Notebook

Senior citizens’ furious over SNP/Tory council’s flowers decision

Before and after at Levengrove Park, Dumbarton.

We don’t have a very pretty town, but for me Levengrove Park was the jewel in the crown.

Joan Neil was one of 30 members of the older generation at an agility class in Dumbarton on Friday.

Joan, of Overwood Grove in Barloan, said the women were “in a state” at the news that flowers would be dispensed with and grass cutting reduced in our parks, cemeteries and open spaces.

She wrote to me after he fellow class members decided they would go en masse to Jackie Baillie’s office in Church Street to complain.

When they had calmed down a bit it was decided that Joan should be their envoy.

Would Jackie take up their plea to West Dunbartonshire Council – leave lovely Levengrove alone.

She said: “I was in a state at the decision to cut back on the displays at Levengrove.

“We don’t have a very pretty town, but to me Levengrove was the jewel in the crown.

“It was somewhere to take visitors and everyone loved all the bedding displays.”

Joan said the council decision was “the talk of the steamie”.

She added: “Surely there must be other ways for the Council to save money?”

There was yet another heated debate (protest) over the austerity measures taken by the heartless SNP administration – and their Tory and Independent make-weights.

Iain Ellis questioned what had happened to the £2.5 million grant for heritage preservation awarded to the Council.

“Bet they never put what they were going to do in their application. Wonder if they would have been awarded it if they knew?”

Carolynn Bowman said a Kirktonhill community council was being launched and the lack of flowers in the park was on their first meeting agenda.

Edward Sharkey asked: “Will they cut the grass for the events –  the pipe bands and other events in the park?”

Margo Sharp said: “They better hand that money back as it’s not fulfilled.”

Residents have pointed out that there is also the danger of what’s in the grass – “needles, broken bottles, cans and dog poo to name but a few.”

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Where have all the flowers gone? Dumbarton Municipal Building before the purge on petals. Picture by Bill Heaney.

Carolyn Bowman said she was walking to Dumbarton central when she noticed that the edges of grass spaces had been cut and the rest left.

Risk Street, she said “looks horrendous”.

She added: “The municipal buildings look like it has all been done. I can see some guerrilla gardening going to be happening.

“Gardeners I feel for you having to do half a job instead of the job you wish to do.”

Karen McKinley said: “Risk Street and many more are a total mess. Shame. We have a poor looking town.”

Allan Kane said: “The municipal buildings were and are classed as a high amenity area and cut the same as the parks (plots that had flower beds) and cemeteries so they will continue to be entirely cut but now it’ll be fortnightly and not weekly.”

He added: “I urge you to contact your councillors to voice your disgust at this.”

The employees in Green Space are hating leaving a job half done as they take a lot of pride in their work its affecting morale too, said James Docherty.

Naturally, being a shy, retiring, self-effacing person, I weighed in with my own opening on this controversy which has  the whole of West Dunbartonshire absolutely fuming.

I wondered had our Labour Party councillors been struck dumb on this?

We seldom hear from anyone Labour, apart from Jackie Baillie – and she’s not on the Council.

Mind you some councillors would have to possess a brass neck since they presided over an administration which was responsible for leaving us all in the dark, quite literally. Yes, Labour put the (street) lights out.

They closed OLSP which could easily have been refurbished and entered into penury inducing PPP and PFI credit agreements (initiatives my backside) to build a new one.

They hv taken our old folk out of the community and stuck them up in the hills at Crosslet, as they did with learning disabled people at the top of Garshake. And they have the cheek to wonder why they weren’t voted in again.

And then there are the town centres in Alexandria and Dumbarton.

What they’ve done with traffic management and stupid blinds on shops which pretend to no one that they are still open and fool no one is a scandal.

That the SNP, the Tories and the maverick Independent Bailie Agnew plan to squander our heritage by ruining the parks, cemeteries and open spaces in the name of biodiversity is a disgrace.

The Burgh Hall is bound to cost millions over the estimate and is delayed. Who chose the colour of the stonework?

And the banks of the River Leven have become a dumping ground from Dalreoch through Renton to Alexandria and Balloch, which may soon be blighted by a new Flamingo land.

Add all this to the fact that they grossly overpay their senior officials and have 6000 disaffected staff on their books, whose trade unions they have tried to dis-empower until they had to do a U turn.

I haven’t even mentioned library hours, music lessons, school milk and the cuts yet to come from the undemocratic and 50 per cent unelected HSCP in regard to health and social work and children’s services. It’s time the public shouted stop. These people are bringing our community to its knees.

Robert Geraghty didn’t mince his words either.

He said: “A wee border around grass plots…looks effing STUPID in ALL AREAS….wait till July when it’s two feet tall…look even more ridiculous.”

He said that one council cleaner had received a letter from the Housing Department telling her to get her grass cut.

It would appear that West Dunbartonshire Council is being administered by incompetent and inadequate elected representatives and run by some officials who don’t have a clue about politics and local government.

Nicola Sturgeon should start listening before these people see to it that the SNP are wiped out here.

The First Minister should instruct council leader Jonathan ‘Mower’ McColl to call off the SNP boycott of The Dumbarton Democrat.

There must be someone out there in their party who can defend the indefensible.

Bill for book

Bill Heaney

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