Our Common Good is for Teries

Further to last week’s article on possible changes to the way Common Good Funds are handled, I would like to make the following comments:

Firstly, Councillor Riddell-Carre appears to have forgotten the basic premise of Common Good Funds, namely that they belong to the people of individual towns to be used for the benefit of the people of individual towns. They are not part of an all-in conglomeration.

Different Funds have different needs, and monies need to be readily accessible especially with regard to property upkeep – an essential for the Hawick Common Good Fund.

She refers to an investment strategy, but investment strategies can lead to money being locked up and not available when required. New investment strategies may take some considerable time to produce worthwhile returns given the current economic situation, with returns being more than swallowed up by administration costs. Hawick already has an investment strategy which works well and serves the need of Hawick Common Good initiatives.

When she telephoned last week to berate me for daring to tell the people of Hawick about their common good fund she did acknowledge that if Hawick wanted to maintain its status quo, then that would be quite acceptable!

Hawick councillors, acting as trustees of Hawick Common Good Fund, will not be bullied into a strategy which does not suit our fund requirements.

Transparency is essential, especially when there is a risk of Common Good monies disappearing into one huge pot.

PROVOST ZANDRA ELLIOT

I read in last week’s Hawick News that community wardens have banned the walking of dogs on river banks and cemeteries. While I may admit they have a point about dogs running around in cemeteries, banning dogs going on river banks is another ludicrous decision made by overpaid councillors with nothing better to do with their time. And the wardens are no better, give them a little power and it goes to their heads.

How many times on a glorious summer day have you seen people out with their dogs and the dog runs down to the water for a drink. Sorry, not allowed now because the dog can’t go on a river bank, in fact now you can’t even let your dog go for a swim.

Another instance that springs to mind is the lovely walk from Hawick to Denholm. From Mansfield down to Staney Bridge, then past Trowmill on to Knowetownhead, then on along the waterside to Denholm bridge. Just about all that road is beside the river. You can still walk it, just don’t take your dog.

There won’t be many people walking their dogs in Wilton Lodge Park park this year either, because the last time I was there there was a river running alongside it!

So a little word of warning to our councillors and wardens, while there are some irresponsible dog owners, please do not penalise the responsible ones who, after a hard week at work and having paid their taxes (to pay the wages of councillors and wardens) like nothing better than taking their dogs for a walk while enjoying the fresh air.

DAVID OLIVER

n Talking Point, page 13

Your editorial comment last week stated “we have already lost the social work building in Lothian Street”. Quite apart from the inaccuracy in that the building is still owned and run by Scottish Borders Council, the critical implication of this is surprising!

When social work moves into the town hall, users of the service will instead be able to walk off the High Street directly in to the town hall, in the same way as anyone else can use the contact centre, without facing the steep hill to Lothian Street, and the poor facilities in the present offices there for disabled access. The social work staff will work in refurbished offices.

The town hall, which has had spare accommodation following the removal of Planning, Building Control and Legal staff to Newtown St Boswells, will again be filled, and vibrant. Finally the former social work building in Lothian Street becomes available for sale or rental, hopefully providing employment opportunities. A list of benefits, surely.

A recent meeting of local councillors with SBC’s property officers identified more than 150 properties in the town which are under the council’s management. There has to be examination of whether such a number is needed, and making the best possible use of the town hall and of the Lothian Street offices is a start!

COUNCILLOR RON SMITH

Executive Member for social work (children and strategic services)

I REFER to last week’s letter from Jamie Batten, the contents of which one could only describe as complete and utter tripe. To devote several of your column inches to his outlandish suggestion that council leader David Parker might encourage his fellow councillors to close the leisure centre to make way for a train station, has, in my eyes, dealt a blow to this newspaper’s credibility.

And after this, Mr Batten’s latest bout of drivel, I’m left asking myself why you continue to pander to his seemingly insatiable desire for the oxygen of publicity.

Please, Mr Editor, no more.

BOB SCOTT

WE WOULD like to thank everyone who supported the recent coffee morning in Trinity church hall, at which more than £500 was raised for the Nan Lyle tribute and the walking festival.

HAWICK 50+ GROUP

May I, through your columns, say a huge thank you to all the local companies and shops which supported my race night on Friday by donating fantastic raffle prizes to raise funds for me to go to Borneo as part of the Jungle Adventure Project 2011. Even during these times of difficulty, their generosity was once again truly amazing and is very much appreciated.

Can I also take this opportunity to thank all those who helped to organise the event, and those who came along with friends and family.We managed to raise a phenomenal £1,461 – thanks again to each and every one of you.

I look forward, along with the other venturers, to updating you all on our expedition on our return in August

HAYDEN REITH