - everyone was so impressed that a primary school pupil aged 10 had not only come up with this idea but had the confidence and ability to address the meeting on the issue.

The LCPP has tasked several senior officers to help make this project a reality in time and I am delighted at the LCPP's support.

We had a very useful discussion about recycling and I again emphasised my wish to see recycling opportunities in the West End increase - including allowing more types of recycling at Neighbourhood Recycling Points.    A number of other issues were discussed including dangerous and derelict buildings and house/flat factoring - and I sought support for residents in the far west end area of Perth Road (including Millbay Terrace/Gardens and Clovis Duveau Drive) who are very concerned at the decision of National Express Dundee to withdraw their area from the Service 5 bus route.

We had a lengthy LCPP meeting last night but it was both productive and positive.    It highlighted just how many positive initiatives are taking place right across the West End Ward, the great community spirit in the West End (evidenced by the recent community graffiti clean up and litter pick with around 70 volunteers taking part) and the desire of all on the LCPP to tackle issues facing our area.

Union Place

On behalf of residents, I have raised the condition of the roadway at the Union Place/Perth Road junction.    I am grateful to the council's Roads Maintenance Partnership that has agreed to resurface here.

The City Council has now released the following Public Notice about the work:


THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 - SECTION 14(1)

THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of carriageway resurfacing works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Union Place, Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Monday 28 May 2012 for 3 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.    Access will be maintained where possible.   No alternative routes are available.

For further information contact (01382) 433168.

Mike P Galloway
Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Chic - Everybody Dance


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hillcrest Road - an update

Hillcrest Road
Last month, I updated residents that the very poor road surface in Hillcrest Road was, at last, to be resurfaced.

The work should have started this week, but residents have contacted me to say it hasn't.    I sought an update from Tayside Contracts who advised me yesterday:


"The works at Hillcrest Rd have been delayed due to a number of reasons. A combination of the poor weather experienced from April to date and unforeseen circumstance being experienced on a number of other jobs have prevented the works starting when planned. To exacerbate this, the closure for the works was for a fixed period of 5 days preventing us from simply moving the works back a week until the over running works were completed. In order to carry out the works we have had to apply for a new closure and to ensure there is flexibility to deal with any future unforeseen circumstance a full flexible closure has been applied for. Unfortunately this process takes 6 weeks to promote, with the works now programmed to commence 4th July 2012. Signs will be placed to inform the residents that the works have been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. I apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused residents.

As indicated previously, the works are not to be a series of individual patches, they comprise of a 40mm full width patch for approximately ¾ of the street (150m), starting at Blackness Ave going west towards Marchfield Rd."

I asked that the promised signage to update residents be placed as soon as possible (as residents were avoiding parking outside their homes expecting works to start imminently) and was given a commitment by Tayside Contracts that this would be done yesterday.

It is obviously disappointing that the work has been slightly delayed but we will undoubtedly see a much better road surface in Hillcrest Road by early July.

Pleasance Court - new residents' group

Pleasance Court
Last night, I chaired a very productive and positive meeting with residents of Pleasance Court ("The Coffin Mill") off Brook Street, and am grateful to all residents who attended and to Home Scotland representatives who both hosted the meeting in the residents' lounge and participated in the discussion.   Ross & Liddell, who factor many of the properties on the south side of the mill, are also very supportive.

The principle of re-forming the residents' group was agreed by all who attended and will be holding another meeting in the coming weeks to progress this and to update everyone on progress with actions taken as a result of issues raised last night.    Between Home Scotland, Ross & Liddell and myself, an update will be sent to every household on issues that have been raised and seeking views/feedback.

Numerous issues were raised including home and parking security, bins, repairs and concern about the state of the nearby Queen Victoria Works site - an issue I am continuing to pursue with the City Council.


Residents had previously raised with me the bad graffiti in Douglas Street opposite the entrance to Pleasance Court.   I had raised this with the council's Rapid Response Team and they swiftly attended to this earlier this week - see below:
Before ...


After ...
After this residents' meeting, I was pleased to catch part of the Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden meeting that took place in the Botanic Garden Education Centre on a beautiful warm evening.    The Friends have achieved very substantial donations and earmarkings to assist the Botanic Garden and it was good to learn of the establishment of a Dundee Botanic Garden Endowment Trust.

A classic by Sylvester ...


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blackness Primary School Parent Council

Last night, along with a ward colleague, I attended the latest meeting of the Blackness Primary School Parent Council.

There was a very useful Head Teacher update on a number of matters including pupil activities, school refurbishment and the School Improvement Plan.

The school's Jubilee Summer fete is on Saturday 9th June from 10am to 12 noon.    Entry is £1 for adults 50p for children and includes refreshments.   The children are making paper bunting to decorate the school grounds

There will be a number of stalls - including home produce, plants, etc -  plus craft activities eg decorate a crown;   Royal games eg Jousting;   "horse" racing etc;    and ... a Royal Fancy dress competition!

The school is also inviting alumni from the days of the start of the Queen's reign - from both the former Hawkhill and Blackness schools. 

It should be a great morning - and all residents welcome!

And the beat goes on - The Whispers ...


