Recycling How Easy Is It?

This is going to be my last Blog of 2009. Lots has happened, mostly good. I like to quote  a line from a film. “It’s been emotional”

Right, now onto the reason I am Blogging. Recycling, How easy is it really? I always tried to do my best, but previously I lived in a flat and really did not have room for all the containers. Now I live in a bigger place where I can stored the multitude of containers.

So as from today I am going to try and recycle everything. I want to see how much rubbish I can’t recycle. Already, I have filled one of those blue boxes to about half. One day and already half! Saying that, I have been grocery shopping.

So lets see how I on. I plan to monitor it for January and then evaluate it to see how I am doing. I may even weight it (sad I know)

Just to let you know. I live with just my 7 year old son (he is not here all the time) and me. So no huge family.

Happy New Year!

Out and About

I decided to go out on a Patrol with the CEO’s (Civil Enforcement Officer) in my role as Chairman of the Parking Panel. I thought it was a good idea to see what the ‘foot soldiers’ face before we came up with some new and wonderful way on this issue. At the end of the day they are the ones who are going to have to enforce these good ideas. So I had better go and see what they do.

One of the CEO’s called Emma agreed to show me around. Our route was in the centre of Truro. Out we went just before 10am. You might think it takes a special kind of person to do this job. They are. Not because they get satisfaction of issuing tickets, but they are able to resist cold like Polar Bears. Today was a cold one.

Emma showed my around all the problem areas and gave me some ideas on how they could be improved. Some of the historic problems probably aren’t solvable, unless you knocked the street down. I don’t think people would be happy with that. So certain areas would best be handled under ‘it’s not perfect, but it kinda works’.

Whilst out and about people came up to emma and asked various question as to where a certain shop is, or where they could park legally etc. Emma was a one person information booth. Happily giving out the advice when needed.

Generally most people Parked well and within the law. I thought it was going to be worse and  maybe it is elsewhere (will report when I visit other areas). Today I was only patrolling one area. What I did notice whilst I was out is that a certain group adds to a lot of  the troubles.

I may get some flak from this, but one group who seems to ‘add’ to the trouble are Blue Badge Holders. It seems (and i am far from accusing them all) because they have a Blue Badge they can parking anywhere they like. In loading bays, restricted zones and one car I saw just ‘abandoned’ on the pavement at the top of Pydar Street. I was surprised how big the problem was. Out of all the tickets issued (6 in a 2 hour period), one was for a non-badge holder.

One lady who is also a Badge Holder was parking in a loading bay whilst she went shopping. I know this because she returned laden with goods. She got issued a ticket and appeared just after the ticket was issued. She was not happy and called the CEO vermin with a few other choice mutterings. Emma did say she had been called far, far worse and with words that no person should ever say. You might think nothing wrong in parking there but those bays are there for a purpose. If the delivery trucks can’t park there, then they just park were they can and in return it causes more trouble. 

Over all it was refreshing to see those who had been issued tickets accept they were in the wrong and once Emma explained why. They seemed to accept it. Maybe it was because I was standing next to Emma and they had no idea who I was or what role. Emma did mention that people had accepted it more today.

I came away with a good picture of this area and its problems. Some I hope we can solve. Others I think won’t be unless we redesign Truro. All in all a good day, apart from losing the ability to feel my toes.

Out with the Police

Last night I had the privilege of being allowed to go out on patrol with the Police. Its called an Insight Patrol and its meant for us in Politics to see what the Police do in the real word and not what you see endlessly on TV.

An Officer (His name is Derick) was assigned to me for the evening and took me out on patrol. To be honest I was not there to see some Sweeney type ‘Cops and Robbers’ car chase or sliding over the bonnet in a Boyle style manoeuvre. I wanted to see what the real Police job was. You know, the day to day stuff.

I was not disappointed in what I was shown. It was real Police stuff. Some of it Crime Prevention in talking to those who had previous (like we know who you are, so don’t try it), Patrolling, talking to the Youth, visiting the ‘Boy Racers (and girl ones as well)and just being there as a presence.

We are quick to knock the Police, especially when we have been a victim of crime, but they really do care and want to help. I am more than happy to say that I felt proud to be out and about with the Officers from Helston as they showed a huge dedication to the job. They have a tough job to do, often thankless, but they still are able to keep their sense of humour even when the powers-to-be try and cut budgets and resources.

Thank you again

Alternative Weekly Collections

This little beauty was hidden in page 52 of the Draft Budget Plan (Agenda and Reports. Sorry I could not hot link the page as its a PDF file. The document you are looking is Draft Budget)

I was surprised to see this in there considering this item had not been discussed by the full Council or even been briefed on it. It was also only for the Western and Eastern Areas, but not the Central. (later i was told this was because those contracts were up first)

Now, I get worried when I see items like this in a Budget for the future without discussion. Are we being bounced into this? I damn well hope not. I did ask the King if he would give his word that this subject would have FULL Public Consultation before anything was even proposed. He said yes it would (I will hold him to that). I was told this could be implemented in two years time. Sounds a long time away, but time sure does fly.

The subject of rubbish collection is about as emotive to people as placing a Nuclear Power Station next to a Children’s School. As you have seen in the press people who have it imposed on them tend to take to the streets with pitch forks and burning torch’s

I personally have not seen any proof that fortnightly collections are anything more than a money saving exercise. We go on about recycling, but maybe it would be a help if those who make the packaging use LESS of it. Until that time I will be supporting the current weekly system.

