‘Grit your own bit and save us cash’

Pro­vid­ing shov­els and salt would save £650K

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Lor­raine Weir

Rul­ing SNP coun­cil­lors have shunned spend­ing cash on grit­ting more pave­ments this win­ter and urged peo­ple to “grit their own bit”.

Coun­cil­lor Iain McLaren told a meet­ing of West Dun­bar­ton­shire Coun­cil on Mon­day that res­i­dents will be en­cour­aged through so­cial me­dia to con­tact the author­ity ask­ing for shov­els and salt to clear their streets, mak­ing them safer for all.

This is rather than com­mit­ting al­most £ 650,000 of cash to staff and equip­ment to grit the pave­ments, as re­quested by West Dun­bar­ton­shire Com­mu­nity Party coun­cil­lor Jim Bol­lan.

Op­po­si­tion leader Martin Rooney ac­cused the ad­min­is­tra­tion of miss­ing the brunt of the bad weather this win­ter by de­fer­ring the is­sue to the bud­get con­sul­ta­tion in Fe­bru­ary.

Mean­while West Dun­bar­ton­shire Com­mu­nity Party coun­cil­lor Jim Bol­lan, who re­ceived 71 com­ments from peo­ple on so­cial me­dia in one night last win­ter as a re­sult of ex­treme icy con­di­tions par­tic­u­larly in Bon­hill and Beech­wood, warned that pedes­tri­ans must be pro­tected as well as those us­ing the roads.

Coun­cil­lor Iain McLaren tabled a mo­tion propos­ing that ex­tend­ing the win­ter foot­path grit­ting be taken to the pub­lic while con­sult­ing on the bud­get set­ting for next year.

And the suc­cess­ful mo­tion agreed that the coun­cil’ s press of­fice will use press re­leases and so­cial me­dia to “in­form res­i­dents of the avail­abil­ity of gr it bins and other re­sources that the coun­cil pro­vides and how res­i­dents can use th­ese ef­fec­tively to tackle prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with win­ter weather”.

The coun­cil­lor con­firmed that the author­ity is currently ful­fill­ing its obli­ga­tion un­der leg­is­la­tion adding: “We are ask­ing for peo­ple who are able to help us out. They can re­quest grit, gr it bins, some shov­els and other things from the coun­cil.

“What we are ask­ing the com­mu­nity to do is save the coun­cil some money and grit their own bit to pro­vide best value.”

We re­ported ear­lier this year how four buses were stranded on black ice in Bon­hill for hours as travel firms strug­gled to con­tact the coun­cil for grit­ting help.

Dum­bar­ton-based com­pany McColls, who had a bus stuck at the top of the hill, had to re­sort to send­ing the lo­cal author­ity a tweet after fail­ing to con­tact them on the phone.

Mean­while pas­sen­gers were forced to get off the stuck buses and walk home in the slip­pery con­di­tions.

A coun­cil spokes­woman said at the time the author­ity was “fully pre­pared” for the weather and that they“re acted quickly and tack­led our busiest roads first as well as pri­or­ity ar­eas such as Bon­hill”.

Coun­cil­lor Jim Bol­lan tabled an amend­ment ask­ing for coun­cil re­serves to be used to meet costs of £ 645,292 over the next two years to in­crease the num­ber of pave­ments grit­ted.

He said: “Safety of the young peo­ple and elderly peo­ple in our hous­ing es­tates is crit­i­cal. Our grit­ting pro­gramme favours, quite rightly in a lot of re­spects, the road net­work but that then leaves ac­cess to our hous­ing es­tates in a ter­ri­ble con­di­tion.

“In one night, I had 71 con­tacts on so­cial me­dia from peo­ple who were ei­ther stranded in their house or couldn’t walk along their pave­ment to shop or to get a bus. Peo­ple tak­ing chil­dren to nurs­ery in the morn­ing couldn’t be­cause it was too dan­ger­ous to go along the pave­ments.”

Martin Rooney added: “The only way to re­solve this is to com­mit more re­sources over this win­ter and learn for the fu­ture.”

Coun­cil­lors agreed Coun­cil­lor McLaren’ s mo­tion.

So­cial me­dia will be used to en­cour­age peo­ple to clear their ar­eas of ice and snow

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