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Schools shake-up, sports centre, dog walkers and more – Letters to the Editor – January 30, 2012

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READERS have their say on the issues which matter...

RE my letter of last week criticising the anonymity of whoever wrote about the threat to close the Nicolson Centre, I meant to say more but my computer, which is getting old, let me down.

The contents of his or her piece were fairly accurate, but on singling out Labour councillors no mention was made of MSP John Wilson’s loud claim that they had had secret meetings with Leisure Trust officials and which he had to retract fairly swiftly.

Nor was it noted that councillor McGlinchey, had at the meeting and one a week or so earlier, pilloried her colleagues for failing to support her lone, but procedurally doubtful motion to save the centre at a council meeting, a motion which was rejected with her SNP colleagues also voting against.

After all, while Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd., is a charitable Trust owned by the council, it is empowered entirely to manage the council’s leisure facilities, and as the Trust contains some council members, that is where concerns should have been first raised.

In passing, one wonders if there’s more to councillor McGlinchey’s resignation from the SNP than her concerns at the lack of female members on the major Policy & Resources committee; not that it matters much as husband John Wilson is still with them and no doubt she’ll be back when it suits her.

Your unknown writer only makes slight comment on the threat to close Chilterns home and none on Moodiesburn’s One Stop Shop, both of which, along with the Nicolson Centre, have been subject to strong calls to stay open by the three Labour members as well as Ms McGlinchey.

A mistake by several councils has been the creation of Leisure Trusts.

They are expensive and completely unnecessary; their salary and expenses bills are excessive.

I understand that the official who chaired the meeting on January 8 earns circa £50,000 pa.

The Trusts should be abolished forthwith so that the management of places like the Nicolson Centre would be not only less costly to run, they would be ably managed by dedicated staff as was the case before taken over by the Trust.

Charles Gray,

(via e-mail)

WOODHILL School is in a safe environment, away from main roads, away from ‘general’ public – Auchinairn School has a main road, two public houses, one off sales, and a chemist that dispenses methadone.

What site does East Dunbartonshire Council think is the safer environment – or is it more what plot of land would bring in the most money for the Council if sold to housebuilders!

The first (and only) priority has to be the safety of young children.

(Name and address supplied)

I WOULD like to thank some small local businesses who have offered their services to a young local couple after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer at Christmas.

David Docherty (36) and Jan-marie Wilke (32) have five kids between them and Davy has been fighting cancer of the mouth for the last year and undergone massive surgery to remove it.

This appeared to be successful, but just before Christmas they were told that he had another type of cancer which they could not cure.

They kept this news quiet until after Christmas so as not to spoil it for their children and family. David’s wish was to marry Jan-marie and with the help of some local businesses they held their wedding on Thursday, January 17 in the local Rangers Supporters Club who were most helpful.

Glitzy balloons decorated the hall, the Indian Cottage supplied the buffet, DK Motors, Muirhead Car Sales, and Muldoons Garage in Kirkintilloch offered luxury bridal cars, AbFab hair did the bride’s hair and Love Beauty did her nails, lashes and make up.

When times are hard, and particularly at this time of year, it is heart warming to know that these businesses have a big heart and as such I would like to say a big THANK YOU to them all and wish them all a prosperous 2013.

Kay Mitchell,

Muirhead.

I FEEL compelled to write to you to appeal to those dog walkers in the Middlemuir Road and Laurel Avenue area of Lenzie.

The amount of dog litter in these streets is on the increase and is nothing short of appalling, particularly at the corner of Middlemuir Road and Laurel Avenue, and also the route onto the Woodhead Park pathway.

I have lost count of the number of times my five year old has been unable to walk or ride his bike because of the level of dog litter.

People with dogs who allow this to happen show no consideration and a complete lack of respect for their neighbours.

Martin McShane,

Middlemuir Road,

Lenzie.

YOU recently published a story regarding parents “dumping” cars along the street leading up to Woodhill Primary School in order to take their children to school.

