29/10/2009

Ricky Miller RIP


I want to pay tribute to my friend and colleague Ricky Miller who died last Saturday. Ricky was a stalwart of the Labour Party in Dundee. Ricky served for many years as the treasurer of the party and did an excellent job. He will be sorely missed. All political parties need people like Ricky who work away to ensure that the organisation works. Ricky's views and advice were always worth listening to. The picture above shows Ricky hard at work during an election campaign.

More importantly, away from politics Ricky was a family man and will be missed by his many friends and family, especially Eleanor his wife. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this time and I shall miss Ricky.

Tribute to local businessman

I was saddened recently to hear of the death of Jacob Chacko a restauranteur in the West End. I didn't know him personally but I do know that he made a major contribution to the community in the West end and he was responsible in some ways for the level of restaurants on the Perth Road. To read his family's tribute to him click here.

Bellfield Street/Hawkhill Junction

West End Councillor Richard McCready today welcomed moves by Dundee City Council's City Development Department to address concerns about the traffic lights at the junction of Bellfield Street and Hawkhill. Councillor McCready raised concerns with the department after constituents noticed that drivers turning left from Bellfield Street into Hawkhill were stopping for the red light on the Hawkhill which was not meant for them. To see a map of the area click here.

Councillor Richard McCready said, 'A couple of constituents raised this issue with me, and subsequently I noticed drivers doing this myself. These traffic lights were replaced over the summer and I think that the slightly different set up has caused a little confusion. Officers from the City Development Department have visited the site and decided that an extended hood on the red signal concerned should solve the problem. I will be keeping an eye on the situation but I am very pleased that there has been prompt action by the council on this issue.'


Notes

Please see below the response received from the City Development Department

My officers have visited the Hawkhill/Bellfield Street junction to observe driver behaviour and did observe one driver hesitating as they made the left turn from Bellfield Street. The convention that should be followed by drivers is that they should only stop at the red light if a solid white line is present. In the example you describe the drivers are observing the secondary red signal which relates to traffic approaching from the west (Hawkhill) and should continue through the junction unless other obstructions are present. This layout is fairly standard; however, to minimise any confusion we have arranged for an extended hood to be installed on the red signal.

Al Maktoum Graduations

On Wednesday afternoon I attended the graduation ceremony of the Al Maktoum Institute which was held in the Marryatt Hall. it was good to see a range of people from across the world and also some from Dundee being rewarded for their hard work.

Professor Nye, the principal of the institute, outlined their vision for the future and if they are successful it will be a very exciting project. I'd like to congratulate everyone who graduated and wish the Institute all the very best for the future. To find out more about the Institute visit their website. For more about their ambitious plans click here. The Al Maktoum Institute has played a role in the community in the West End and could do a lot more if their ambitious plans come to fruition.

Community Fire Safety

As a member of Tayside Fire and Rescue Board I visited MacAlpine Road Fire Station to get a briefing on community fire safety. To read a little more about the work of the community fire safety department visit their website.


I was very happy to get the opportunity to find out more about the work of the Community Fire Safety Department of Tayside Fire and Rescue. The work of firefighters nowadays is so much more than firefighting, they play an important role in educating people in an attempt to prevent fires. It was very interesting to hear about the range and breadth of the work which they undertake. They promote home fire safety visits and also undertake statutory fire safety work in commercial premises. It is clear that they do a lot of work in an attempt to keeps fires and fire injuries to an absolute minimum. Unfortunately we will never be able to replace the frontline firefighter who attends fires in an emergency but it is clear that lots of excellent work is being done to educate the public to promote fire safety.

27/10/2009

Dundee City Disability Sports Council


This evening I attended a meeting of Dundee City Disability Sports Council. This was a very interesting meeting. The Disability Sports Council is looking to buy a new mini-bus and is actively fundraising. Please contact them if you are able to help. Over my time involved with this organisation I have been incredibly impressed by the work done by volunteers to promote disabled sport and also by the sporting prowess of those who take part.

Dundee Leisure Meeting


Tonight I attended a board meeting of Dundee Leisure, I am one of the Directors of this company, appointed by Dundee City Council. Dundee Leisure runs excellent sports facilities across Dundee. To find out more about Dundee Leisure's services visit their website.

Digital Switchover


This afternoon the City Council arranged for a briefing on the Digital Switchover for TV. I have already received a briefing on this but it was good to hear the latest updates. For details please see the Digital UK website.

Dundee City Council meeting Monday 26th October

Monday evening saw the latest meeting of the City Council and its committees, for the agendas click here.



Community Safety Partnership Annual Report



At the meeting I spoke on a number of items. As Labour's spokesperson for Leisure, Arts and Communities I spoke at that committee. I spoke about the Community Safety Partnerships Annual Report for 2008/09. This is an important report, I said, ' This report is welcome and it is important to see proper partnerships operate between all the agencies involved in making Dundee a safer place. It is important that the concerns of a great many of our constituents are looked at and are acted upon. Concerns about vandalism are really important to constituents.


Clearly illegal drugs and alcohol cause many of the problems which cause problems for people in Dundee. The use of illegal drugs and the misuse of alcohol are things that we should not tolerate.
I am glad that this partnership sees focusing on antisocial behaviour, controlled drugs, acquisitive crime, violence reduction and raising community safety awareness. We know that Dundee is a great place to live and work in and we must all work hard to ensure that all the citizens of Dundee feel safe in our city.'




Outdoor access improvements



The Council proposes to spend some money upgrading the green circular and paths in Balgay Park. The plans in Balgay Park enhance the area around the Hird or Balgay Bridge. I performed the official re-opening of Balgay Bridge back in 2008. I welcome these proposals, 'Improving outdoor access is an important part of making sure that our city is as attractive as possible. The Green Circular is popular and I am sure that the improvements will be welcomed. Walking in Balgay Park is also very popular and I know that a lot of people are very happy to see the refurbished Hird or Balgay Bridge; I welcome these moves which will make it more accessible.'



Budget Process



The Policy and Resources Committee received a report about the budget process for next year. We heard a deputation from the trade union UNISON, which sought to protect jobs and services. I made a few comments on this, 'It is clear that the Scottish Government has more money to spend this year than it had last year. The Scottish Government's budget is rising by £600 million in the next financial year. Mr Salmond has double the amount of money to spend than was available to Donald Dewar in 1999. In 2009-10 the Scottish Government budget was £29.38 billion; in 2010-11 it rises to £29.98 billion; this is both a cash increase and a real terms increase.'


'The SNP Administration in the Scottish Government is cutting local government's budget in real terms by 0.5%. Local government spend as a proportion of Scottish Government spend is lower under the SNP. Since the SNP low of 32.3% in 2007-08, the share of spend has consistently risen to 33.9% to this year, but this is still less than it was under Labour.'


'All of us elected by the people of Dundee have a duty to work together in the best interests of the people of Dundee to deliver a budget in the best interests of the people of Dundee. That's a budget that protects jobs and services and keeps the Council Tax as low as a possible. We have to work together to deliver for the people of Dundee. These are difficult economic times across the world we must make the best of it and not be distracted by blaming other people. This is the time for a mature approach to the budget not for petty point scoring.'



Fairer Scotland Fund



I asked officers of the council what they intended to do in subsequent financial years with the Fairer Scotland Fund. This fund will cease to be ring-fenced next year and the Scottish Government has made no commitment beyond the end of the next financial year. I think that this uncertainty is a problem for the many voluntary organisations who serve the people of Dundee.