In opening the AGM of the community council in the Village Hall last Wednesday night chair, Don Marr, thanked his fellow councillors for their support during the last 12 months and had special words of praise for his office bearers, vice-chair Alec Wallace, secretary Michael Bennett and treasurer Geoff Lawrence. He also expressed his appreciation to the Ward councillors for their regular attendance at meetings and for their prompt attention to local issues.
Moving on to give his annual report, Mr Marr said that the community council had been disappointed with the response of Aberdeenshire Council to their concerns at the lack of adequate lighting at the northbound bus stop on the A92, their reluctance to take seriously requests for a 50 mph speed limit at the same location, as well as hazards at the exit from Lathallan School on to the Baron’s Pade. The community council had been surprised that such road safety matters were considered to be of “low priority”.
However, on a happier note, Mr Marr was delighted to inform the meeting that the Allotment Scheme had been one of the year’s great successes and had given much joy to all who had taken part in the project and he thanked Ian Gibb for his invaluable role as spokesperson for the allotment holders. The community council had given their full support to the First Responders initiative and he was happy to report that the recently -formed group had proved their worth to the community and he wished them every success in the future.
Looking also to the future, Mr Marr said that the community council should have a representative on the Kincardineshire Development Partnership, so that Benholm and Johnshaven can have a forum to express its views; preservation of rights-of-way will continue to receive their support and any planning applications placed before Aberdeenshire Council will be carefully reviewed to ensure that they comply with Conservation Area legislation.
In conclusion, Mr Marr emphasised that the Benholm and Johnshaven Community Council will continue to do their utmost to give the best service they possibly can for the benefit of the residents of the parish.
The only member of the community council due to stand down by rotation was Alexander Wallace and, there being no other nominations, he was duly re-elected and retained the post of vice-chair. Co-opted member Wayne Evans was confirmed as a full member of the community council and the remainder are: chair, Don Marr. secretary, Michael Bennett. treasurer, Geoff Lawrence. members Chris Greene, Jackie Kennet. Ian Gibb remains the spokesperson for the allotment holders.
At the regular monthly meeting which followed, it was no real surprise that the issue of road safety featured prominently. Because of the community council’s concerns over the situation on the A92 they have had an assessment made of the volume of vehicles using the road and photographs taken of the risks involved, which will go towards a report eventually being made to Aberdeenshire Council. Concerns are now being expressed over the hazards at the corner of the Ship Hotel and the New Road. This is a busy crossing and one used by parents taking their children to and from school, the young ones often unaccompanied, and councillors intend to seek the co-operation of the primary school headteacher, Ms Pamela Wilson, who was present at the meeting, in seeking a solution.
Community councillors also hope to get the school involved in the “Green Dog Walkers” scheme. This is an initiative which began in Falkirk and has been successful in reducing the extent of dog fouling in the town by having children create individually designed posters rather than the standard printed version and members are prepared to give the idea a try in co-operation with the local school children.
The meeting ended on a happy note when treasurer, Geoff Lawrence, reported that Aberdeenshire Council workers had done a wonderful job in tidying up the Benholm Kirkyard and had also filled in the potholes from the Kirkton to the Tullo of Benholm farm.
The next meeting of the community council will be held in the Village Hall (small) on Wednesday, April 8, at 7pm.
This Saturday, March 21, there will be a special missions meeting in Johnshaven Kirk from 11am-1pm, with light lunch afterwards.
Rev. Connex Ijalisi, a pastor in rural Malawi, will be telling us about the work he does in the growing church there.
He is in partnership with Kerusso Christian Trust, based in Scotland.
Connex provides training courses for rural pastors who have very little – perhaps one bible for the whole church. All are welcome to come along and hear about this work, and the relief work associated with the recent massive floods in Malawi.