SNP councillors get down to business

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With two weeks having passed since councillors Mairi Evans and Jim Houston were elected to represent the Brechin and Edzell ward, the duo are now keen to get their teeth into council business.

Having already served a term in the council Mairi already knows that The City Hall and Inglis Memorial library are two of the biggest issues she wants solved and she has not hesitated in seeking solutions.

“We are really keen to get started right away, especially since we heard of so many issues when knocking on the doors during the election campaign,” explained Mairi.

“One of the first things I did was instruct the director of neighbourhood services to find costing for the City Hall.

“We don’t know, over the course of this term, what we will be able to do, if anything, with the City Hall but I think we need to get those figures as a starting point to see how much will be needed in terms of the internal and external costs.

“I have no idea why the City Hall has been ongoing for so long and it does make people believe that there is some ulterior motive with the council trying to shut things down.

“We are going to have a tough time on our hands in the next few years anyway.

“The other major issue, as far as I am concerned, is the Inglis Memorial Hall and the library service there. That is one thing that I am keen to press on with.

“Ideally I want to see the library back in the Inglis Memorial Hall.

“I know that the Edzell Library Action Group and the council have been meeting over the past couple of months and that they have been going out to consultation and I think it is progressing well but I just want to make sure that it goes as speedily as it can. At the end of the day, we do see a library back in there.

“We will have to ensure that the finances are in place but ideally that is what I will be fighting for.”

With Jim being elected to serve on the council, alongside Mairi as an SNP and Bob Myles standing as an independent Mairi thinks things will be different this term.

“I think it will be different now in terms of a few aspects,” Mairi continued.

“One of the most important aspects for me is that Jim got elected as well.

“So it is not just me on my own or me individually. I know we had other councillors for the ward before but we can work as a team more now.

“There will be two strong voices fighting for Brechin.

“Being the other councillor during last term I do think we were left out.

“I was in those debates in the chamber when the Provost and leader actively voted against keeping the Inglis Memorial Library.

“It felt like it was us versus them and that is something that we want to change and eradicate from the offset as we are all there to do the same thing. Everybody knows there is not a lot of money in the budget but we have to at least make sure that we get out fair share.”

Having only been in the position for a couple of weeks Jim has already got his teeth into a number of issues, including rural road traffic concerns.

“We have had one or two comments and phone calls already regarding that,” he commented.

“One in particular is out at Barrelwell, and I have already written to the director of roads asking for a meeting to discuss this. I am now just waiting a reply.

“The other big issue, throughout the whole area, was about play parks in Brechin and again we are in a better position to ask officers what can be done and what is currently available.

“We are keen to meet people who do use e-mail and telephone face-to-face. If there is an issue get in touch.

“We aim to be open, honest and transparent with people.

“If we have to say, no that is not possible, we will let people know why it is not possible, not just give a blanket “there is no money”.

“There is no pot of gold hidden in a cupboard somewhere.

“The reality is that money is going to be tight over the next few years.

“We will try and do the best we can for the people of Brechin”.

Mairi and Jim are also keen to raise the profile of Brechin itself, building on the positivity that is coming out of events being held in the town.

“There are a lot of positives in Brechin, involving the retailers,” they said.

“We hear of lots of things in the pipeline that are about to happen.”

The councillors are also keen to hear about plans from the Community Council in Brechin to hold a music event sometime in the future.

“We have also been talking to the youngsters in the Scottish Youth Parliament and are trying to work something out with them.

“We could say a skate park, we could say a music festival, who knows, but at least we are talking about these things and are trying to get interested bodies.”

Summing up the next five years Jim said: “I think we are in a better position to plead our case and have more chance for success, because we are in the administration.”