Tuesday update …

Yesterday, I participated in a cross-party workshop with the City Council’s IT department at which a prototype in-house computer application to assist councillors with constituent casework and other enquiries was demonstrated and discussed.

In the afternoon, I was able to attend part of the latest Go Dundee Dundee Wave of Change planning meeting, introduced by Gerry Hassan. There was very interesting group discussion about possible community engagement events and you can read more about Go Dundee and the Wave of Change at http://www.godundee.co.uk/.

Last night’s “Evening Telegraph” has a great feature about the West End (although only in the actual newspaper – not in the online version) featuring three great West End community projects – WestFest 2010, the Student Allotments Project and West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club.

Lastly, the City Council’s Recycling Projects Officer has advised me that :

” … unfortunately at the weekend a paper bin within the Neighbourhood Recycling Point on Cleghorn Street has been burnt out for a third time.

… it is our standard internal policy to remove such a problematic unit from an NRP bank following this number of incidents. I’m sure you can appreciate that the cost of replacing these units is quite high (at £525 per unit), and it is highly likely that this paper bin would in future be targeted for further acts of dangerous vandalism.

We recognise that the residents of this area will be disappointed by the loss of this paper bin facility. We are though always on the lookout for appropriate sites for recycling points, and will continue to include this area within our search. Please note too, that the 3 glass bottle bins within this NRP unit will remain as they were. We will continue to monitor the site closely in the forthcoming period and hopefully there will be no further vandalism.”

I have suggested an alternative site in the area that could cause fewer problems (the department has promised to assess my alternative site proposal) and have also advised the Environmental Health & Trading Standards Department that a nearby dog bin has been damaged by fire.

Student Allotments Project

On Monday, I mentioned (see http://tinyurl.com/studentallotments or click on the headline above) that I had met with three University of Dundee students who are working on a project to encourage those who want to start growing their own fruit and vegetables in Dundee.

I was very impressed with their enthusiasm and commitment and have asked the Leisure & Communities Department to assist this very worthwhile project. Over 50 students have already shown interest in it and the Botanic Garden has provided an area to provide a plot to get started, but the group is keen to identify other plots across the area that could be put to productive use in growing vegetables and fruit.

I paste below part of an update I have received from the group – if anyone can assist the group, do please let me know :

“We were thinking about setting up a student placement (the curator has offered office space in the Botanic Garden) and create an Allotment-Advice & Info-Point for people who want to start growing their own fruit and vegetables in Dundee.

School children could visit the plot(s) and learn about seasonal foods, the importance of localising food production, working together as a community, keeping the ground healthy and fertile (crop rotation) and tackling climate change at the same time.

Another task for the student placement would be working with the city council and private land-owners in order to identify unused green spaces that could be turned into allotments.

We have already filled in an expression of interest form for the Climate Challenge Fund to ask for funding (tools, seeds, etc.).

At the Botanic Garden, we’ve put in the posts (to separate our plot and to make sure the really keen students don’t take over the whole nursery), started digging (turning over the soil and mixing in compost) today and really need (old) spades … in case someone wants to make a donation.”