Yes this does in fact happen, but can I also point out that at least three or four times a week there is a number of East Dunbartonshire bin lorries or other units that park up and have their rolls and sausage!

One morning at 9.10am there were two huge bin lorries that had parked about a metre from the give way/junction at Woodhill road and bottle-necked the entire road.

I had to reverse into the main Woodhill road in order to allow an elderly driver out of the street.

It is an absolute disgrace and I hope this fact is reported too.

Maybe then parents will gain access to the street and the drop off will be a bit quicker.

Woodhill resident,

(Name and address supplied)

I WOULD like to thank the taxi driver from Briggs Cabs who very kindly returned an expensive earring I lost in his cab on Saturday night.

When offered the fare for returning the earring he suggested I donate the money to Marie Curie, which I will happily do.

This kind act restored my faith in human nature.

M. Stephenson,

(via e-mail)

SCHOOLS consultation – is any of this being done for sound educational purposes? I think not.

It is a way of ‘saving’ money. But what about the long term costs of bussing children to these new schools? Or wait – they will have to walk if they live less than two miles from the new school. That will save money!

‘Super schools’ – the only thing that will be super about them will be the large numbers of pupils that they will cater for.

Surely as our young children embark on this next stage of their learning journey they should feel safe and secure and should be taught in an environment that is conducive to providing these elements.

Everyone is banging on about Curriculum for Excellence, Rights respecting schools – let’s not forget what is at the heart of each and every one of these – it’s the CHILD.

Yes, when these new schools are built they will look new and shiny, but will they actually be fit for purpose?

Heaven forbid that the council try to save even more money and make these monstrosities ‘open plan’, where there are no doors and pupils can see into other classrooms.

How distracting is that for children age four-and-a-half.

We know ourselves that we as adults are easily distracted and we are supposed to have a vast amount of self -restraint.

Let’s agree on one thing – this is a consultation, but please remember that although we have been ‘consulted’ and we have expressed our concerns, the council does not need to take any cognisance of what we the people feel.

They have ticked the box that says they have consulted the stakeholders (a euphemism for the people who elected them to SERVE US) and they will carry on regardless as shown from their previous history i.e. the William Patrick Library, the closure of Tom Johnston house.

I am sorry to say that I think it is done and dusted and no matter what we think they will do what they want.

K Erskine,

Kirkintilloch.

SCHOOL mergers - what a brilliant idea! I’ll bet local households can’t wait.

Just imagine - larger class sizes so that pupils don’t feel lonely.

Teachers facing groups of 30 or maybe even 35+, which, as all teachers know somehow instinctively, is ideal when they need big teams of 15-a-side.

Some wee children might manage to hide away in a little corner so that they are never asked any embarrassing questions or made to work.

And anyway, the teacher, permanently busy elsewhere, might never learn their names before the Christmas break.

Yes, some old buildings may have to be knocked down and the sites handed over to massive profit-making housebuilding firms. What a good use of freed-up space.

The new education centres will enable hordes of pupils to get fit while walking large distances to their new school . . . or else mummy will need to spend more on fuel by doing a longer school run.

Some teachers who subsequently find themselves no longer wanted (but still needed) can always apply to council for a job filling in potholes! A worthy profession indeed.

As I said, it’s a win-win scenario . . . but for whom?

I do hope local feeling, already apparent, will prevail. It all seems to be about money, not about what’s best for the children and their families.

S.Klimowicz,

Muirside Avenue,

Kirkintilloch.

THE Primary School Estate review is exposing a lot of flaws in council thinking and planning.

They are always very quick to say that every other authority has already closed schools. However, the other councils started their programmes at least six years ago.

EDC are coming to this now and it will not take effect for at least another three years – this will be after education in Scotland has changed.

The population of Scotland has changed; it did go down 10 years ago when EDC did nothing, however, it is now going back up again!

We missed the boat on the school reduction plans, we never used the PPI or PPP finance for primary estates the same as every other council, but concentrated on the secondary schools.

