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Mystery surrounds Eastwood Pool closure Print E-mail

The council web site currently is displaying a message that “The pools at Eastwood Park Leisure have closed for essential work.”

The web site goes on to say “Repairs are to take place at both the main pool and the small pools to solve ongoing technical issues.”

However the public in numbers have been asking questions and getting no proper answers.

On the council facebook page one contributor, Graeme Turner asked “But yet again, you will not tell the Public, who Pay to use your Pools what the problem actually is, just continually state "Technical Problems"

East Renfrewshire Council responded “Graeme, routine tests of water quality have given readings that are higher than normal, There is no risk to health from using the pools but the readings are over the limit allowed for public swimming.” “We are working with water industry experts to find out why this is happening and to come up with a permanent solution.”

Another contributor Philip Wilson said “I am grateful for Mr Turner eliciting a reply from ERC but I think it is less than complete as I would expect to be told what causes readings to rise and what long term steps need to be taken to produce the kind of product the public has paid for. Indeed a "need to know" apology is not good enough. It is the ratepayers pool not ERC's”

Other contributors are looking for refunds for fees already paid. Alison Coyle said “This really isn't good enough. I want refund on my swimming lessons that have been missed and not a discount from the next block because at this rate we won't be staying for another block - the kids need consistency when learning to swim and you don't appear to be able to give this.” and Jaclyn Andrews said “I am waiting on a refund for cancelled lessons during the summer. I was told a cheque would be in the post a few weeks ago.”

This would appear to have been an ongoing problem since at least 27th June 2014.

The Eastwood Park Leisure web site on 27th June said “Please note our pools are closed at present but will re-open again on Sunday we apologise for the disruption.”

However every week since then there would appear to be updates that it would open, then these were rescinded and further opening dates announced only to be rescinded once again.

Between September and October 2003, 50 suspected cases of cryptosporidiosis linked to the Eastwood Pool were reported to the Public Health Protection Unit.

East Renfrewshire Council, which owns and manages the pool, closed the pool following the rise in the number of cases and an outbreak control team (OCT), led by the then Greater Glasgow NHS Board, was convened to investigate the cause of the infection. East Renfrewshire Council addressed the actions required immediately at the time of the outbreak and the pool was reopened.

The pool was closed for three months and £30,000 spent on refurbishment.

NEWSLINE has requested information from the Head of Communication of East Renfrewshire Council, Louisa Mahon and we await a reply. We have also provided the convenor Mary Montague with the opportunity to comment.

East Renfrewshire Council apologise after message posted from official Twitter account Print E-mail

East Renfrewshire council has apologised after a member of staff tweeted: "Alistair shut yer pus!!!" from its official account during the televised referendum debate.

The Council has launched an investigation and issued an apology after the message was posted online during Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling's second televised debate.

It appeared on the local authority's official Twitter account at around 9.25pm on Monday when an employee posted "Alistair shut yer pus!!!".

The council removed the post and issued an online apology before a further statement was released on Tuesday.

They tweeted: "Apologies folks. Personal views being expressed through council Twitter and situation now in hand. No offence meant."

A spokeswoman said the incident was "unacceptable" and said an investigation had been launched.

She added: "East Renfrewshire Council would like to apologise for any offence caused by an inappropriate tweet during the referendum debate.

"This was an unacceptable use of the council’s Twitter account. This would appear to be a genuine human error, which we are investigating, and measures are in place to make sure that this does not happen again."

Is an East Ren Cllr being economical with the truth in order to secure popularity in his adopted fiefdom? Print E-mail

NEWSLINE was alerted to the following letter that has been put through doors of houses in Woodfarm, Thornliebank.

This area was always thought of as the stronghold of Jim Fletcher (Labour) however it would appear that Vincent Waters (SNP) has aspirations to take over the lead in this ward.

From the letter we can see that Cllr Waters is claiming sole responsibility for the allocation of Scottish Government funds to upgrade only houses in Woodfarm over all others in East Renfrewshire.

Cllr Vincent Waters

Quote “I made a strong case to the Housing service that it should be the flats in Woodfarm that had this money spent on them”

Letter from Vincent Waters

This refers to rendering work and we have contacted Cllr Waters and requested he confirm that this grant relates to the £459,054 allocated to East Ren as part of the Scottish Governments Energy efficiency measures to target fuel poverty. However Cllr Waters has refused to respond.

Newsline understand that this is part of a £60 million package that was provided to the Scottish Government by the UK Government.

The choice of where the £459,054 split for East Ren was to be spent was solely the responsibility of ERC staff and not Councillors, and indeed we are led to believe that the grant has already been split between Thornliebank and a suburb of Barrhead.

Houses after rendering

Just what the other elected members for this ward think about this we do not know, Cllr Wallace and Cllr Fletcher have failed to respond to requests for comment.

ERC spend £677,000 a year on solicitors Print E-mail

It has been revealed that during the last 12 months ERC have spent in the region of £163,000 (Exc VAT) to engage the services of solicitors. These fees only apply to around 34 individual matters and on only one occasion does it include a Queens Council (£18,000 Exc VAT), the remainder of the costs are in relation to solicitors.

These figures were obtained under a Freedom of Information Request.

However Newsline has also established that ERC currently employ one Chief Solicitor. one Principle solicitor, five Senior solicitors, two Solicitors and two Trainee solicitors.

We are aware that the last Chief Solicitor was on a salary of £113,686 and a check of a national pay scale search engine shows the average salary at £50,000 for a senior, £33,000 for a solicitor and £17,000 for a trainee.

That would appear to equate to at least an annual bill of £514,000 to employ a legal staff of eleven solicitors.

Yet even with that amount of expertise this council requires to pay out at least £163,000 (Exc VAT) to deal with matters of concern.

Chair of Community Council bans recording of his public meetings Print E-mail

Savio D’Souza who is the chair of Giffnock Community Council has issued a decree that he will evict anyone found to be recording his public community council meetings.

Savio D’Souza

In the meeting of March 2014 he is quoted as indicating that meetings are open to the public, however he then informs members to be vigilant about any unauthorised use of mobile phones and Ipads.

One CC member commented about the intimidating affect resulting in people feeling that they are not free to speak as a result.

The entire CC then agreed that that any individual suspected will be immediately asked to leave and could be evicted from the premises.

Just where Mr D’Souza thinks that he has the authority or power to evict a member of the public from a public meeting is a matter of concern.

All community council meetings by legislation are open to the public.

Since public meetings are open to absolutely everyone, no one speaking out at a meeting can claim they were speaking "off the record" or otherwise speaking privately, so just why would anyone wish to prevent a recording being made.

Will the next step by Savio D’Souza be to prevent members of the public taking pen and paper to record notes.

UK Legislation supports the use of recording the ‘open’ parts of meetings, even under European Human Rights legislation.

Newsline has contacted Mr D’Souza and provided him with an opportunity to comment on his apparent strange take on democracy, we will report his comments in full if he replies.

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