West End calendar for 2011

In recent years, Friends of Magdalen Green have published a calendar featuring the best photos of Magdalen Green, following an annual photography competition.    This year, Dundee WestFest ran the photograph competition for a calendar, so we now have a calendar with shots taken all over the West End (including Magdalen Green!)

The calendars have just gone on sale, at £4.99 each.    They are being sold at Blackness Library, Perth Road Post Office, the Dundee WestFest shop and by mail if you email westendfestival@rocketmail.com. The Dundee WestFest shop on Perth Road is staffed by local volunteers and is open Tuesday to Friday 1 – 4pm, and 10 am – 4pm on Saturdays.

Once again the people who have taken part in the competition have provided a stunning set of images of the West End – great for you, for a gift, for the home or for work.     The photos below are not from the calendar but capture the excitement of WestFest back in June!  

And Tuesday …

This afternoon, I had a very useful and productive meeting at Harris Academy with the Depute Head Teacher, a representative from the City Council’s Risk Management team and constituents about the parking issues around the school. I have now followed this up with an e-mail to the City Council’s Chief Executive about ways to improve the parking situation in the area around this part of Perth Road and on West Park Road.

This evening at West End Community Council, Liz Broumley of WestFest gave an informative resume of how well the event had run in June. The first-ever WestFest was a great success. Liz is leaving Dundee to live in Cromarty in the near future – she’s made a tremendous contibution to the West End and we all wish Roger and Liz the very best for the future.

As always, there was a lively discussion about a number of local issues at the Community Council tonight – and news of its new community base at The Vine is a really good step forward for the West End.

WestFest finale!

The first-ever
and highly successful Dundee WestFest ends today with its parade and party – here’s a short video clip from the events at Magdalen Green this afternoon.   

WestFest has been a superb success, with over 70 events taking place over the week.   The WestFest team deserve our thanks and congratulations on organising such a superb series of events – roll in WestFest 2011!

Latest West Fest …

Another packed day of WestFest activity, including Environmental Question Time and West End Poets tonight.

And an update about one of the great events taking place tomorrow :

Friends of Wighton at WestFest

As part of WestFest, Friends of Wighton will be presenting a concert at St Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Street, Dundee on Wednesday 23rd June. The concert, which starts at 7.30, will feature the Wighton Singers, Simon Chadwick on medieval harp, fiddle players Karen Hannah and Gordon Penman, and singer Sheena Wellington.

Tickets, price £4.50 are available from Dundee City Box Office 6 City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BG
Tel: 434940 or e-mail citybox@dundeecity.gov.uk – or at the venue on the night.

WestFest 2010 – launch day is Sunday!

With WestFest week launching on Sunday, here’s the opening Sunday afternoon events in and around Balgay :

2pm : Opening welcome – Sheena Wellington (Victoria Park)

2pm-5pm : Art Mart (Victoria Park)

2pm-5pm : Dundee Travel Active Stand (Victoria Park)

2pm-4pm : “Sun-day at the Mills, Talk Planetarium show and Sun watch (Mills Observatory)

2.15pm-5pm : Sensation’s science activities (Victoria Park)

2.15pm-5pm : Children’s art workshops (Victoria Park)

2.15pm-5pm : Children’s activities and quizzes (Victoria Park)

2.15pm-5pm : Dundee and District Wood Turners – exhibition and demonstration (Victoria Park)

2.30pm-3.30pm : Yoga taster session – Salute the Sun (Top of Balgay Hill)

2.30pm-4.30pm : Volleyball (Victoria Park)

2.30pm-4.30pm : Face Painting & henna painting (Victoria Park)

3.15pm-4.45pm : Open Mike Bands (Victoria Park)

5pm : Close
Toilets at the Lochee Park Pavilion.

Skills for Oral History Research

With permission of Dundee WestFest, here’s an interesting update on Oral History in the West End :
Are you from the West End?
Are you interested in the history of your local area?
Would you like to learn how to become a researcher yourself and help record the history of the West End for future generations?

Dundee University in partnership with Dundee WestFest are offering a free 8 week course which aims to equip West End residents with the skills required to create an Oral History archive for their local area.

Times: Mondays 2pm-4pm
Dates 26th April to 14th June 2010
Venue: Tower Building, Dundee University

Interested? Telephone Susan on 384809 or email s.z.norrie@dundee.ac.uk to sign up for the course.

Latest on Dundee WestFest 2010!

At the request of the folk at WestFest, I’m featuring progress with this superb initiative for the West End – 20-27 June 2010!

Dundee WestFest aims to celebrate the area’s diverse culture and vibrant community spirit. The week long festival will centre on five themes; art, drama and dance, environment, history and music and the week will end with a Parade and Party.

The festival is open to all who want to take part, whether that is an individual artist/performer, a small group of local residents or a large organisation.

There will be events for all ages, including some organised through the local schools. The objective is to harness the skills and enthusiasm of people in the West End to showcase their talents and to create a memorable and enjoyable festival that will generate benefits for the residents, local businesses and visitors to the area.

The first festival will take place 20 – 27 June 2010 and there are plans to make it an annual event. See much more at www.dundeewestfest.com.

Meetings tonight – and tomorrow

It was good to see residents turning out at the Police Community Surgery at Blackness Library at teatime today. I spoke with a number of residents about local issues, including cycling matters, the begging concern, litter and parking.

West End Community Council’s meeting tonight featured a useful presentation on the proposed Riverside Nature Park, as well as discussion on the Dundee West Transition Towns project, an update on the West End Primary Schools Project Board and WestFest 2010.

I am meeting the City Council’s Chief Executive tomorrow morning about the cuts in Fairer Scotland Funding, an issue I am greatly concerned about.

