Councillor won’t 
be a hypocrite

Brechin paddling pool
Brechin paddling pool

It was a small but vocal meeting at the Bridgend Lounge on Friday when the decision to close the paddling pool was under discussion.

Three members of the public, along with paddling pool campaigner Mark Arbuthnott, met with local councillors Mairi Evans and Jim Houston.

When asked by Mr Arbuthnott on why the councillors “had been silent” on the decision to close the Brechin paddling pool as part of the 2014 budget, councillor Evans explained: “I wasn’t going to be hypocritical and back the campaign after supporting the budget.”

She continued: “I understand your frustrations, but the way the budget setting works is that you look at all the departments. The fighting for certain things takes place in confidential meetings. We asked for [the closure of Brechin and Kirriemuir pools] to be taken off the list and held back. When it came to the final budget we were told there was no option.”

It was also revealed at the meeting that there was no option for a community run facility, with Mr Arbuthnott commenting: “There is no option. It’s too expensive for a community led facility.”

When quizzed on why £60,000 was being spent upgrading a Montrose play facility, councillor Houston explained: “Mairi and I can’t stop the spending of £60,000 that was decided at an earlier point. We can’t change that.”

Councillor Evans added: “It’s done on a routine basis.”

During the meeting concerns were also raised about the park facilities at the Inch. However, both councillors were quick to assure that there would be play equipment on the site after the flood prevention scheme works are completed.

Councillor Evans said: “There will be play equipment. We’ve been guaranteed it.”

Councillor Houston voiced his view that the public should have a say in the facilities at the Inch following the scheme, commenting: “The play equipment will be new and will have public input.

Verona Hutcheon, who had earlier said she takes her children outwith Brechin to other play facilities due to the lack in the town, backed the view the public should be involved, adding: “Give an option to the school to ask what play equipment they want.”

She continued: “If there is a plan we want to know what that is. It’s the silence and not knowing what’s happening that is frustrating.”

She added: “I’m a positive person, I would like to know that in three or four years time we can say, ‘look at the play facilities we’ve got. Look at what the council have done.’”