Saying that. I work for you, and if you want Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly or another system and it what the majority want, then I will do my best to get what you want. (even though personally I might not be convinced other than weekly is better).

I think when this discussion does indeed take place its going to one not to miss.

Good ideas Club Pt2

Cabinet meeting (AKA Good Ideas Club) over at the Ivory Towers. Big agenda with lots to discuss. The King welcomed everyone and then informed those present that items concerning the Route Partnership (Scilly Link) were removed from the Agenda. He outlined the reasons with “we are looking into possible options including Falmouth”. A good start then.

The Public are allowed to ask questions (must send them in before hand). There were a few from those in Penzance in reference to the Scillies Link. Graham did well at first, but then he answered a question about what other options are being looked at now that Plan A had been turned down. His response was short and i quote “not in Penzance“. Talk about killing the conversation. (I dread to think the headlines tomorrow). For the record I like Graham and I believe he makes decisions for what he believes are right reasons, but has a way in delivering answers or points like a brick through a stained glass window.

It was then turn of the individual Cabinet members to outline their services and what they had been doing since the last meeting. Armand Toms (Details) with his Adults and Social Care Portfolio showed real leadership in what he said post the critical and some may say unfair report into this Service. He showed he has a real handle on his role and the service is in good hands.

I can’t say that for another Cabinet Member. The other Portfolio Holders all took the lead on their reports in bringing their Directors in when a more detailed explanation was required. This Member did not. They hardly said a word and in fact you would have thought her Director was the boss and they were there merely to hold the pencils. Considering her Portfolio got slammed in the Ofsted report resulting in the previous Director falling on his sword her display today did not inspire confidence. I was not the only Councillor to notice because many were openly talking about that very subject.

Being a Portfolio holder is hard and more so when the rub is going against you. Who said it was going to be easy. Could others do a better job? Well, we will cross that bridge if and when it happens.

Electoral Commission

The Electoral Commission published it’s final recommendations on the make up of Cornwall for future Elections. This mystical group asks for your views, but from what I have seen just does what it wants. It was best explained to me by a senior Lawyer on how they come to their conclusions. They drive to an area. Have a look around for a day or two, drive back and then make its decision. He gave the impression they don’t get out of the car often.

 Electoral Commission Report

For my area there are no real changes, apart it has a new title. It will be called Porthleven and Helston West in future Elections. Other areas got changed or where a change was requested that seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

I guess those in the darkened rooms know what they are doing. Anyway, have a read and let me know what you think.

The Ferry

 Monday was a day for big decisions. The Strategic Planning Committee (me being a member of it) had the unenviable task of deciding the proposed planning for a new terminal and other assorted items for the Isle of Scilly Link. (I posted about this a few days ago when I attended the Public Meeting).

Many of the speakers who spoke at the Public Meeting were present. Some there as spectators, others to speak (limited to 3 mins). The Committee Councillors then asked various questions (i personally asked many)

After about 5 hours of discussion it was time to make a decision. Do we reject or pass. Many of the Committee argued both ways. It was going to be a close vote. The  local Cornwall Councillors seemed to favour rejection. I called for a recorded vote.

The vote was 12-7 in favour of rejection. The Public cheered at the result. Did we make the right choice? I guess time will tell. There is a possibility that over £40 million worth of funding could be lost or the link moves out of Penzance all together. (no confirmation on either)

Penzance Harbour Story
BBC News – Ferry 

People said it was a day for local democracy and common sense in rejecting these plans. What happens if the money or link does indeed leave. Is that a price worth paying to protect a historic harbour?

Community Event

On Saturday a Community Event took place in Bulwark Rd,( It’s a large Estate) Helston.  I helped organise the event along with other parties. The aim of the event was to show that Cornwall Council (me) and other Agencies do care and want to help. Those agencies that did help and helped to organise it were C4NC, Helston’s Family Centre, Community Network Manager, RNAS Culdrose, Police, Fire Service, Helston Town Council, Sanctuary Housing, Shelter Box and the WI. A pretty good turn out.

The event was free, all you really had to do in return for free food, Face painting, Surf Simulator, Smoke alarm fitting was to fill in a simple Questionnaire. Loads did, and with that information I will be working on what the Residents want, and not the other way around. Even as a added bonus in if you filled out your form, you got entered into a Prize Draw (prizes totalled £140). Not bad eh?

My main aim (apart from showing we do care) was to encourage those in the area to take a active part in its future. I hate the word Residence Association as they sound too formal. I would like them to form a Community Group. If they (with my help) get that set up they then will be able to apply for Funding to improve the area. Again a win, win situation.

The event was a success. Loads turned up. Some no doubt suspicious as to what’s happening, other may have thought it would cost them. When they did indeed find out its was free, more turned up. I think we must have fed every child on the estate. (WI did a wonderful job on the food). The over all feeling was in the past they felt they had been forgotten. When it was explained we wanted to help they came out with some great ideas. Hopefully with those ideas we will actually achieve something.

Again, I would like to thank all those who helped make this event a success. Special thanks should go to April for 4 hours of non-stop face painting in cold conditions!

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