15/01/2016

Active Schools/Outdoor Learning transfer of jobs more detail required

At Monday evening's Policy & Resources there was an Agenda Note on the transfer of jobs in Active Schools and Outdoor Learning from the City Council to Leisure & Culture Dundee.  This is a major change and will have a major impact on the lives of these workers if it goes through. 

An Agenda Note is a brief way of reporting to a Dundee City Council committee.  I was appalled that this proposed major change was being put forward in a mere six paragraphs.  Those six paragraphs do not tell us how many jobs will be impacted by these proposals.  Bizarrely given the focus of the SNP Council on cutting £23 million there are no details of the financial implications of these proposals.  This is not good enough.  You can see the Agenda Note above.

I asked for an assurance that before any final decisions are made that there will actually be a proper report to the council.  Proper governance leads to better decisions.  I was pleased that the Administration agreed to my request, such a big change should not be made on such a flimsy prospectus.

12/01/2016

Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Action - Give the public a say

Monday evening's Policy and Resources Committee (pages 42-48 of the pdf file) heard about Dundee City Council's plans to develop a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan, the intention was to develop this plan with the Dundee Partnership.  I think that it is crucially important that we do all that we can to improve the environment in Dundee.  That is why I was at the forefront of the campaign to stop the Biomass Plant on the waterfront and why I continue to campaign about air quality in Dundee.

I welcomed the report and I support the plan to reduce carbon emissions across the city by 40% by 2030 and to look to improve resilience against the impacts of climate change.  I will always campaign to protect and improve the environment. 

Whilst I welcomed the report I thought that it did not go far enough in getting the people of Dundee involved in developing the plan.  I asked that there should be consultation with the wider population of Dundee about the plan.  I know that people in Dundee care about our environment and that they will be interested in how we can achieve reductions in carbon emissions and also mitigate the impacts of climate change.

I was very pleased that my plea was listened to this and this plan will be developed in consultation with the people of Dundee.  I will be seeking clarification about how this will be done.  In the meantime I am always happy to hear from anyone who has ideas about improving the environment here in Dundee, please get in touch.

I think that it is important that politicians at all levels, and officers at council and government level are prepared to listen to the people we serve.  We need to recognise that we are the servants of the people and that we have a duty to listen to them.

Air Quality - What is happening?

At the Environment Committee on Monday evening there was only one item, this was spending up to £7,500 to remove the air quality monitoring unit on Union Street.  I have been campaigning for improved air quality for a number of years and I do think that Dundee City Council needs to do all that it can to provide leadership and deliver improved air quality.

I asked whether officers were convinced that air quality had improved enough in Union Street for this equipment to be removed.  I also asked whether the equipment which was being removed could be reused.  Officers said that they were convinced that air quality in Union Street has improved and told me that the equipment could be reused.

I also asked whether the City Council is effectively using all the powers that it has to improve air quality.  I was told that I will receive a response to this later.  I look forward to getting a full response but I remain concerned that there needs to be more of a focus on improving air quality and the environment.  I will continue to campaign on this issue.

11/01/2016

Camperdown House - time for a long-term use to be found

As regular readers will know I have been campaigning for a long-term sustainable use for Camperdown House for a number of years.  Camperdown House belongs to the people of Dundee and they should have the ability to visit the house.  I also think that opening the house would add another dimension to a visit to the park.

Dundee City Council has been marketing Camperdown House for some time and apparently there has  been some interest in it recently.  I know that many many people were delighted last summer to visit the house when afternoon tea was being served by students from Dundee and Angus College.  I hope that the council will facilitate future ventures like this by the college.

I am not opposed to a commercial use for Camperdown House but there has to be some element of free, or at least relatively inexpensive, access to the house for the public of Dundee, who after all own the building.

Perhaps it could be a coffee shop or tea room, or maybe a few rooms which tell the story of the house or of the Battle of Camperdown and Admiral Duncan. 

I want to see action on this, there have been too many false starts at Camperdown House.