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Unveiling of Memorial Plaque - Balgay Cemetery Poor Ground


At lunchtime today and along with representatives from Friends of Balgay, ward colleagues, the City Council's new Environment Convener, council staff and local residents, I had the honour of  attending a photo call event to mark the competition of a memorial to around 10 000 Dundee people buried in unmarked graves at Balgay Common Ground between 1870 and 2004.

Works have involved selecting and placing a large boulder in the chosen corner of the grounds and installing a simple memorial plaque to the boulder face.    Leading to the boulder, a short path was created with an edging made of reclaimed cassie stones. Around the path and surrounding the boulder, 4000 spring and summer bulbs have been planted.  

This project  could not have been carried out without the generous donation of a sum of money collected by Ben Malone, whose enthusiasm for making the project happen made it all possible.    It was good to see Ben's tremendous enthusiasm, fundraising and hard work recognised at today's event.

Under construction some weeks ago

Detail of wording on the plaque

Ben Malone (left) with Environment Convener Cllr Craig Melville unveiling the Memorial Plaque

New local community plans across Dundee

This morning, I attended the launch of the new local community plans across the eight wards covering the city, including the West End.    See photo - right.

This was a well-attended event at the Marryat Hall involving community representatives, council officers and councillors and representatives from other partners such as NHS Tayside, Tayside Police and Tayside Fire & Rescue.

The Community Plans aim to tackle many local issues in communities across Dundee and there is a detailed new plan covering the West End 2012-17.

The next meeting of the West End Local Community Planning Partnership takes place on Thursday of this week at 7pm at the Tartan Coffee House, 53 Perth Road - all residents welcome!    Here's the agenda for Thursday's meeting:


WEST END LOCAL COMMUNITY PLANNING PARTNERSHIP MEETING
TO BE HELD ON THURSDAY 24 MAY 2012 AT 7.00 PM
IN THE TARTAN COFFEE HOUSE, 53 PERTH ROAD, DUNDEE

AGENDA

1. WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

2. WEST END SKATE PARK - BLACKNESS PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPIL

3. MIXED RECYCLATES KERBSIDE COLLECTION PILOT - JEFF HALKETT, ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT

4. MINUTE OF LAST MEETING OF 23 FEBRUARY 2012 AND MATTERS ARISING

5. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PLAN

6. DEPARTMENT, AGENCY AND ORGANISATION UPDATE

7. OPEN FORUM ON ISSUES RAISED BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

8. DATE OF NEXT MEETING :  Thursday 23 August 2012

Road surface at Harris Academy

Yesterday, along with the West End roads inspector and a local resident, I took part in a site inspection of the roadway in Perth Road outside Harris Academy, where - in the layby adjacent to the bus stop - the road condition is poor, leading to large puddles forming.   See photo of road surface - right.

This situation is inconvenient for bus passengers getting off the bus and is exacerbated by the rainwater that flows south out of the West Park complex nearby.

Although the layby here will be reconfigured and improved in time as the new Harris Academy building project gets underway, the new school building will not open until 2016 and I have asked for patching repairs meantime.

Robin Gibb

No look-back at the disco greats of the 70s and 80s would be complete without the Bee Gees and it was dreadfully sad to learn of the passing of the hugely talented Robin Gibb on Sunday:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Friends of Balgay

Earlier today, I took part in the latest meeting of the Balgay Stakeholders' Group at which City Council Environment Department staff, Friends of Balgay and West End councillors discuss issues at Balgay Hill, Balgay Park and Victoria Park.

Following on from the highly successful West End litter pick and graffiti clean-up last week, the Friends of Balgay are having their own litter pick in Balgay Park next Sunday (27th May) starting outside the Mills Observatory (pictured right) at 2pm - all volunteers very welcome!

Election of new Lord Provost

I have just returned from attending the Statutory Meeting of Dundee City Council.

The SNP Administration has made a good choice in their nominee for Lord Provost.   Bob Duncan is able, articulate and a very pleasant man.   I have no doubt he will make an excellent job of being Dundee’s new Lord Provost and I wish him well in his new and important role.

Riverside Drive - new footpath

Residents have recently commented to me about the new footpath being constructed round the building site at the old Homebase in Riverside Drive, where flats are to be constructed.


It is correctly being built at the 'road' side to avoid the public safety concerns about the old claustrophobic pathway that previously ran at the 'railway' side, but residents have raised concerns that the new footpath at the road side is both narrow and has been built right against the (extremely busy) road edge.   There is already a little bit of existing footpath at the road edge just past (east) the entrance to Tesco but it is wider and very short.

I have asked the City Council to confirm if this is to be the permanent footpath?   I have echoed to the City Council the views of local residents who feel that, from a safety perspective, it would be much better if this pavement was back off the road a bit.

Sheila B Devotion

Favourite disco hit of 1979!    Loved it ...
And it was stolen 20 years later by Alcazar (and rather well ...)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Superb WestFest fundraiser!

If you want tickets, e-mail me at teaparty@frasermacpherson.org.uk - many thanks!

