Richard Davis of Uig (4th September) hits the nail on its head in his suspicion that
the use of HSE policy by the Western Isles Council to highlight the disastrous hazard
awaiting children in the combat zone of Community Skips necessitaing their withdrawal
is no more than a ruse to curb cash expenditure from its budgets.
The scrapping of Community Skips is just one more example of the on going folly of
supposed community policy by this council. At best it is reactive rather than proactive
and certainly decided by the jerking of knees and or a coin flip. Why for example
are the roads in Tabert now denuded of surface dressing being left to simply break
up in the heavy rain rather than immediately being renewed? Why are children - and
not close to home, being forced to walk an extra mile or pay for the privilege of
keeping warm and dry on their sojourn to even further and further apart schools?
Just a couple of examples.
The withdraw of the Community Skip Service on the grounds of HSE is a farce. How
many children are ever seen playing in the vicinity of a skip most of which are located
outwith the rural townships any way? The fact is more children are injured on the
Western Isles by adopting abandoned tractors, cars, boats even buses as play areas
than CnES skips. The threats of nuclear fallout, bee stings and alien attack are
more prevalent than 'Skip Wars.'
This council seeks to penny pinch in the rural areas on one of the few actual services
we receive. In Lemreway an excellent team of refuse collectors visit once a fortnight
and a Library van for those who use it appears weekly. And well And? No mains sewerage
system or even the once proposed township collective scheme, no township drainage
system, 4 street lights (grudgingly maintained on the housing scheme as there is
the one and only piece 20 metres of pavement) and a newly installed mains water supply
that in fact tastes worse than the older Loch water supply we once had and delivery
of which is reliant on an oft interrupted electricity supply. Even the bus service
is being reduced/withdrawn in its current route.
In my case this costs me £1500 a year. Value for Money - well you decide. Now the
bureaucrats want to relieve us of any means of safe disposal of bulk rubbish - which
they singularly them selves are not prepared to collect. Made worse by the fact
that the vast majority of the elderly residents of Pairc have no personal means of
disposal of bulk items.
So as it was before the rubbish will be simply fly tipped across the bye roads of
Lewis. Scattered across passing places and moor access roads. Cynically I will
remark that, some, local builders and contractors will exasperate the problem as
they too now will be unable to use (abuse) the community skip service.
Our gallant leaders will tell us that unpleasant cuts have to be made and I understand
that - my gripe is with their priorities. Unless I am mistaken the Council Tax payer
is still subsidising a staff canteen in the White House? Why and I make this remark
thoughtfully is money wasted on Gaelic usage and translation in Council business?
Gaelic is a terrific medium and a art and cultural heritage and should be encouraged.
That said it is exactly that and has no general purpose in the business, importantly
IT, political and commercial world where even most of Europe use one common language
in their activities.
So I am not to have a Skip Service - paying for Gaelic translation is more important
or feeding employed and reasonably paid public sector staff at reduced rates fairer
than the environment clean? Lets not mention the fact we have 31 well paid Councillors
albeit rarely seen, who continue to promise to reduce their numbers yet none stands
to fall on his/her sword leave and hand the money back. Better then I watch Mr MacX
, retired, car lost to inflated fuel prices, drag his old cooker on a trolley to
the nearest passing place on the single track and simply leave it there. Challenged
he will reply with the Hebridean rallying call "But, this is the way we have always
In closing, I will restate my condemnation of the Western Isles Council in with drawing
the Community Skip on the grounds of a HSE threat to children with two thoughts.
If the skips and their contents assembled in a monitored, collected and confined
space are a HSE threat to children is not the subsequent further abandonment of
this rubbish on the unmonitored open and adjacent moor and play areas not a greater
HSE threat to children? Or is this a case of slop shoulders by the Council with
"Not our problem now?"
If the skips are an HSE threat to children is not therefore the Councils promotion
of the industrialisation of Pairc with wind turbines, pylons and the massive Interconnector
and its vast and dangerous convertor station? Are not our children under greater
threats from lorries and trucks thundering through the narrow confines of the road
and school access in Gravir? Are the children not at threat by the convoys of plant
and heavy vehicles racing through the peaceful roads that children currently play
adjacent too or even in? Some children in Pairc will spend their formulative years
in this proposed environment.
No, there is profit and vested interest in the building of grossly inefficient on
shore wind turbines but sod all to gain by service provision to the community.
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