Councillor Jean Dick
The last year brought a variety of circumstances which tested the patience and endurance of many people at home and abroad.
Wars and natural disasters caused misery and heartbreak in a number of countries, leaving people without homes, their livelihoods and families. Storms and floods returned to the Mearns creating destruction, distress and uncertainty. For those affected by personal tragedy and loss, it has been a difficult and sad year.
In our reflections of the past year we remember also the glorious weather of summer and Autumn, the sun which brightened our lives and made us feel good, and the warmth which allowed us to stay outdoors for longer each evening. The Christmas message of faith, hope and new beginnings is one to sustain us in the year to come.
In August 2014 the new Mearns Academy Community Campus will open to receive pupils, students and community groups in the sharing of Life Long Learning, cultural, sporting and social activities. In September, in the referendum, the people of Scotland will have the opportunity to decide on a new beginning for their country and the chance to shape their own destiny. It is a choice of hope, faith and confidence in ourselves.
Happy New Year
Cllr Wendy Agnew
Stonehaven and Lower Deeside
The year 2013 has been a mixed one. At the start of the year both river and coastal floods devastated the town and residents. Many local organisations stepped in to help and a new organisation was formed, the Stonehaven Flood Action Group. A coastal survey is being conducted by the council and when published it will be interesting to read what is suggested.
On a happier note, our summer did not let us down and many new projects were in the pipeline - the All Weather Sports Facility which is now in its final stages, the Auld Toon Clock is now getting back to its original state with internal update to be completed in the near future and the old well at the harbour will be getting a facelift. All these projects were given financial assistance by the council along with a substantial input from local organisations.
In December, Giulianotti’s prepared to re-make their once famous ‘Joe Beys Ice Cream’ - once tasted, never forgotten and will certainly help put Stonehaven on the map.
I wish everyone a happy and successful 2014 and all working together for the benefit of the community.
Cllr Carl Nelson
The festive season is a joyous time of parties and presents, of coming together with family and friends, and of hoping that the season of goodwill will spread far in to the New Year.
My family will be gathering at my son Graham’s home in Dunfermline, where I will enjoy seeing my four grandchildren - Max, Ben, Jake, and dear little Emma. I hope you all have as good a time as I expect to have.
I think about Hogmanay and hope and pray that the weather will be kind for the ‘Simple Minds’ concert and the Fireballs Event. For the good people of Stonehaven and elsewhere I also hope that they are all spared the flooding experienced last year.
As for 2013, what a year of doom and gloom! Every day is full of bad news - road accidents, helicopters crashing, Syria - millions of refugees, flooding, and natural disasters such as in the Philippines.
Despite all that I am optimistic. We have three community councils in North Kincardine who work very hard for their communities.
In time we know we will have a new primary school at Hillside. Infrastructure for the town at Chapelton of Elsick is making steady progress. Next year could see a start on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route. All of it is good news.
What we need most of all is the good news on the economy to continue - unemployment rate down, inflation down, fuel prices steady. My best wishes go to everyone for a happy and prosperous 2014.
Cllr George Carr
This was an eventful year for the Mearns and 2014 will be getting off to a lively start too.
In January we will see the start of the £130k project to rejuvenate Inverbervie beach car park. Tenders have come in below budget so some additional money will be allocated to tidy up the beach front car park too. This project was driven by councillors and funding came from the Alliance 100 day fund.
It will make a massive difference to the whole area, and as the gateway to the coastal path southwards, will create an appropriate welcome for tourists and locals alike.
In Laurencekirk we will see the transition from the old Mearns Academy building to a brand new community campus, opening in August.
This will be a nostalgic experience for many and an exciting opportunity for others. 2014 will see events involving the community and fond memories of the existing building captured for posterity.
We will also be reviewing our Local Development Plan. Wind farms will no doubt be one area where residents will want to express a view. All comments can be made via forms available from libraries, or on the Council website until the end January 2014.
With any year as we look forward, there will be challenges and opportunities.
I wish all readers a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.