Christmas greetings from local councillors

Our local councillors have given us their Christmas messages.

Councillor Ian Mollison: Over the festive season I have been to two local pantomimes, several Christmas fairs, and a showing of Frozen in the Bettridge Centre in Newtonhill.

They all had one thing in common: people coming together and being happy, whatever their beliefs or even lack of them. If only we could capture that bonhomie throughout the year.

Sleeping Beauty in Newtonhill was the best panto I have been at for years (and that includes His Majesty’s in Aberdeen). Fun and laughter coupled with excellent singing and songs. Portlethen Academy’s presentation of Cinderella was full of enthusiasm, talent and, well, was just charming! And such a large cast too.

It was all a refreshing change from day-to-day life which seems to be more and more about grumbles, complaints, and factions blaming the other side.

I firmly believe that on the whole people are trying their best. I might not always agree with their views (indeed my fellow councillors will attest to that!), but I don’t doubt their best intentions.

My hope for 2015 is that some of that Christmas spirit will linger well beyond the New Year.

Councillor Raymond Christie:

2014 has been a very eventful year for Scotland, with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow,Ryder Cup in Perthshire and a Referendum on the country’s status in the Union.

We have a General Election in May next year which at the time of writing looks too close to call. This year I will be having a quiet Christmas at home with my wife, but we will both be thinking of huge problems in the world like the Ebola crisis in West Africa and numerous dirty little wars around the globe.

I have been very pleased to achieve, along with a colleague the living wage for Aberdeenshire Council employees. I will promote this for all contractor employees working for the Council.

In the North East of Scotland we have food banks. A wish for 2015 would be to see a reduction in their need.

The school situation in Stonehaven is giving me great concern with overcrowding and this will be a priority for me in 2015.

On a personal note I have always wanted to visit St Kilda, a dual world heritage site, one of the world’s special places, but seas are rough even in summer!

I always think of summer, but in the meantime may I wish you all the best for Christmas and 2015.

Councillor Wendy Agnew:

2014 has been a year which has seen the all weather facility plans agreed which, when completed, will give residents a much needed extra sports facility, and the Auld Toon Clock has been renovated in order that it is safe for both residents and tourists alike to visit . I am hoping that, if money can be found, we can reinstate the old paned windows which at present are boarded up, thereby completing the renovation.

Unfortunately we have had two flood warnings, one in respect of coastal flooding and another from river flooding. Although residents from Turners Court were temporarily removed from their properties no damage was recorded.

Unfortunately, one home along the cost did succumb to the sea and was severely damaged, and the River Carron - although high - did not overtop on this occasion. Some residents are asking that the sea wall between the Cowie Estuary and Cowie Lane be re-instated to its original state and others say that this will make flooding worse from the sea.

The Council have now published the coastal flooding report and hopefully we can receive some direction of what can be done .

The supermarket question was raised at the local Development Plan and the site chosen was not to the council’s liking. There is one suggestion that a supermarket should be sited at the new town of Chapelton . I have not heard one resident supporting this. If this was to happen then surely Stonehaven town centre would suffer greatly and this would not support the council’s policy of sustainability. In other words, we cannot get a supermarket on the outskirts of the town but the Stonehaven residents are expected to travel to Chapelton for their weekly shop.

On Rememberance Sunday I was impressed by the attendance of the local youth organisations . The young people did credit to themselves and their organisations. May I wish everyone a Merry Christmans and a Happy and prosperous New Year.

Councillor Jean Dick:

As another year draws to a close and we prepare to celebrate Christmas and to welcome the New Year, we remember and think of those who will not be with us this year. We think also of those who suffer from illness, loss or through the actions of others.

Memorable events have taken place in 2014. The anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War was commemorated in communities in the Mearns. Those attending the service in Laurencekirk Parish Church in August will have poignant memories of the two young men from Mearns Academy reading the role of the dead which included many of a similar age.

Later that month the Tea Festival in honour of James Taylor, the tea planter from Auchenblae, was enjoyed by many from near and far.

Mearns Community Campus opened to pupils, staff and members of the community, the official opening ceremony being performed in October by Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Life Long Learning. The opening of the Police Station in November completed the full occupation of the campus.

In September, Twinshiels , the extension to The Tullo Wind Farm was formally opened by Leo Johnson and pupils of Laurencekirk Primary School. September also saw the long awaited referendum with the highest voter turnout in many years. The result was not welcomed by all.

However, the awakening of political consiousness created a higher expectation of government. It will be of interest how this is met in the coming year and beyond. Best Wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year.

Councillor George Carr:

Inverbervie has seen the refurbishment of the Beach Car Park which was a project of around £130k. This was delivered as part of the Alliance 100 day pledge to deliver local projects. Being the gateway to the coastal path, and adjacent to the buzzing Community run caravan park, this investment has really given Inverbervie and the coast a boost.

Mearns Community Centre has been given a reprieve which has been welcomed by the Laurencekirk After School Club and also local pensioners who meet for their lunch club and coffee group. Building at Laurencekirk Primary is now on the cards and as with Gourdon Primary, this can result in an interesting synergy between young and old when everyone is located under one roof.

Focus on the Laurencekirk Junction now moves to Scottish Government to deliver. Mr Edgar, Transport Scotland manager for the north addressed Area Committee. He confirmed that A90 road junctions are “sub standard” and if there was political will to deliver a junction at Laurencekirk, then this could be done – regardless of surveys and studies!. We have been patient for long enough…

Congratulations to Edzell Woods residents who have at long last gained the title to their common ground. This opens up all sorts of opportunities for the community.

August saw the opening of the long awaited Mearns Community Campus. There are still teething problems but I hope they can be resolved soon. Library services, Police and sports facilities are now delivered in one place and it is a fantastic facility.

I take this opportunity to wish all readers seasons greetings and a prosperous 2015.