Old Susannah gets to grips with more tricky terms.
A Quick Word on Willows Animal Sanctuary
Aberdeen City Council can find £200K for public relations firms to find out why people don’t want to get rid of Union Terrace Gardens. Ian Wood can offer £50 Million to the City if it spends twice as much in getting rid of Union Terrace Gardens. While the rest of us can’t hope to do anything as grand or important, Old Susannah would ask if anyone out there can please make a donation to Willows Animal Sanctuary in Fraserburgh which is in desperate need of money and animal feed (feed is being collected for all kinds of animals for Willows at Love and Roses, South Crown Street, Aberdeen).
Please visit http://www.willowsanimals.com to see what good work they do, and how you can help them survive.
The unfortunate reality is that when we are in hard, uncertain economic times, two things go wrong for animals. Firstly, people cannot always afford to keep making donations to charities, and funding for many good causes from the private sector falls (which is why we are lucky to have such a compassionate, caring local government). The second is that in hard times animals get cruelly dumped as people can’t afford food or veterinary care. Willows is a major player in helping animals in the North East – please help if you can.
This may come as a surprise, but if you are a homeowner, then you should maintain your property. Yes, really. If you were unsure whether you should let your roof leak or your stairwells collapse, then Aberdeen City Council has come to your rescue.
Inspectors are visiting your streets as I write, looking at your gutters, stairs and slates, and if anything’s amiss, then a dedicated team of inspectors will send you a glossy colour brochure and a letter telling you what you should do. The keener inspector will ask to be let into your building, garden or home with no prior appointment. (The phrase ‘Just say no’ springs to mind).
Old Susannah has received such a letter, advising that her building’s occupants ‘might want to look at their guttering’. The letter helpfully says that the Council cannot force us to make any repairs – AT THE MOMENT. Strangely enough, there is nothing to advise where the extra money will be coming from to make the suggested repairs. It is gratifying to know that the Council can free up money and resources to tell private property owners what they should do. Over the past few years I have seen people trip and injure themselves on the City’s hazardous, uneven pavements, and I know people who have waited months in Council flats for serious repairs including leaks.
A few years ago a woman was injured when her council flat ceiling fell in on her. A certain local builder whose kitchen floors are prone to give way if too many people are on them, may or may not have heard from the Council. But as we all know kitchens are dangerous places, and only a few people should ever be in one at any given time. I also understand from reliable sources that there may be a slow-down on Council flat refurbishments and workers are being temporarily (?) laid off. ‘Practice what you preach’ will appear in a forthcoming definition.
Project management should be simple: a project needs three things: a budget, a timescale, and a ‘scope’ of exactly what the project should be, make, or accomplish. About this time last year, NESTRANS (our friendly North East transportation quango/board) told an Aberdeen Civic Forum that it did not know how much the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route would cost or where the money was coming from. It also could not say where the route would be going exactly. Other than such trivialities, the AWPR will no doubt be a triumph. The speaker did assure us however, that the project would happen in 2012. Watch this space.
The City Council HAS shown signs of improvement lately. This year we are only (?) writing off £2.8 million pounds of ‘bad debt’ this year. This is a vast improvement on the £11 million it wrote off a few years back. It seems it’s just too hard to get money from some people who owe tax, parking fines, other fees – so we just declare it ‘bad debt’ and that’s that. An affluent, economically sound city like Aberdeen can afford to do so. Especially now that it has found some way to borrow £200 million worth of taxpayer’s money from the central government – which somehow is not going to cost us anything. Well, unless you are a taxpayer. Then you are loaning the City Council money. No prizes for guessing that they want to put most of this into getting rid of Union Terrace Gardens (sorry, building a prosperous civic square with parking and shops) – and have no interest in reinstating the many services it has cut .