Sunday, November 26, 2006

Need for more Dog Bins Accepted

During the November Environmental and Amenities Committee I put forward the following Notice of Motion:
“That the placement of dog bins be reviewed in North Down, particularly as these bins do not appear to be coping adequately with the amount of waste being disposed. I would seek an increase in dog bins especially around beach areas and popular places for dog walkers.”

Many residents when taking their dogs for walks are becoming increasingly aware of the need to clean up after their dogs. I stressed that as a council we must make sure that the provision is there for disposal of dog waste. I welcome the recommendation for council to seek quotations for the provision and installation of 20 additional bins, as well as looking at a dog waste bin cleaning service.

It is pleasing to note that additional locations for bins will be included in the placement and cleaning of the bins and that my Notice of Motion was adopted.

Visible Women an Inspirational Event

More than 200 women representing all aspects of life in North Down and Ards were invited to a conference entitled ‘Visible Women an Inspirational Event’. This was organised by myself along with 2 fellow councillors and the invaluable help from the staff from both council areas and the Local Government Staff Commission..

The conference was to highlight the Year of Women in Local Councils, which I help launch at the Waterfront earlier in the year.

Visible Women was an event to celebrate the achievement of women who make a vital contribution to public life in the area. This included women from all aspects of life from professions, community workers, carers the main idea was to be as inclusive as possible. During the morning we had speakers, as diverse as a consultant psychiatrist, a chief executive, the Head of one of the largest boys schools in Belfast, the first woman Assistant Chief Constable with the Police Service in Northern Ireland and a TV/writer personality – all female!

A ballot for Action Cancer was held and we were delighted to raise almost £800.

The event was unique in many ways, it was the first of this type of conference, it was a joint effort by two councils. An evaluation was carried out and the overwhelming results have been that the conference was a major success, indeed the team have been asked to think of planning another one but on a larger scale next year.
We already have some ideas – so watch this space!

Second Field of Hope Planted

Second Field of Hope Planted

After being contacted by local residents about the idea of a Field of Hope being planted near them. I contacted the Marie Curie Cancer Care to ask if along with North Down Borough Council this could be made a reality.

Last year I successfully had a Field of Hope planted in another local area.

Marie Curie was delighted to be asked, and along with pupils from a local school and a care school, we had a great day planting some 10,000 daffodil bulbs.

This was a joint effort by everyone concerned, after the planting a nearby neighbour supplied the children with juice and biscuits, along with a very welcome afternoon tea for the adults.

I am delighted that this is the second Field of Hope I have planted in my particular area of Bangor West. Everyone is looking forward to next spring and watching ‘our’ daffodils growing.

I Propose we write to the Prime Minister

During the November Corporate Committee in the North Down Borough Council’s monthly I proposed the following.

I would propose that this Council write immediately to the Prime Minister,
regarding the introduction of the controversial water charges, which will take place in April 2007. Even thought a judicial review found that the Consumer Council was not adequately consulted on these unjust and undemocratic water charges.

Last month the Consumer Council’s lawyer claimed that the Northern Ireland Office had rushed ahead with the legislation and that the Department of Regional Development should have spent more time engaging with the Consumer Council on its response to the legislation. I understand that he claimed that they feared a restored Assembly would reject the imposed rate.

While Mr. Justice Weatherup was not suggesting any illegal impropriety on
the part of Ministers, he did say that there should have been a proper consultation with the Consumer Council before any legislation was laid before Parliament.

However, I understand that a warning is to be sent to MPs advising them of
the flaw in the government¹s handling of the issue. - Now there’s a joke!

Surely this again highlights consultation, particularly in Northern Ireland as a total farce and a waste of time.

I have no doubt that these charges ­ for which we keep being told ­ we do not pay for, will come in during April next year, but it is strange I remember my mother going to a placed in Belfast called the Water Office and paying her bill there.

However, I propose that we write immediately to the Prime Minister stating
”This Council objects to and is disgusted at the speed with which the proposals regarding Water Charges will be pushed through Westminster next week, and in particular, we object to the rejection of the General Consumer Council’s case through a Judicial Review. It would appear that in Northern Ireland consultation has once again appeared meaningless.”