Elaine at the helm

Elected as chair

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Clare Damodaran

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

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