War and Peace – which was it? The Battle of the Burgh Hall or Peace Breaks Out in the Council Offices.

By Bill Heaney

Not a few feathers appear to have been ruffled in the Flamingo Land row.

Cllr Jonathan McColl, the Council leader, appears to have turned 40 shades of pink and  lost the plot entirely.

Perhaps he has confused the campaigners’ attempts to get into the planning consultation meeting in the Burgh Hall with the D-Day Landings at Normandy?

Cllr McColl told social media: “I learned only today that the folk who could not fit into the public gallery not only shoved a female member of staff out of the way to storm into the Council buildings.

“But I am told they rammed through the mag-locked rear double door which has had to be repaired.

“This is the sort of folk that they think can positively influence councillors to support their point of view.”

Shoved, rammed and stormed?

Flamingo rocksThe Council leader appears to have been misinformed to the extent that it coloured his language a deep shade of flamingo pink.

John Nisbet, the chair of Bonhill and Dalmonach Community Council, wasn’t soldiering in the same war, it seems.

John told his members on Facebook: “Last night your Chair was in a party of almost 40 local residents who were refused entry to the Public Galleries of the Council Chambers.

“The intention was to listen to the debate about the Flamingoland /Lomond Banks development.

“It is not clear why this group were not allowed in. All had arrived in good time and apparently there were seats still free in the public gallery.

“At first we were told that 50 seats would be placed in the Atrium and a screen provided, then the steward appeared again and said that Provost [William Hendrie] had decided that no one would be allowed in. The doors were then closed and locked.

“Shortly after that it was noticed that one of the middle doors was slightly open and soon the group made their way past the stewards into the atrium area and began singing The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond plus We shall not be moved.

He added: “The unanimous vote against the proposed development made the whole event worthwhile.

“No one in the group was belligerent towards the staff or caused damage to the building. The WDC stewards reacted courteously and competently. The whole affair was conducted spontaneously and with good humour.”

Mr Nisbet, wearing his other hat as Acting Secretary of the Bonhill and Dalmonach Community Council, will now be writing formally to Provost William Hendrie to ask for an explanation.

Local resident Janet Docherty said: “That’s the way to do it, hold them to account. Well done all you good folks for fighting the good fight. Respect.”

lock out.jpg 2

It’s a lock-out. Some members of the public were locked out of the council meeting.

One comment

  1. Is Councillor McColl having a laugh!!! I was there, on the ground. He was NOT. His comments are totally inaccurate. Despite arriving at 1740 hrs we (40/50 people) were refused access, in the most courteous fashion , by the concierge who confirmed that the public gallery was full? Eh….33 seats???

    Over the next 30 mins or so, we had direct conversations with Jim Bollan and a member of the Communications team expressing our frustration at being denied access. After a recess…. to decide how to tackle the ‘problem’ (us!!) we were advised that the Provost had decided to simply proceed… with us outside the building. Wow. Is that what you really call democracy?

    Fast forward approx 10 mins. A member of staff was leaving the building and the door was ajar. What’s a democratic protester supposed to do? So door still open… we walk in and start singing….not always in tune; and having a laugh because none of us knew all the verses 😂 Good-humoured and respectful to the end.

    And to prove the point:- Here’s an extract of an email I sent to Councillor McColl on Saturday

    “As for the Council meeting earlier this week…the ‘public’ side was shambolic. 33 seats? Really? The Council hadn’t prepared any contingency plans for a high turnout …. with emotions running high. I won’t charge a fee for this free advice….but, should this ever happen in future I suggest you identify another meeting room; set out x chairs and use new technology to stream the live broadcast to the people who were refused access. Not rocket science? Just a bit of forward thinking/belts and braces. “

Leave a Reply