And … Wednesday …

A busy day – including :

* The first ever Board meeting for the West End Primary/Nursery Schools project – St Joseph’s Primary, Park Place Primary and Park Place Nursery Schools – took place. It is envisaged that a pre-planning application process, including an exhibition for parents, carers and the local community generally, will take place between February and April. The exhibition will be on 1st and 3rd April, and there was some discussion about the location of this – the consensus view I support is to hold it at Blackness Library.

* I had a useful meeting with a member of the WestFest committee about progress with this excellent initiative – see http://www.dundeewestfest.com/.

* Tonight’s “Evening Telegraph” covered my concerns about the huge cuts in Fairer Scotland funded (FSF) projects across Dundee that have been supported by the SNP council administration. I have been inundated with messages of support over this issue – people right across Dundee are shocked at the extent of cuts to excellent projects that are aimed at helping the least affulent and most vulnerable citizens in our city.

I had a useful meeting this afternoon with council chief officers – including the Chief Executive, the Director of Finance and key directors – about the council budget. Aside from the smash and grab raid on FSF, the officers’ proposals on departmental budgets are sound.
I have described the SNP administration’s raid on FSF funding as Robin Hood in reverse – taking from those most in need. It is clear from feedback from many constituents that this is a view shared by people right across Dundee.

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.

Fun Day – and Festival 2010

The West End Fun Day starts on Magdalen Green later this morning – at 11.30am – see you there!
Next year, we hope to have a full Festival for the West End :
Would you be interested in seeing a summer festival in the West End of Dundee in 2010?
Would you be interested in taking part in a festival?
Would you be interested in helping to organise a Festival?
If the answer to any one of these questions ‘yes’ then you may also be interested to know that there will be an inaugural public meeting to set up a festival committee with the aim of having the West End’s first summer festival.
Meeting details are:

The Memorial Hall
Logie St John’s (Cross) Church
Shaftesbury Terrace
on Wednesday 17th June 2009 at 7pm
There is more information on the website. If you are interested in being involved but can’t make the meeting please contact the festival group directly at the email address above.

West End May Updates

UpdateIt has been a hectic few weeks – here’s a brief overview of matters I have not already fully covered:

Tuesday 5th May :   At the request of Friends of Magdalen Green, I chaired their AGM and am now acting chair of the Friends’ group.   Alex Coupar gave a very interesting and entertaining presentation on photography – you can read more about the Friends’ 2009 photography competition at http://www.magdalengreen.btik.com/p_Photo_Competition.ikml.

Wednesday 6th May :  I attended the Community Spirit AGM at the Mitchell Street Centre.   Community Spirit is a very active community group serving the north part of the West End Ward, including the Cleghorn/Benvie/City Road and Pentland areas.    An excellent turnout and good discussion of local issues.

Thursday 7th May :   A second informal meeting of the West End Festival 2010 team – more on this later – I have put together a website for the group – go to http://www.dundeewestfest.com to view more.

Friday 8th May :   I attended the Tay Bridge Joint Board (as a substitute for Cllr Asif from the Labour Group) and was delighted to see my long-standing colleague from Fife Council, Cllr Andrew Arbuckle, elected as the new Chair – Cllr Tom Ferguson from Dundee City Council was proposed by myself as Vice Chair, and was also elected.

Later that day I had a lengthy meeting with the Director of Education about the West End schools building proposal, to be considered at Education Committee on 11th May.

Monday 11th May :  A very lengthy night of City Council and committees.   I moved changes to the proposed Scrutiny Committee’s remit but narrowly lost the vote 15-14 (SNP plus Lord Provost versus everybody else).   The Conservatives had a further sensible amendment but again lost 15-14.   It is amazing how the SNP has shifted position on this matter from their view in opposition.    The Scrutiny Committee lacks teeth, gives the SNP the largest share of seats (talk about scrutinising yourself!) and its role along with Audit/Risk Management and Best Value/Efficiency committees has significant potential for duplication.   Not good.

The most significant issue on 11th May were the schools proposals for Lochee/Charleston and the West End.    In respect of the West End, there is no doubt that all welcome the investment in new schools, but parents did raise genuine concerns over various aspects – site size, land contamination, to name just two.    I sought and obtained an assurance from the Education Convener that all parents and carers are fully consulted and involved in the project (and I will hold her to that) and I asked questions of the Director of Education.   I have thereafter e-mailed him in the following terms :

“Further to committee on Monday evening & a meeting of West End Community Council last night, I would be very grateful if you could, as soon as possible, give me :

a) Written confirmation as to the Department’s calculation as to why the former Logie Secondary site meets the school size regulations (1967 as amended)

b) Some indication as to the timescale in which a project board and implementation groups will be formed, the remit of each and how parents/carers with an interest in participating can indicate their interest in doing so.”

Tuesday 12th May : West End Community Council.   A very busy night with speakers on recycling in Dundee, Fibrecity, and on the schools issue in the West End.

Wednesday 13th May :   A very useful meeting with Waste Management and residents in Seafield Road about cleansing issues – good outcome.

Thursday 14th May :   Attended Development Quality Forum (after my busy surgery) about the changes to planning procedures.

West End Festival 2010

At the City Chambers today, I participated in an initial meeting to discuss a possible West End Festival next year. Along with representatives of Friends of Magdalen Green, West End Community Council and City Councillors, it was good to see representation from other organisations such as the University of Dundee, Dundee Contemporary Arts and Dundee Rep.
It is a great idea but will take time to plan – hence the June 2010 target date. Meantime, Friends of Magdalen Green is planning a one day Fun Day on the Green on Saturday 13th June (2009, that is!)