Elaine at the helm
Elected as chair
Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Council has a new chair.
Elaine Forrest, who recently joined the community council, was unanimously elected to the post at the statutory organisation’s AGM, which took place on Thursday last week at the Adult Resource Centre in Blairgowrie.
Elaine takes over from Morag Young who stepped down as chair at the AGM after two years in the role.
In her final report as chair of the community council, Morag reflected on another busy year. She said: “Much has been accomplished and many helpful contacts have been made, both in the community and at Perth and Kinross Council.
“The removal of the town centre traffic lights continues to work well for both residents and visitors. Once the promised electronic flashing speed signs and audible crossing signals are in place I’m sure this will add to the much safer movement of traffic and pedestrians in the town centre.
“Stuart Nichol has made good on seeing David Bailey’s vision of safer access to the cottage hospital a reality, a great improvement and much appreciated by users of the hospital.
“Looking at the town’s street furniture has also been on our to-do list. Upgrading, relocating or refurbishing seating areas, planters and bike rails have been identified and shortly we will have seating that is correctly located and fit for purpose, a better number of suitably located bike parking rails more appropriate to our volume of cyclists who visit the area, and seats repositioned or enhanced with better planting areas around them.
“In a bid to have a better connected area, I have been working with PKC to establish wi-fi hot spots. Several of these have been rolled out now, including the Town Hall, the recreation centre, Rattray Connect and other PKC locations.
“Parking is always a hot topic. We can’t easily create more spaces but we can, and have, changed the waiting times of the on-street parking from 30 minutes to an hour which should encourage people to stop for longer in town and enjoy more of the area.
“A surprisingly energetic act of vandalism last summer has put our wishing well out of commission, which has meant that we have been unable to collect any money or to give any money to any of our local groups, which is a real shame. We are still in the process of waiting for the perspex box to be re-made.
“And the Oakbank Road works have finally been completed. It’s taken many, many emails and meetings but five years on sees this work all but finished. Ian Richards has been instrumental in ensuring the work was done and not forgotten about by PKC.”
Morag added that the community council has played an important part in ensuring local voices have been heard when it come to planning decisions and projects, referring particularly to the new Blackthorn Place and Westpark developments, and is involved in a number of upcoming events in the town, including a music festival inspired by Hamish Henderson and Bonfire Night fireworks and bonfire.
She highlighted the new groups set up the community council - the Community Resilience Group, the Ericht Allotment Association, the Climate Café, Keep Rattray and Blairgowrie Beautiful (KBRB) and the Cycle Path Network Group - and commented that council officers could benefit from more interaction with members of the public.
Morag concluded: “Our community council continues to go from strength to strength, identifying ways in which we can improve and/or enhance the town to make it a better place.
“Our members actively, and fearlessly, take on any number of challenges, and encourage others to get involved with them. Their dedication and wonderfully welcoming approach has been something not only the town, but I too have personally benefited from and I can’t thank them enough for that.
“The assistance we have received from our elected members has been invaluable and something that I hope we can continue to rely on to continue to effect positive change for the area.”
Other office bearers elected at the AGM were Ian Richards as vice-chair, Pat McGregor as treasurer, and Stuart Nichol as secretary.
Councillor Caroline Shiers chaired the election of the chair at the AGM. She said: “I think they have managed to tackle a huge todo list and watching the way Perth and Kinross Council has changed the way they interact with the community has to be Morag’s biggest legacy.”
Much accomplished and many contacts made
New role Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Council chair, Elaine Forrest Report Morag Young