THE chairman of Cree Valley Community Council made a point of defending the councils’ work in the community after a member resigned because he felt there was too much talk about Christmas lights.
Former CVCC member Willie Lochrie handed in his letter of resignation last month. It said that there was not enough emphasis put on problems like underage drinking and street racers at meetings.
But John McNaught hit back saying: “I totally disagree with the recent assumption made by a retiring Community Councillor that CVCC has lost its focus and I would argue that the opposite is in fact the case. Important as the Christmas lights are, as a bright display in the town helps make everybody a bit cheerier, particularly in the present political/financial climate, the matters which CVCC have dealt with successfully in recent times are many and varied and far too many to list them all at this time.
“I would however give you food for thought when I mention a few - St Couan’s Park, dangerous trees, potholes, planning matters,
litter pick, town lights, Dashwood Square and safer routes to school, football pitches in Newton Stewart, recycling depot, police reports on problems/crimes/operations in the area, presentations from a variety of agencies/organisations and companies,
Help with Santa collections, the Remembrance day Parade and Christmas light switch on.
“I would add however that the vice chairman and his committee and volunteers have put some great work into improving the Christmas lights and to organise an event at the switch on worthy of a town the size and importance of Newton Stewart and in no way should this work be belittled or under-estimated.
“I would say that this along with the Remembrance Parade are probably the most important events that the community council deal with in any particular year and this work is very focused and those involved should be encouraged and congratulated for their tremendous efforts on behalf of CVCC and the community in general.”
Driving on a road in Newton Stewart was likened to “the dodgems” by a member of the public attended the Cree Valley Community Council earlier this week.
Residents from Cairnsmore Crescent and Cairnsmore Avenue appealed to the CVCC through the public forum to help them get decent lighting in their part of town before someone has an accident on the road there.
The combination of poor lighting and an uneven road surface, with many potholes, meant that elderly residents or those in wheelchairs avoided going out a night for fear of falling.
Elma Lochhart said: “We do not have the luxury of pavements to walk on and the people living there have severe concerns.”
She explained that, due to the lack of pavements, pedestrians had to share the roadway with vehicles but the road was inherently unsafe. With the winter weather approaching she wanted the CVCC to put pressure on Dumfries and Galloway Council to improve the lighting and fill in the potholes. She liked driving on the road to being “on the dodgems”.
Mrs Lochhart continued: “We have contacted the council on numerous occasions but nothing is done. We also want the salt boxes filled as well.”
CVCC chairman John McNaught said he was well aware of the combined problems of bad lighting and potholes in that area but he also realised the council’s budget was under pressure.
Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes urged the community council to speak to DG First as this was a safety issue and, as such, the council were obliged to find the money.
Mr McNaught told the residents that the CVCC would take the matter forward for them to the council.
The chairman of Newton Stewart Business Association Gordon Andrews told the members of Cree Valley Community Council that the association was doing to best it could regarding floral displays in the town.
He said there has been some issues with the Newton Stewart in Bloom project which was funded by £3,000 from Dumfries and Galloway Council to keep the town colourful in the summer months.
He explained that the funding had to last two years and he expected that due to the obvious financial pressures facing the council the budget would likely diminish in future.
Mr Andews said the money had gone towards new planters at the each entrance to the town which had been a success but the problem was getting people to take responsibility for the upkeep of the floral displays.
mr Andrews said that he often told a member of his staff to water the planters. Other watering volunteers gad proved not so reliable so plants were dying within to weeks.
Mr Andrews added: “Some have been more conscientious than others. I hope to get some money next year to keep the town looking pretty but we can only do what we can do.
“The Rotary and the Round table helped out but we can’t go back to these voluntary organisations every year.”
CVCC chairman John McNaught suggested that an appeal to the public for volunteers to help out might be productive and Andrew Shankland suggested getting the town’s horticultural society involved.
The Cree Valley Community Council welcomed a new member to the fold at their monthly meeting in The McMillan Hall on Monday night.
Chairman John McNaught welcomed Diann Hughes to the table and said he looked forward to her contribution to the CVCC on behalf of the community.
Cree Valley Community Council member Andrew Shankland asked if there was any possibility of getting a timing system in place regarding the two new disabled parking bays outside the Cinema in Victoria Street. He told the meeting that people coming into the town early in the morning were finding it difficult to find parking spaces and he suggested that the parking bays should be free for all until 8.30am, when they would become dedicated parking bays.
Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes said this would not be possible as parking in the reserved spaces when not qualified to do so was an offence.
CVCC member Kevin Dean said that people were already parking in the spaces when they weren’t supposed to and he had even heard of a bus using the disabled spaces on one occasion.