On Wave 102 News on Dundee air quality @wave102

I was on Wave 102 News and Radio Tay News yesterday, speaking about air quality issues, specifically highlighting the situation in part of Lochee Road.
You can hear the interview on Wave 102 by clicking ‘play’ below:

Roseangle Playpark campaign thanks Tay FM’s Cash for Kids! @RoseanglePark @tayfm

This afternoon, I had the pleasure in taking part in a presentation photocall at the Roseangle Playpark to mark the very generous donation of £5 000 to the playpark campaign from Tay FM’s Cash for Kids charity.
It was very generous of Cash for Kids to support the campaign and, as you can see below, many local children came along to the presentation with their parents to pass on everyone’s thanks!
Great turnout!
And many thanks to the Tay FM Cash for Kids team!

On Scotland’s Talk In – proposals to change Dundee’s bin collections

Last Sunday, I spoke on Tay AM’s “Scotland’s Talk In” about the City Council’s proposals to change Dundee’s bin collections, that would see the end of the universal weekly residual waste collections.    You can hear the programme here (13th April edition;  my contribution starts just after 1 hour 18 minutes).   I have since also spoken on Radio Tay News about the issue.
Yesterday, I met with the council’s Environment Director to discuss the report on this issue, going to council committee next Monday.
Whilst this was a useful and productive meeting and we both agree on the need to improve recycling opportunities, I made clear my view that this should not be done at the expense of the weekly general waste collection that constituents value.   The guidance to councils south of the border to authorities stresses that improving recycling need not and should not be at the expense of weekly bin collections of general waste – and highlights councils that are achieving recycling rates much better than Dundee’s but who still have a weekly general waste collection.
What is disappointing about the report going to committee on Monday is that the three “options” before councillors are all essentially the same – all propose fortnightly general waste collections – and that is not a real choice at all.

Disgraceful graffiti vandalism slammed

I was on both Radio Tay and Wave 102 News today, speaking about the disgraceful vandalism that took place in the Glamis Road, Hazel Drive and Elliot Road area at the weekend.
Residents are rightly outraged at this latest spate of graffiti vandalism, coming so soon after previous vandalism in the area.    
I hope that any resident who may have seen anything over Saturday night/Sunday morning in the area can contact Police Scotland on 101 to help bring those responsible for this mindless vandalism to justice.
You can hear my comments from Wave 102 News below by clicking ‘play’ below:

Olympia queuing concerns

As reported in today’s Courier, I have received feedback from the city’s Director of Leisure & Communities following constituent complaints about the length of queues facing customers using the new Olympia facility.   
The following comment from a constituent is typical:
‘The new Olympia is generally agreed to be lovely but, there seems to be a serious shortage of staff. At busy times there has been huge queues to enter the pool and there is little evidence of staff poolside. I heard this from 2 different sources so I don’t think it’s wrong, also one person said the people in the queue behind them said they had come several times in the school hols and it had always been a long wait to get in. What’s the point in building a magnificent new facility if it’s not staffed adequately?’
I raised the matter with the Director of Leisure & Communities who advised:
‘The building has been operating at capacity more or less from the off. We have had 63 000 customers in just over the first four weeks.
Given thus level of demand some queuing is enviable and we have been very impressed by the goodwill and patience shown. 
There really is no truth in the suggestion that the facility is under staffed. We have actually had extra staff on every day to ease the pressure from the agreed supervisory staffing levels . I wonder if the fact that the lifeguards in the new pool operate much more from fixed stations which are equipped with screens and underwater cameras is widely known.
I will share your constituents’ comments with the team but have no doubt that any delay is mainly down to volumes of visitors as opposed to delays caused by staffing levels.’
The large volumes of customers undoubtedly highlights the popularity of the new Olympia and that is to be greatly welcomed although a close eye does have to be kept to keep any queuing to a minimum, to ensure all customers get an enjoyable experience using the new facility.   
I do think it has to be appreciated that the facility is new and this will have boosted visitor numbers – just as the school holidays will have done – but I think we all want to see customers really enjoy their experience at the new Olympia, with queuing kept to a minimum.
I was interviewed yesterday by both Radio Tay News and Wave 102 News about the issue and you can hear the Wave 102 interview by clicking ‘play’ below:

Call for action by City Council as evidence published proving 20mph zones can cut casualties by 40%

