Dunbeg council chairwoman quits
THE outgoing chairwoman of Dunbeg Community Council says she is leaving the post as a protest, writes David McPhee.
Gwyneth Neal, who served as chairwoman for a decade, stepped down just hours before the community council’s AGM, saying she did not agree with the actions of a particular group at a previous meeting.
Mrs Neal claimed that at a stakeholders’ meeting regarding the development of Kirk Road in Dunbeg, ‘the four people concerned had planned their strategy in advance to undermine others and take over on behalf of their political party’.
She said: ‘It’s very sad. Com- munity councils are there to look after people and need to be non-political, not to forward the plans of a single group.’
At the Kirk Road development meeting, the new chairman of Dunbeg council, Sean MacIntyre, was elected as chairman of the stakeholders’ committee.
Mrs Neal continued: ‘Community councillors do not have the power to control budgets of councils and charitable organisations that have joint responsibility for a road.
‘I don’t think it is up to political councillors to push members of the community council out.’
Oban North and Lorn councillor Julie McKenzie said she was astounded by the ‘ridiculous’ statements made. She told The
Oban Times: ‘At a recent public meeting in Dunbeg, I suggested to the chair that in order to ensure community ownership of the Kirk Road issue, that perhaps a community representative could be appointed to chair the recently formed Kirk Road Stakeholders’ Group.
‘This suggestion was met with no objection by anyone at the meeting and a Dunbeg community councillor was duly appointed by members of the public who were present.
‘I was horrified to learn today [Tuesday] that my suggestion, which was in good faith, to empower the community of Dunbeg, is now completely misrepresented as some kind of staged political coup.’
Community councillor Sean MacIntyre said: ‘I am delighted to be the new chair of Dunbeg Community Council.
‘Change is good for the community to move forward.
‘Issues with Kirk Road have been ongoing for 15 years and, in my eyes, and in the eyes of the community, it’s not good. They [the community] have been saying to me that they need change and that is the reason I decided to stand as chair.
‘Meetings are held on the second Monday of the month.’