Monday, 27 October 2014
A lengthy set of City Council committee meetings tonight at which :
* At Education Committee, I welcomed a report on extending language learning in primary schools (Blackness PS is in the pilot of this) and asked questions about choice of languages.
* At Environment Committee, I paid tribute to the Friends of Magdalen Green (and in particular Sharon Dickie and Alice La Rooy) for their huge efforts with the Roseangle playpark campaign, which reached fruition tonight as committee approved the go-ahead for the improvement works. I also welcomed improvements to the Ancrum Road allotments and queried progress with the review of the council's vehicle fleet.
* At Housing Committee, I supported a Labour amendment to allow for an additional (and lower) possible rent increase option to be included in the proposed consultation with tenants on 2015/16 rent levels (this was defeated by the SNP administration). In a debate on the review of council housing allocations policy, I emphasised the need for a facility to allow people to apply to the waiting list on-line and asked a question about progress towards the Common Housing Register, bringing together allocations/waiting lists of all major social landlords in Dundee.
* At City Development Committee, I welcomed use of Vacant and Derelict Land Fund monies to produce a feasibility study to support redevelopment of Queen Victoria and Regent Works and queried the suggested siting of an electric vehicle charging point on Perth Road west of Shepherd's Loan.
* At Policy & Resources Committee, I supported Bailie Derek Scott's proposal that the council make no submission to the Smith Commission on the basis that no submission could adequately summarise the views of all four political parties on the council. Unsurprisingly, the motion from the SNP administration was simply a re-hash of the SNP government's submission and adds nothing to the debate whatsoever. It is better that parties seek common ground, in my view.
On the issue of the council's draft Gaelic Action Plan, I successfully moved an amendment that allows the draft to go forward as a basis for consultation on the Plan (this is a legal requirement), but with no commitment on the part of the City Council to implement all or any of the recommendations in the draft. I am totally against significant expenditure on new signage, translation services, etc in a city with such a small Gaelic-speaking population.