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Councillor caught parking in disabled zone Print E-mail

Cllr Vincent Waters has been engulfed in a PR disaster after his car was caught parked in a disabled parking zone.

The Vauxhall Zafira parked in a disabled drop off zone at Council Headquarters, in Giffnock.

 

Cllr Vincent Waters

A COUNCILLOR whose car was pictured parked in a disabled drop off zone has refused to comment or apologise.

Cllr Vincent Waters, the convenor for the environment of East Renfrewshire Council, was snapped by a member of the public parking his Vauxhall Zafira in a disabled drop off zone at Council Headquarters, in Giffnock.

Despite not displaying a blue badge, Cllr Waters, SNP member for Giffnock and Thornliebank, parked in the spot closest to the Headquarters main entrance.

The photo was taken on Wednesday 24th September 2014 when the Cllr parked at 6.30 pm and the vehicle remained in that spot until 7.45pm whilst he was at a meeting.

Cllr Waters has been criticised for his “inconsiderate actions” by fellow East Renfrewshire councillors.

Conservative shadow Environment spokesman, councillor Stewart Miller said, “I was shocked when I saw one of the Councillors responsible for the parking restrictions just dump his car in a disabled zone. He has, quite obviously, no regard for others, no regard for disabled people which, given all the work his partner has done over the years with disabled folk, is quite shameful, and he has absolutely no regard for all the businesses and their customers who have been ticketed over the past eighteen months.

And to make matters worse, the council meeting was about to discuss the Clarkston and Busby area (waiting and loading) order therefore it would appear he just doesn't care about his own remit with the Council. It would appear he is just happy to take the money.

And given her knowledge in working with the disabled, I'm very surprised his partner didn't correct him.

It looks like they are both too lazy to park in the Councillors car park and walk the few extra metres to the office 

I hope, when they see this,  they both hold their heads in shame”

A resident who is disabled and holds a blue badge told Newsline “I feel that when an able-bodied people parks in a disabled bay it is a sign of someone who lacks compassion and has a huge sense of entitlement.”

 

Sign displayed at the front of Council Headquarters, Giffnock.

The Blue Badge scheme is for disabled motorists whose condition affects their ability to walk.

The sign above is prominently displayed on a post at this drop off zone which is designed to permit people with disabilities to access the nearby ramp to the council building.

At the time Cllr Waters parked his car there were numerous spaces within the general car park and also many spaces within the dedicated councillors car park which is adjacent to the front door of the building.

Not only is there surprise that the convenor with responsibility for enforcing parking regulations in East Renfrewshire parked his vehicle in this area, but that his passenger condoned this.

Cllr Waters passenger who alighted from the vehicle when he parked it was his partner Lisa Patton. Ms Patton is the treasurer of East Renfrewshire Disability Action and a prominent member of a number of other disability groups and is currently employed as a community living worker, she is able bodied.

Disability Action aim to achieve equality for disabled people and have recently campaigned in relation to the Blue Badge scheme in East Renfrewshire.

Ms Patton has also refused to respond to requests for comment.

Cllr Waters and his partner Ms Patton

Cllr Waters and Ms Patton left together at 7.45 pm, presumably driving to their home in Thornliebank which is located ½ mile from council headquarters.

Perhaps we should take a leaf out of some French no parking signs which state:

Take my space, take my disability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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.

 
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