Lively and passionate are the words to describe the discussions at the City of Brechin and District Community Council meeting on Tuesday, May 6.
Discussions focussed on the closure of the paddling pool, the new community campus and the flood prevention scheme. The meeting highlighted the strength and depth of feeling on the way each one will affect Brechin and its future.
Grahame Lockhart, convener of the community council, commented: “It was unfortunate that none of our Local Councillors were at the meeting as they would have been part of the lively debate, and quizzed, on decisions being taken by Angus Council.”
The closure of the paddling pool was unanimously opposed by the community council, and the proposal being put forward by the community group campaigning for Angus Council to retain, upgrade and maintain the pool, was unanimously supported by the members.
The opportunity for play and recreation at the pool to improve the health and well-being of the children of Brechin far outweighed the limited savings proposed by Angus Council.
In addition, closure of the pool would mean that Brechin families would have to travel to other Angus towns to enjoy similar facilities. This will not be an option for all families.
The most recent plans of the new campus were available to view and gave a clearer picture of what will be a 21st century state-of-the-art facility.
However, concerns were once again expressed about the impact of the new campus on existing facilities. The Damacre Centre and the Leisure Centre will close, all activities being transferred to the campus, which will add to the growing number of empty buildings at the bottom end of Brechin.
Serious concerns were raised by a member of the public at the fee structure for community users at the new campus.
At present, fees at the Damacre Centre are less than the Leisure Centre, but at the new campus it is more than likely that fees will be in line with Leisure Centre fees.
This could limit the number of people accessing the activities at the campus, and may well see the closure of some of the existing activities to be transferred.
Further concerns regarding storage and the management of the Campus were also discussed.
The go-ahead for the flood prevention scheme was warmly welcomed thus allowing the residents of River Street to sleep more soundly when the next heavy rains arrive.
However, there were serious reservations about the consultation process between Angus Council and the community on the proposed visual impact of the scheme at River Street and Inch Park.
Further talks have been asked for with Angus Council to seek clarification on their proposals.
Grahame continued: “It was very clear from the passionate discussions at the meeting that, sadly, there is a real danger that Angus Council will lose the support of the community unless there is real clarification of people’s concerns on each of these issues.”
The presentation and question and answer session by Graeme Nicoll, Local Risk Manager for Angus West, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, on making the community safer for everyone to live, work and visit was well received.
It was also reported at the meeting that the contract for cleaning the War Memorial plaques is now in place with work anticipated to be completed by the end of June.
“I can’t remember such a lively meeting,” said Grahame. “It highlighted the real desire of the people of Brechin to build on the growing feel-good factor in Brechin. We want to work closely with Angus Council, and whilst recognising the financial restraints, we want to be part of the final decision-making process to make our small city a place of which to be very proud.”