I hope you had a good break at Christmas and feel refreshed for the challenges of 2019. It has been tough to get back up and running, especially as we are facing a very tough Council Budget for the coming financial year. Councils are all heavily reliant on Scottish Government Grant and don’t have the revenue raising powers and freedoms which I believe we should have. The Council Budget process involves all 63 Councillors making very unpalatable choices of where real cuts must fall in order to meet our increasing financial commitments. We are spending more cash, year on year, on really vital health and social care services to meet increased demand. This means other services get their funding reduced to fill the gap. More of this soon!
One of the highlights for me over the last couple of weeks has been my own first sighting of the otters at Figgate Pond as I wended my way back home. The otters seem un-phased by people walking by and dogs barking. They just get on with the core business of catching fish and playing about. While I was watching, one otter had to defend its catch from a couple of marauding magpies. Some days there are far more photographers and people with binoculars than there are otters, but you have a good chance of catching a glimpse, even on a casual walk through. The return of otters form the brink of extinction is one indication that implementation of the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan and all that close partnership working is getting results. Click here: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/7669/edinburgh_biodiversity_action_plan_2016-18.pdf
There is an online consultation on Physical Activity and Sport in Edinburgh running now through to 1 February 2019. The link to this – and other important consultations – is here:
We have some wonderful community based sports clubs locally – Joppa Tennis Club https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/JoppaTennisClub and Porty High’s basketball http://www.cityofedinburghbasketball.net/hall-of-fame/ to mention just two.
The work on the foundation and rebuilding of Brighton Place has restarted last week and the junction with Lee Crescent is closed. Lee Crescent can be accessed through East Brighton Crescent or Sandford Gardens. The next phase from Lee Crescent to Rosefield Avenue will proceed without a break. All four phases of this major reconstruction project are estimated to be complete by late Autumn 2019.
After substantial changes to Council systems, routes and teams, the Council continue to have problems with some refuse collections. Those glitches are being ironed out. I know that’s hard to believe if your bin has been missed more than once. The advice is always to leave the bin out, not to take it back in. I know it has been difficult, near impossible, to get through to a real person to speak to on the phone. So do continue to get in touch with me directly with any problems with your individual bin, or your street, both so I can help deal with it and understand what is or isn’t happening. Thanks to those five people who have done so last week – and thank you all for your patience!
Another part of the Council service that is undergoing major change is building standards. The improvement plan is being implemented, with new ways of working. New staff and apprentices have been recruited and the performance of this service has now improved substantially. The backlog is down to single figures and now over 90% of first reports and grants of warrants are done within the 20 day target. We need to get to 95% and sustain that improvement.
You are welcome to help wassail the apple trees with the Community Orchard Group at the orchard just opposite the entrance to Brunstane Station on Saturday 26 January 2 – 4pm. Wake up the trees and your soul, have a good sing and sip spiced juice round the fire. All are welcome https://www.facebook.com/events/357573408126253/
It’s fantastic to see how well the bike hire scheme in Edinburgh has really taken off, although I have yet to try it out – have you? More here: https://medium.com/@justeatcycles/just-eat-cycles-in-2019-acc3029cf820
I visited Jason Moyes of the Shaw Trust in their Wellbeing Works hub at Duddingston Yards this week to learn more about what they do there. Shaw Trust provide well-being support to about 350 members of the community who currently can’t find work through disability, poor health or disadvantage. Jason is looking for volunteers with a good knowledge of the local community, who want to help vulnerable and disadvantage adults on their journey towards a brighter future. There is support and training for volunteers but you do need to be patient, empathetic and have great listening skills. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0300 247 222 for more information. Or visit shaw-trust.org.uk/volunteer
A date for your diary: Portobello Amnesty Quiz Night is on 8 February at 7.30pm for an 8pm start at the Artisan Lounge. Last year’s was a hoot!
Have a great weekend!
Councillor Maureen Child
Labour Councillor Portobello/Craigmillar Ward
Office: 0131 529 3268
Mobile: 07718 666 481
Facebook Page: Maureen Child Standing Up for Portobello/Craigmillar
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