OUR local councillors come together as the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee for the last time on Tuesday, and guess what’s on the agenda – pot holes, in the guise of, ”the proposed programmes of works for Bridges, Cycling, Walking and Road Safety, Landscape Services, Coast and Flooding and Harbours, and the available funding for Roads.”
The drivers’ curse and the cyclists’ peril is often a symbol of the effectiveness of both a local authority and the councillors representing a poorly maintained stretch of road. A quick rummage in your recycling bin will find statements from local election candidates wanting to improve our road maintenance.
I suspect our seasoned (aka battle-weary) councillors may wish it were that simple. And if you want an insight into the real job of an elected representative, then a quick glance at the 50-or-so pages of the report supporting item 5 on Tuesday’s agenda will prove enlightening.
Much of what we are interested in is covered – our roads and bridges, graveyards, parks, walking and cycling routes, harbours and, will Stonehaven flood the next time it rains heavily?
For ‘programme of works’, also read money allocated to different areas of necessary spend.
The scale of the job is made clear in the second paragraph, ”Aberdeenshire’s infrastructure includes some 5,633 kilometres of carriageways, 1,601 kilometres of footways, 1,308 highway bridges, 44,600 streetlights, over 6,425 acres of open space, over 200 cemeteries, 447 play parks, almost 16,000 kilometres of watercourses, 200 kilometres of coastline and seven harbours.”
The number of bothersome potholes reported via the council’s website is not included. The amount of money targetting each facet of the various service provisions is.
The Revenue budget includes includes £12,382,000 to roads maintenance and £5,699,000 to parks and open spaces. Meanwhile the the capital plan includes: £11,750,000 for roads resurfacing and reconstruction. That should fix a few pot holes.
There is also something about Infrastructure Investment Funds (at point 3.7) that seems to indicate another £130+million of roads maintenance spending but, if I’m being honest, I don’t quite understand that bit.
Having said that, it is the paid job of our elected councillors to read and actually understand the report – then approve and/or make comment on the allocations of all these big numbers.
And on Thursday May 5, your job is to elect the people you think will read the report, understand the report and make what you think is the right response to the proposed allocation of funds.
Want to hear a councillor at work?
The Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee meets on Tuesday April 26 at 10am. The meeting will be conducted via Teams. Click here for the full agenda and a link to join the meeting.
Featured image – these pot holes have clearly been fixed, but I like the photo as it looks like a smiley emoji!