Grass is growing thick and fast at the Church Street roundabout and remarkably around the seats at the new walkway on the riverside.

West Dunbartonshire Branch of Unison

West Dunbartonshire Branch of Unison is seeking feedback on the grass areas of our local authority.
Have you seen these signs?  What does bio diversity mean for you?  These are just two of the questions being asked.
You may not have seen the signs, but you must have been living on the moon if you know nothing about the uproar there has been amongst residents about the reduction in council grass cutting – and the look of deprivation and dereliction if gives to the whole area.
One resident on social media had this to say: “It just makes West Dunbartonshire look more run down. This isn’t about biodiversity, it is only about [service] cuts.”
Martin Rooney, right,  replied: “There are designated areas for bio-diversity projects but there are other areas which are being left uncut and these are not biodiversity sites.
“We had an unprecedented £21 million funding gap this year and we prioritised protecting council jobs so we did not recruit the usual 40 temporary posts this year. We could only manage to support 15 temporary posts which meant we couldn’t cut all the areas that we wanted to.
“This year [when the funding gap will be around £12 million] we are doing a consultation so if people want to prioritise grass cutting over council jobs then they will have an opportunity to let us know in the West Dunbartonshire conversation which went live on Friday.”

Dumbarton resident Karen Docherty replied: “Martin Rooney that’s a bit confrontational Martin! I don’t think people want one over the other; simply accountability by elected members for the services that should be provided.

“It smacks of another ‘consultation’ with no real positive outcomes for employees or residents. It always comes down to ‘this is what people told us they want’ as the get out clause.”

Cllr Rooney told her: “You have an opportunity to submit your views, so its up to you whether or not you do so.”

She replied: “Yes, I did look at the consultation. The Council’s aims and objectives are set out and a series of statements relating to further cuts and dilution of services are to be put into priority order of our preference.

“There is no explanation of the potential consequences of each (how far reaching, hard hitting or cross cutting) – it doesn’t enable informed decision making so therefore is not a consultation.”

Labour are using straightforward Nicola Sturgeon tactics here. When ever they ask the SNP not to make cuts in a particulate service, the former First Minister’s reply was almost always the same:

“If you can tell us another service you would like to see on our list of proposed savings to replace the one you don’t want cut then please let us know what that is.”

The nearest local Labour have come to meeting her wishes was in regard to school bus services which the SNP wanted to slash and have pupils from deprived areas walking to and from school along dangerous roads in all weathers.

Labour did save the children and their parents from the consequences of this cruel SNP decision – but only by looking for money elsewhere – and finding – a new measure that did not require that cut to happen.

Now that grass cutting savings have so upset so many residents it looks as though Labour will have to find a similar solution for that, although the consultations on that will defer the problem until the autumn and leave the abandoned overgrown spaces as they are over the winter until the next budget in March.

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