AFTER a fiery meeting this evening, members of Stonehaven and District Community Council will continue their battle to save the Invercarron Resource Centre by requesting a meeting with the chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council and the chairman of the Integrated Joint Board.
SDCC will also write to Audit Scotland and to Marie Gougeon MSP to express their dissatisfaction at the lack of consultation over the recently announced decision to turn the centre into a permanent vaccine clinic.
Community Council determined to do everything they can
Last month, SDCC held an emergency meeting to discuss the planned closure of the centre that opened in 1995 to give our older residents a social hub. Following that meeting, a letter was sent to senior Aberdeenshire Council officers expressing their concerns.
At their meeting tonight, members heard from Councillors Agnew and Dickinson, who said they had not been involved in the decision making process – as the centre was already in use by Aberdeenshire Council Health and Social Care Partnership, the change in its function was seen as an operational matter.
Cllr Dickinson said: ”With regard to governance, my understanding is that the governance sits with the Integration Joint Board, on which there are councillors represented, Cllr Dennis Robertson being one.
”At the moment, this decision is not coming out of any governance structure that I can influence with a vote, though this does not mean I can not speak up and try to influence things.”
Mrs Dickinson added: ”I think one of the very important points is the lack of community engagement, this is a really important change of comunity use and the review that was promised should have happened.”
Audit Scotland and our MSP to be contacted
Jim Stephen is also chair of Stonehaven Town Partnership, STP. He said they had decided to go directly to the local authority’s chief executive Jim Savage with their concerns.
Chairman Bill Watson queried Mr Savage’s role in the matter and suggested the chair of the Integrated Joint Board also be invited to attend a meeting with the SDCC – and members readily agreed it should be a specially convened meeting.
Ian Hunter said: ”This is a serious failure of democracy again. We have seeen the closure of the Mackie Academy pool when we were virtually told it was none of our business.
”We are told this time it is an operational matter – this is absolutely outrageous.”
Mike Duncan asked if it was a matter that could be referred to Audit Scotland. He said he also felt MSP Mairi Gougeon MSP should be contacted. These suggestions were agreed.
Ian Hunter added: ”It is normal Scottish Government policy to work with the community. Here we have a terrible example of not working with the community.”
Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership is jointly accountable to Aberdeenshire Council and the NHS Grampian Board and is overseen by a joint board called the Integration Joint Board.