Letters to the Editor - Feb 6

Here are the letters sent to us this week that can be seen on page 10. If you have a letter you can e-mail it to news@mearnsleader.com or mail it to 12 Ann Street, AB39 2ER.

Campaigning - Seeking credit

Sir - Today I found in my post box a brochure featuring one who seems to be the Tory candidate for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine in the forth-coming election.

In it he seeks credit for ‘campaigning hard’ on a number of issues about which he really does appear to know astonishingly little.

For example he claims to have been ‘campaigning hard to find solutions’ to poor mobile coverage yet seems blissfully unaware that a team from Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services is making good progress on a project with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to deliver additional masts to eliminate ‘not spots’ across Aberdeenshire.

His criticism of the Liberal Democrats over the A90 at Laurencekirk shows no understanding of the work that Nestrans and the council have been doing on this vital issue. I know the quiet determination of our officers has moved Transport Scotland from a position of intransigent refusal to contemplate a grade separated junction, to a point where this Scottish Government agency is not only part-funding the current studies and consultations but is also open to the outcome.

This groundwork is essential to build the business case needed to secure government funding for the project and put Laurencekirk on the same footing as the Glendoick Garden Centre a little further south on the A90.

Perhaps he is too busy ‘fighting’ to be in touch with what is actually happening.

Whilst an ‘e-petition’ could be taken as evidence of ‘campaigning hard’ on public transport in rural areas, his publication appears rather light on where the funding to support new non-commercial bus services across Aberdeenshire is to be found. The council is already spending over £4m (net of income) supporting bus services, together with over £16m on school transport.

I would add that the council runs regular bus forums across Aberdeenshire, open to all, where people can meet staff from our Public Transport Unit and Stagecoach’s Managing Director, to raise any issue on bus services and infrastructure.

If this candidate really wants to find something to ‘campaign hard’ over, may I draw his attention to the simple fact that in almost eight years the SNP government has devised and commenced only one transport project in the North-east; the A96/Inveramsay Bridge improvement.

Laurencekirk station, the AWPR and A90 Balmedie/Tipperty were all inherited from the previous Scottish Executive. Other major projects are for the future.

Were he to turn his self-proclaimed talent for ‘campaigning hard’ and ‘fighting’ towards the SNP’s woeful record over a region so vital to the Scottish economy, I for one would be happy to hold his coat.

Yours etc

Cllr Peter J Argyle

Chair, Infrastructure

Services Committee,

Aberdeenshire Council

Dog Poo signs - Embarrass them

Sir - I like the new dog poo signs from Aberdeenshire Council.

1) I think they’ll help to embarrass all culprits except the real hard-liners.

2) They really encourage people to pass on information, even in confidence, and give a phone number to call (which I believe is free).

However, I do agree that it would be an excellent idea to put more dog poo bins out as well.

Yours etc.

Brenda Gordon

via email

Great night - Johnshaven Fireworks

Sir - Booms, explosions and gangs of people wondering the streets after dark – after 12 years living in Glasgow it was a scene I was used to. Thankfully, though, this was a gathering of locals who had come to see the village fireworks.

After moving to the village nine months ago I was treated to my first Johnshaven Fireworks Display. I was properly taken aback, not only by the fire dancer’s displays, soaring rockets and the colourful sparkles that followed but also by the sheer effort that had been put in to organising such a spectacle.

Great credit and thanks must go to Bobby and Eddie from The Ship Hotel along with all their staff and other local volunteers for organising the event, and not forgetting the regular drunks for their constant generosity contributing to the “Squib” fund.

When I first heard about the display from my wife, who is a local lass, I honestly thought Bobby was going to nip to the shops and pick up a pack of rockets and send them up from her garden in front of a few shivering pensioners. She was quick to correct me, it also allowed me to go to the pub a

lot more so that I, too, could contribute while taking advantage of the refreshments!

Not only was the display brilliant but I was amazed to see so many people come together to watch and applaud such a brilliant show. Johnshaven may be a small village but it has a big heart.

Yours etc,.

Simon Smith

via email

Christmas lights - How much has this cost?

Sir Following on from the general concerns about light pollution expressed by Geordie in last week’s letters page, and bearing in mind that it is three weeks since Twelfth Night and Aberdeenshire Council is about to announce drastic cuts to its budget which will affect us all, I would like to ask our councillors and council officials why Stonehaven’s Christmas lights are still burning brightly, and how much money this has cost us?

Yours etc,.

Elaine Samways

via email