EDC didn’t even bring a proposal to the table until 2010; most other authorities had already built their new schools by then.

The boat has sailed, the population is beginning to grow again and EDC are trying to build the schools for the last decade, not the next decade. Other councils are now looking into expanding, growing and revitalising their existing school estate.

For 10 years EDC have resisted growth in housing. Finally once they decide to start building more houses they close down the schools that would attract the families we need to move into the area.

Why don’t they finally admit that they want EDC to die? They are giving it the death of a thousand cuts and are sitting in marina towers fiddling while Kirkintilloch burns.

The world is growing, Scotland is growing and East Dunbartonshire needs more than just a few more houses to grow.

We will sadly never be an industrial or service output capital, but we should be a place where people want to stay. How do we attract families into the area if we don’t have school spaces for their children?

The council need to wake up and realise that the world has moved on and thanks to them we are getting left behind. Please don’t close the doors to the new generation.

David Bauld,

Kirkintilloch.

Special ceremony at campus

I FELT really compelled to contact the Kirkintilloch Herald, and local readers, to highlight that animal cruelty happens on your doorstep.

Local woman Anne Layden was convicted in court recently of allowing her pet dog to starve to near-death and failing to seek veterinary assistance.

As an animal lover I find it hard to understand how anyone could sit back and watch a dog starve. Surely someone, somewhere could have known that this poor dog called Max was suffering?

I urge the people of Kirkintilloch to report any acts of cruelty to the SPCA and don’t let Kirkintilloch be remembered for the wrong reasons.

Moira Roy,

(via e-mail).

WRVS volunteers have been battling through the snow and ice to continue to deliver services to older people and check that they are safe, warm and well.

Fear of slipping on icy paths and treacherous road conditions mean that older people often cannot get out and about.

Without our volunteers they may not see anyone else for days at a time.

I’d like to say a massive thank-you to our volunteers across Scotland who have continued to deliver vital services like Meals on Wheels to the housebound, despite the bad weather. Many volunteers have gone beyond the call of duty and have carried on when other services have stopped.

Thank you and keep up the good work!

Margaret Paterson,

WRVS head of operations for Scotland.

DO any of your readers have a passion for running and would like to race a half-marathon at the home of British motor sports, Silverstone racetrack?

There are a few free places left for runners who can raise sponsorship for World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), but applications must be in by February 15.

The March 3 race is the perfect warm-up for anyone planning to run marathons in London or Brighton the following month and the flat surface gives seasoned runners the chance to clock up a record time.

By running with WCRF entrants get: full support from a dedicated member of WCRF’s events team; training and nutrition advice; essential kit, including your unique vest; a fundraising pack full of tips on raising cash; and your own online sponsorship page.

Please call 020 7343 4200 or visit www.wcrf-uk.org/signup to race for WCRF.

Natalie Tarrant,

Senior Fundraising Manager,

World Cancer Research Fund.

JANUARY is often a time of reflection on the year just gone and for some of your readers that will sadly mean remembering that they lost a loved one. Many of them will have chosen to pay their respects by making a gift to charity and I would like to express my thanks to all those who donated to CLIC Sargent’s work supporting children and young people with cancer in this way.

In Memory gifts forwarded to us from funeral directors in North Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire don’t just commemorate those who have passed, but provide genuinely-needed funds towards the work of the CLIC Sargent team based at Yorkhill Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

Gifts to CLIC Sargent are not only a special way of celebrating someone’s life, they support our work for the future and help us towards our vision of a world where all children and young people with cancer live life to the full and for that we really are grateful.

I would be happy to hear from anyone who would like to know more about the clinical, practical and emotional support we give to children and young people with cancer, and their families at the time of their cancer diagnosis and through their treatment.

I can provide more information to any of your readers who, perhaps inspired by this letter, would like to support us in the name of someone who was special to them.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Katie Grier,

Fundraising Manager,

CLIC Sargent.

n Visit www.clicsargent.org.uk for more info.

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