Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monday meetings

Yesterday, I took part in the latest meeting of the Balgay Stakeholders' group that gives the opportunity for representatives from Friends of Balgay to discuss issues around the park area with local councillors and representatives of the City Council's Environment Department.

It was a very positive meeting with a number of matters discussed, including:

* The "triangle" of ground outside Balgay Park at the Scott Street entrance has been improved and a new shrub bed and trees planted - see right.

* New roundabouts are about to be installed in Victoria Park (and also in the Roseangle playpark).     This is something I asked the Environment Department to do following the removal of the old roundabouts on safety grounds.

* Work on the Rose Garden is nearing completion, which is very welcome progress.   Two ramps are to be installed to allow for ease of access for visitors with mobility difficulties.   The garden is well-used by patients from Royal Victoria Hospital.   It was also good to hear that the Rotary Club has offered to sponsor two new pergolas at the Rose Garden.

* A second bench is now in place at the Poor Ground in Balgay Cemetery.

* A new set of alpines are to be planted in the Rose Window in Balgay Park.

After a site visit to discuss parking issues around the rail station area, I held my two weekly ward Monday surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and at Harris Academy and then I took part in City Council committee meetings.

At City Development Committee, I raised the on-going issues about safe drop-off and parking near the new West End schools campus (St Joseph's Primary School, Balgay Hill Nursery School and Victoria Park Primary School).   I was given assurances by the Head of Transportation that all necessary steps will be taken to ensure any concerns from parents and residents are addressed and I am grateful to his department, the police and the Head Teachers and staff at the schools for the attention they have given to addressing any problems in the Glenagnes Road/Blackness Road area when school pupils are going into or coming out of school.

At Social Work and Health Committee, I spoke in a debate about the proposed running of a revised consultation process with service users of the Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre - and their families.   I made clear my view that the Care Inspectorate had made significant criticism of the previous consultation process and that there was a need for the City Council to act promptly and effectively to address these concerns.    

The Director of Social Work recommended bringing forward a further report next month giving detail of a new consultation process.   The Labour Group put forward an amendment that would have effectively meant no response by way of a fresh consultation to the Care Inspectorate's criticisms until 2014.  That was not something I could support - the council does have a duty to respond timeously to the Care Inspectorate’s criticisms and apparently ignoring it for a year is not an acceptable response.    

The bottom line for me now is that there is a proper and meaningful consultation with all service users of Kemback Street and their families and I’ll await the Director of Social Work’s full report on the new intended consultation on 25th March.

One assurance I got from both the Convener and the Director was that, in bringing forward the detail of a new consultation to committee on 25th March, they accept that no final decision on the future of the Kemback Street facility should be made until every service user has undergone their assessment process, this has been completed and any agreed future service for that person has been communicated to and discussed with the service user and his or her family.