PICTURES BY ALAN RUINE
By Bill Heaney
Local photographer Alan Ruine took these pictures on a stroll through Dumbarton. I would imagine however that the public will greet them with mixed emotions. Not the pictures themselves, of course, but what’s happening as the old Burgh is being razed to the ground and re-built for the 21st century.
The top left photograph shows work going on in the Castle Street site being prepared to accommodate the new Lidl supermarket. Many people see this as an opportunity missed to create a new town square with superb vistas of Dumbarton Castle, Levengrove Park and the confluence of the rivers Clyde and Leven.
Local resident Brian Joseph Flaherty said: “It beggars belief that a responsible council would approve this prime site to be used for the purpose of selling groceries.
“Maybe some tourists passing through the town will call into Lidl to get a view of the rock, but I wouldn’t bet the building has windows on the western side.”
The flats that have gone up on the old distillery site are far from pleasing to the eye. Is this the new Dennystown or Bellsmyre high flats? These people are plonkers, not planners.
The fact that the taxpayers pay good money to buy advice from consultants and planning officials did not seem to matter to our SNP/Tory administration on West Dunbartonshire Council, billeted round the corner in their offices, the astonishingly expensive Burgh Hall in Church Street, which rose from the ashes of the old one. It cost us £15 million and counting and it is still not fit for purpose.
Who ever heard of creating a debating chamber for a local authority where the public can neither see who’s speaking nor hear what is being discussed in their name?
Or open plan offices for a Social Work Department, most of whose business is supposed to be conducted confidentially? And which, only after a strike threat, the should be red-faced Council bosses have had to relocate?
Come on West Dunbartonshire. We deserve better than this. We are paying good money to live here but are being let down is so many ways from the neglect of our environment to the chaos on our roads.
Contrary to what the Council have to say, they are far from broke, although they insist on leaving Dumbarton neglected and untidy. It looks like one big traffic jam with the cars all going round in circles.
These photographs indicate that the River Leven and Dumbarton Quayside are crying out for a facelift.
Why don’t the Council spend some of the taxpayers’ hard-earned cash from the modern equivalent of the Common Good Fund, money which has been bequeathed to the local public over decades, on clearing the old wreck from the Leven for a start?