"Keep Clear" markings at Pentland

I was pleased to note that, at my request and following the recent road resurfacing on Colinton Place and Pentland Crescent, the "Keep Clear" signs on the bend in the road have been re-painted.    See below:
Immediately after the surfacing work, the bin collection could not take place in Colinton Place due to cars parked on the bend and the markings are a helpful reminder to drivers.

Disco theme continues ... you were warned!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Concert

Harris Academy
A concert has been arranged in Dundee West Church on Thursday 14th June at 7.30pm by pupils from Harris Academy and associated Primary Schools. 

It includes the School Orchestra, School Wind Band, School Guitar Group, Choirs, Soloists, and Pipers.

It will be a great evening and all local residents welcome!

This time I know its for real ...

I'm amazed at the extent of feedback from the item I put on my blog on Thursday, following the sad passing of Donna Summer, giant of 70s and 80s disco.   In fact, I have not had such a huge response in terms of comments, e-mails, etc to an article since the 2008 item I had on Dusty Springfield's 'All I See Is You'.

It sort of got me thinking about the disco greats I loved at the time and - with Eurovision 2012 next week - its probably rather appropriate to have a new musical theme for the week - Disco you loved (but probably wish you'd forgotten!) - stand back, you have been warned!

First off, another from Donna Summer - "This time I know its for real":

Busy Friday ...

Yesterday, following my raising concerns that the latest City Council new recycling kerbside collection pilot excluded the West End Ward (and two of the other seven wards in Dundee), I met with the City Council's Environment Director and the Head of Environmental Protection regarding the matter.

We had a useful discussion and I did obtain assurances that the department aims to swiftly roll out the facility to as many 'viable' houses as possible, hopefully this financial year.   It is expected that a report will go to the council's Environment Committee later in the year regarding the roll-out programme and I will expect to see West End households benefiting from the extension of recycling facilities at that time.     I also raised the need to offer plastics recycling at Tesco Riverside and aluminium cans recycling at the Roseangle Car Park recycling facility and was promised that this would be considered.

Also yesterday, I had a site meeting with local residents and a City Council officer about improving security at the Lochee Park Bowling Green and thereafter met with representatives of the Community Spirit Action Group and a representative from Dundee City Council about the quality of grass maintenance in Pentland.    We viewed the remote controlled grass cutting machine in action (see right) and sought assurances about the way the grass is cut across Pentland to ensure a good quality result.

I had a superb lunch at the Dundee West Church Healthy Eating Lunches and the chance for a chat with Rev Andrew Greaves about local issues.   The Healthy Eating Lunches remain a hugely well-attended community resource.   Next Friday's are the last before the summer break but they will be back later in the year!

Late yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending a reception (see right) to launch the University of Abertay Dundee Digital Graduate Show, showcasing work by students in areas such as computer arts, creative sound production, game design, visual communications and media design.   A fantastic event and great to hear students talk about their work and ambitions.    See more below ...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tomorrow at Wighton ...


Tomorrow (Saturday 19th May) at the Wighton Heritage Centre, Central Library at 11 am (doors open and coffee from 10.30am): 

Bob Turner, piano, and Karen Hannah, fiddle

Admission £5 includes coffee and newspapers.

Bob Turner (piano) -  Bob started his career on accordion but in recent years has switched to piano which has put him in even more demand.     He can be heard regularly with the band Ceilidh Minogue, with Brian McAlpine (accordion) in I.C.C.Scotland and has worked with fiddler Bruce MacGregor and with Pete Clark in the Neil Gow Ensemble.   Bob works with Gavin Marwick writing music for films and gifts. See their site at  www.musicalcommissions.co.uk

Karen 'The Tune Monster' Hannah  -   Karen is a veteran of the Scottish traditional music scene with an astounding repertoire of Scottish and world fiddle tunes literally at her fingertips. 

Karen performs with numerous professional bands and ensembles both at home and abroad including Randan, The Moonzie Allstars, Broon Troot Orchestra, The Orwell Ceilidh Band,  Sporran Again and Ceilidh Minogue to name just a few. 

Karen also has a few other duo projects notably with accordion/piano player Alan Small and with Red Hot Chilli Piper Kyle Howie.

West End Sports and Heritage Association - and WestFest update!

Last night, I attended a really productive and positive committee meeting of the West End Sports and Heritage Association (WESHA) that is doing great work to improve sport facilities and the environment across the West End.

It was great to welcome new groups to the latest meeting - Hillcrest Bowling Club and Dundee City Aquatics - and to also learn that the West End Tennis Association is getting involved.

We spent most of the evening planning our contribution to Dundee WestFest's Big Sunday.    WestFest's programme was just back from the printers and looks superb!   You can read the on-line details at www.dundeewestfest.com. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Students' Union ATM - now in place!

Further to my item yesterday about the need for a new RBS cash machine at the University of Dundee Students' Union, the bank has moved fast to deliver its promise of a new machine - now in action - see below.
Although I was very critical of the bank's decision to close the student bank branch, I am nonetheless grateful that it has honoured its promise to keep a free cash facility for university students.

Donna Summer - Queen of Disco

Very sad to learn of the passing of Donna Summer, whose superb music had so much influence during my younger years.   'Last Dance' was always my favourite Donna Summer hit: