Monday, 10 December 2012
Christmas message from Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council
It seems hard to believe that Christmas has come around again and it really does seem that time has flown by this year!
As we enter the festive season, it’s worth remembering that this is a time to be with people you care about – a time for goodwill, sharing and listening to each other as we review the successes, consider the difficult times and look ahead to the future.
From a Council perspective, just as children will be listening keenly for sleigh bells in the snow, we’ve been listening closely to you and we will continue to do so.
This can be as simple as asking for your views on dog fouling or the nuisance caused by seagulls.
Or it can be more complex and far reaching such as considering your opinions on the strategic priorities for South Ayrshire and how best we can plan ahead to safeguard (and create) new jobs and business opportunities and deliver long term growth and prosperity locally.
During 2012, we’ve taken on board your views on topics from planning to building repair, children’s services to economic development, regeneration to empty homes, as well as community safety, waste disposal, older people’s services, nursery school provision, taxi services, road maintenance and repair.
We’ve welcomed your thoughts and suggestions on how we can refine the way we deliver our services to you and this level of feedback, constructive comments and excellent suggestions have driven us during 2012 – and will continue to spur us on in 2013 and beyond.
Your input has helped South Ayrshire Council achieve great successes and that is a credit to how you have engaged with us, especially as we face some difficult and challenging decisions and times ahead.
I’m proud of the work we do together and, through your involvement we’ve really been making things happen.
Across the Council services, we’ve been working hard to deliver the quality of service you rightly expect from us.
On the ground, we’ve seen the completion of an £8 million housing development at Somerset Road and Thornyflats in Ayr. That’s a significant investment in the local area, delivering much needed, high-quality homes to residents.
Our pupils and teachers have done us proud too, with exam results the best on record – and we’ve even had one of our Head Teachers, Lorraine Stobie, scoop a national lifetime achievement award.
But the good news did not stop there in 2012!
We’ve also been making good headway in the Carrick area, with ambitious plans to transform and regenerate the local area in and around Girvan, including the harbour area – and we’re still working hard to deliver a new leisure and sporting facility for the town.
And, speaking of community involvement, who could forget the amazing spectacle of the iconic Olympic Torch making its way through South Ayrshire – showcasing the very best of our towns and villages to a truly global audience?
Even as I write, the Gaiety Theatre will soon be entertaining audiences, young and old alike, with the pantomime Cinderella – a great example of how working together with the community can help deliver results that benefit everyone.
Behind the scenes, we’ve worked hard to streamline and improve our business model, giving the Council a firm financial footing and a robust structure of management, helping us to deliver services efficiently and effectively.
Financially, commercially, operationally, we’re stronger and fitter than ever before – but we also know much more has still to be done.
As your Council, we’ve come a long way to being the most improved local authority in Scotland - but we want to go further and really raise our ambitions on how we deliver for the whole of South Ayrshire, for every resident.
Just as we have come a long way together and achieved so much in 2012, I’d like to ask that this Christmas, we all spare a thought for those members of our society who may need a bit of extra support, a helping hand, or a shoulder to lean on.
For some, there will be loved ones who are no longer with us and, for others Christmas can be a time of loneliness.
By looking out for one another and by actively working together, I have no doubt we can enter 2013 more determined, prepared and ready to face the journey that lies ahead.
I wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a very happy New Year.