With the new publication of evidence showing both support for and the positive benefits of Twenty’s Plenty 20 mph speed limits in highly residential areas:
A report in The Independent suggests that road casualties could be cut by 40% by the introduction of 20 mph limits in built-up areas.   
•20 mph zones have strong support amongst voters according to a ComRes opinion poll.
I have, as reported in yesterday’s Courier, called on Dundee City Council to take real action to explore the benefits in terms of pedestrian safety and implement Twenty’s Plenty zones in residential areas where there is support for this from local residents.
It is essential that each Dundee residential road is looked at, particularly on roads where there are a large number of children and where there could be a big benefit for road safety and improving the environment.    An opportunity should be taken to allow residents to bring forward proposals to the City Council.
This is an issue I have raised with the City Council on numerous occasions, following discussions with residents, and I have spoken with the Head of Transportation about the matter.    Although the city has 20 mph speed limits outside schools when school children are coming to/going from school, there is a paucity of “Twenty’s Plenty” zones in residential areas in Dundee and I feel this should be addressed where there is resident demand for safer speed limits in areas of residential housing, children out playing and elderly residents.
I have also been in discussion with Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity who have campaigned for safer residential streets.
I have received many requests from constituents highlighting the need for slower traffic speeds in residential areas.     Residents in various streets in the West End area he represents have raised the matter with me, including at Clayhills Drive, Ashbank Road, Elm Street and River Crescent.

I spoke on Radio Tay News about the matter yesterday – click ‘play’ below to listen:

West End Parking consultation ends today …

The consultation period relative to the proposals for part of the West End ends today.   I am on Radio Tay news this morning about this – click ‘play’ below to listen:
You can still respond to the consultation as long as the City Council receives your comments today.   This can be done electronically.   More details (plus a link to the on-line questionnaire) are available here.

Monday meetings …

This morning, I participated in the final meeting of the West End Schools’ Project Board – the working party that has overseen the new schools’ building project on the former Logie Secondary site that is now the superb new home to St Joseph’s Primary School, Victoria Park (previously Park Place) Primary School and Balgay Hill (previously Park Place) Nursery School.

I gave my views on a number of issues including safe drop-off/pick-up near the schools and the future of the former Park Place schools’ site – the latter is to be utilised by the Education Department for Head Teacher meetings and other uses up to June 2013.
I am delighted that there will be an evening community tour of the new schools as part of West End Christmas Fortnight – if you wish to take part, please call my Dundee City Council office on 434985.
I spoke during the day to both Wave 102 and Tay AM news about West End Christmas Fortnight and you can hear one of these interviews by clicking ‘play’ below:
After my ward surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and Harris Academy, I participated in tonight’s City Council meetings at which:
* I welcomed the proposal at the Environment Committee to replace the “missing” roundabouts at the Roseangle and Victoria Park playparks, something I have been campaigning for, on behalf of local residents. I also sought assurances about the maintenance of the high banking at Pentland.
* At Housing Committee, I sought assurances that the Green Deal will benefit all tenures, including tenants of registered social landlords.
* At the Policy and Resources Committee, I queried the revenue outturn monitoring report and have been given assurances that my concerns will be looked into.

Dundee Council Elections – a superb LibDem launch!

Dundee Liberal Democrats had a superb start to our local election campaign today, with a visit from Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat President.     Here’s some of us campaigning with Tim and Willie this afternoon: 
Willie was on Radio Tay news this afternoon about the Dundee Liberal Democrat campaign – click ‘play’ to listen:

On Radio Tay news – about Dundee House

I was on Radio Tay news yesterday and quoted in the Courier about the lack of proper public toilet provision at Dundee House, the City Council’s new headquarters.

At the HQ that cost Dundee council taxpayers some £36 million, there is only a disabled toilet facility but no general toilet provision.   It would have been a whole lot better if the Dundee public had been given some consideration.    

Although I have been told by the council’s Chief Executive that elderly people and young children will be allowed access to the disabled toilet, I have had a complaint from an elderly constituent who lives in sheltered housing that, on visiting Dundee House, he was told there is no toilet provision.

I do think the City Council can do better than this – after all, the Dundee public visiting Dundee House paid for the building!

Click ‘play’ below to listen to the news report on Radio Tay: