Letters to the Editor

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Perhaps Re-allocate - In response to Nigel Don’s column

Madam- Once again our MSP Nigel Don is having a go at Westminster - as in last week’s Leader “Careless and Incompetent Westminster” article.

This constant whining at London from the Nationalists becomes more than a bit tedious. Instead of complaining about Westminster all the time, why don’t the SNP look more at how they manage some of our own funding in Scotland - and perhaps re-allocate some of the funds we already have that could be better used perhaps to help those less fortunate?

For example, what is so great about free prescriptions for all? Do we really need to offer free prescriptions to those that can afford to pay? Absolutely right that the sick, unemployed, elderly and those needing help get free prescriptions - but the rest of us? The same goes for free bus passes to pensioners - again no problem for those that need help but can we not means test the rest of us or find a better way of providing a free service to those that really need it?

The electorate are not daft - they know that a government needs to balance its books just like the rest of us. The SNP should look more closely at how it chooses to spend the money we have rather than constantly whining on about Westminster.

Yours etc

R Smith

address supplied

Flooding - Latest report

Madam - Now in their latest report to the Aberdeenshire Council. Mott MacDonald records that Because their brief does not include the barriers and channel beyond the footbridge they could only report as far as the bridge. It makes one wonder what they would have recommended if they had been allowed to study all the effects of the entire obstructed river mouth. They found that by only removing the constrictions of the bridge it would reduce flood levels right back up stream to the White Bridge.

I have never called for the bridge to be removed but with the cross river rock barrier seaward of the bridge removed to allow free natural water escape on to the beach, the insertion of simple bridge supports at each end of the bridge would allow the removal of the channel-reducing rock armour under the bridge and along the base of the south wall of the channel upstream of the bridge back to the line of the original wall. This would restore the full flow capacity of water onto the beach which would ensure that a maximum flood height of high tide level proven for almost two centuries would be fully restored.

I have also consistently said that any reduction in channel width results in higher flood levels. Again in their report Mott Mac Donald explains.

How ridiculous can the recommendations of our flood engineers get? This stretch of river channel between the bank walls has always been approximately 16.61 meters wide ensuring the totally flood free conditions along this stretch of lower river experienced over the last two centuries until the natural river mouth was deliberately obstructed. Now we are told it is to be reduced to only 10.5meters. No wonder that our engineers are coming up with the need for dramatically raised flood protection banks all along this stretch of river mouth and upstream of this point to the White Bridge.

Are none of our current flood engineers capable of stepping back and taking a long careful look at our local flood free history along the lower river and become aware of when and where our former council’s mistaken actions have proven to be responsible for all our present flooding problems? Please remember that we have not been faced with any greater floods on the Carron than were experienced in earlier generations. Apart from the Glasslaw burn effect, our present floods are limited by the capacity of the river culvert under the bypass. Before the bypass was built the full effect of every flood had to pass downstream through Stonehaven and into the sea. Our ancestors always ensured that our river channel from the Green Bridge to the open beach was hand built and maintained in a condition and capacity to be capable of handling the greatest floods ever experienced over the generations since the River Carron channel was first redesigned and built to cope with the raised level of the then new weir and building of the Mill dam.

Yours etc

Ian G. McDonald

Stonehaven

Fettercairn arch - Traffic measures at Royal Arch are not working

Madam- Will not try to go to Edzell from Banchory via Fettercairn ever again. Got stuck trying to manoeuvre through the arch in a Jaguar XF. Not the biggest car in the world, but one with expensive alloy wheels. Could see the scuffs and scrapes marks on the kerbing and tried not to do the same but the result was that I had to reverse three times before I could eventually get through the hazard! What a ridiculous self-inflicted catastrophe for the village. The roads guys at the Council should hang their heads in shame at that ridiculous mess of a road layout.

Yours etc.,

Helen Ingram

via email

Aging in Scotland - Seeking older residents for interviews

Madam - I’m a writer living in Aberdeenshire working on a book exploring aging populations around the world with a present focus on Scotland.

I’m looking for individuals interested in having a good blether about their lives.

Are you enjoying retirement, homebound and receiving care at home services or perhaps living in a care home or retirement community?

I would love to talk with you in hopes of learning more about your experiences, wisdom gleaned and the details that have made up your life.

Frankly speaking, the roots of your generation touch a time we are no longer able to access and the importance of preserving living memories is exceedingly important.

I’m also interested in what life is like for you now, having walked the walk so to speak. Interviews can be done by phone or in-person depending on your preference and locale.

The discussions will be weaved into the narrative of the book but individuals who wish to remain anonymous may do so. Please get in touch if you or anyone you know would like to chat, I can be reached by phone 07889 216 822, 01561 376 142, or email elders.project.scotland@gmail.com.

Brooke MacMillan

Laurencekirk,

Aberdeenshire

Is all well? - With wealth comes problems

Madam, - With figures coming out that the North East is to overtake Edinburgh as the wealthiest past of the country and employment rates in Aberdeenshire being one of the highest in Scotland it might be tempting to think all is well in our area. But with wealth comes problems for the many citizens who are not so wealthy and for our public sector.

The lack of affordable housing in this area means we cannot recruit public sector workers as they cannot afford our exorbitant housing prices, and graduates from our schools, colleges and universities must move to other cities to get on the housing ladder and make ends meet.

With Scottish government and local government budget cuts coming our way from Westminster we may need to look to the private housing sector to ask them to search their conscience.

The Scottish government are championing companies who pay the living wage, how about we champion those housing firms who set aside some of their lucrative developments for affordable housing to sustain our area?

Yours etc.,

Gillian Martin

Newmachar