Sadness at demise of street orderlies

Community Council

Although one of its shorter gatherings, last Wednesday’s meeting of the Community Council in the Village Hall nevertheless produced several matters of interest.

In co-operation with Aberdeenshire Council, community councillors have consistently striven to ensure that the village is kept neat and tidy but it will be more difficult to do so this summer with the news that, due to the financial cuts being imposed on local services nationwide, a street orderly is not to be employed.

Since being introduced, following a trial pilot scheme, in 2002 a succession of street orderlies has provided an invaluable service and their absence was seen as something of a blow and led to opinions being expressed that more voluntary effort will be needed, among other things, to keep the streets clean and that Aberdeenshire Council may have to find ways of helping communities to do this.

“Good housekeeping” is always on the agenda, of course, and after the severe winter, potholes remain a principal concern, Main Street and South Street reportedly being the worst affected but in order to determine the actual scale of the problem an audit is likely to be carried out.

Next to come under scrutiny was the condition of the harbour, the meeting being informed that it is the intention of the local authority, in tidying up the harbour area in general, to deal with the problem of derelict boats in particular, although councillors also questioned whether creels lining the quayside were an unnecessary hazard.

The long-running saga of the “school” steps from Main Street to Seaview Terrace has run a bit longer than councillors had intended. After what was seen as much dithering on the part of the local authority, funding was eventually forthcoming and a builder contracted to carry out remedial work to the steps whose condition has been deteriorating for many, many years now. Unfortunately, it was reported that the builder has been off work although it is hoped that he will be in a position to make a start very soon.

The inefficacy of bus timetables, too many buses at some times, none at all at others, has been a constant irritant but it was also brought to the attention of the Council that young adults and staff travelling to the Mill of Benholm from Portlethen often miss their connection at Stonehaven resulting in their arriving an hour late at the Mill, much to the frustration and inconvenience of all concerned. It was hoped that all those matters would be raised at Aberdeenshire Council’s forthcoming bus forum.

On a happier note members heard that the hard-standing parking provision for the disabled close to the tearoom would be put in place in the coming week and the longer term plans of providing new technology for the Mill would lead to its becoming a local resource. In order for community councillors to be brought up-to-date with all the many improvements which have taken place recently they will be given a tour of the community project immediately prior to the opening of their June meeting which is to be held there.

With regard to the rock armour soon to be installed at the Hardgate and near to the public conveniences, although planning permission has just been applied for, it is still hoped that the original starting date can be met and councillors intend to arrange another meeting with flood prevention engineers to discuss the deteriorating condition of the gabions on the Narrows’ road.

The next meeting of the Community Council will be held in the Village Hall on Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m. The AGM will be held the same night.

SHARK

Members of SHARK, Johnshaven are delighted to have received, out of a total of 21 applications, an award of £2,900 from the Tullo Wind Farm Community Fund to help them achieve their environmental objectives.

Now that the days are lengthening and the grass is starting to grow faster than many would like, perhaps, organiser, Rebecca Chambers, is keen to remind all householders that the fortnightly green bag collection begins on Saturday, April 2 and that anyone, existing or new members of the scheme, who has not yet paid their subscription should do so as soon as possible - £12 for one green bag, £6 for a second one.

On the same day, between 10 a.m. and noon there will be an open day at the compost site at Wairds Park when the site will be given a good spruce up and volunteers will be most welcome to come along and help.

Further information on SHARK and the contribution it makes to improving the local environment may be obtained from Rebecca on 01561 362120.

Mearns Coastal Parish

On the last day of Fairtrade Fortnight the theme of Sunday morning’s service in Johnshaven Church was on food and, preaching on the text, “People do not live on bread alone,” the minister, the Rev Colin Dempster, said that, while Jesus did not deny man’s need for food, he had emphasised that a life was incomplete without faith in God. The organist was Mrs Helen Doig.

This Sunday’s services will be at the usual times of 10 a.m. in Johnshaven Church and 11.30 a.m. in St Cyrus Church.

The following Sunday, March 27 there will be only one service in Mearns Coastal Parish and that will be a family service and admission of new members in St Cyrus Church at 11 a.m. followed by the Annual Stated Meeting and a light refreshment during a time for fellowship. There will be a retiring offering in support of the Presbyterian Church in Christchurch, New Zealand, following the devastating effects of the recent earthquake.

Mearns Coastal Church Guild

The Guild’s table-top sale held in the Church Hall on Saturday proved to be a great success raising £255 for the Guild Project and the members would like to thank all those who supported it so generously.

The next meeting of the Guild will be the leisure hour in the Church Hall on Monday, March 21 at 2.30 p.m. when the speaker will be Clark Simpson, Johnshaven.

Memories

Twenty years ago the Village Hall was packed to capacity for the P.T.A.’s production of a shortened version of “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” and, although the organiser had harboured fears that their plans may have been too ambitious, those were quickly dispelled as the cast of 20, mainly younger primary school pupils, delighted with the exuberance and clarity of their singing. There was never a dull moment as the youngsters raced through a total of 12 numbers, which spoke volumes of their own diligence and the patience of their coaches. Of course, on such occasions things do sometime go wrong but when they did it only added to the fun and the laughter and did nothing to detract from the resounding applause at the end which demanded and received a thoroughly deserved encore.

It is impossible to name all 20 performers but no doubt they will still all have fond and vivid memories of the night they took the Johnshaven stage by storm.