The SNP GROUP on Aberdeen City Council
NEIL MacGREGOR (Dyce, Bucksburn & Danestone)
Retired civil servant. Elected in by-election 19 May 2011. Re-elected 3 May 2012. Lives in Dyce. Neil has a strong interest in infrastructure and traffic, and hopes to help ensure Aberdeen is forward thinking and that the Council provides high quality services that people value. In his spare time he enjoys curling.
E-mail: email@example.com Tel. 01224 522412
GILL SAMARAI (Dyce, Bucksburn & Danestone)
Elected 3 May 2012. Lives in Bridge of Don. Gill would like to see improved quality of life and opportunities for the people of Aberdeen. She feels that services for older people are very important and that communities should be supported to have their voices heard. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and live music.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 01224 522178
MURIEL JAFFREY (Bridge of Don)
Retired legal secretary. b. Aberdeen. Elected 6 May 1999 (Donmouth). Re-elected 1 May 2003 (Donmouth). Re-elected 3 May 2007 and 3 May 2012. Muriel is a kent face in Bridge of Don. She works tirelessly on behalf of her constituents, and feels strongly that the Third Don Crossing and the AWPR are priorities for the area. She enjoys gardening and country rambles in her free time.
E-mail: email@example.com Tel. 01224 523596
SANDY STUART (Bridge of Don)
Taxi driver. Elected 3 May 2012. Lives in Bridge of Don. Sandy would like to see improvements to public transport in Aberdeen. He is also interested in improving services for older people and believes agencies should work together to reduce anti-social behaviour. In his spare time, he spends time with his family and reads.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 01224 522764
Dr. DAVID CAMERON (Kingswells & Sheddocksley)
Former chairman of NHS Grampian, food safety consultant. Elected 3 May 2012. David has spent the last 45 years trying to make a difference to people’s lives. He feels that planning issues are important to people in Kingswells and Sheddocksley and would like to see development completed sympathetically with benefit to the community. In his spare time, he likes ballroom dancing and playing golf.
E-mail: email@example.com Tel. 01224 522178
JACKIE DUNBAR (Northfield)
b. Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. Elected 3 May 2007. Re-elected 3 May 2012. Has lived in Middlefield for many years. Depute Provost Jul. 2009 -- May 2011. Deputy SNP Group Leader May 2007 --. She feels strongly about regeneration and would like to see more opportunities for those living in the city’s most deprived areas. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and local history.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 01224 522522
KIRSTY BLACKMAN (Hilton & Stockethill)
b. Aberdeen. Elected 3 May 2007 (as Kirsty West). Re-elected 3 May 2012. Kirsty has taken a particular interest in young people and would like to see improvements to the school estate and increased opportunities for those living in Aberdeen’s most deprived communities. When she is not working, she enjoys seeing Scotland and watching sport.
E-mail: KBlackman@aberdeencity.gov.uk Tel. 01224 522269
JIM NOBLE (Tillydrone, Seaton & Old Aberdeen)
Formerly with Aberdeen Harbour Board. b. Aberdeen. Elected 3 May 2007. Re-elected 3 May 2012. Lives in King Street, Linksfield. Jim hopes to continue to help the people who live in his area, and would like to see Aberdeen build more social housing. Outside of work, he enjoys going to the cinema and watching sport.
E-mail: email@example.com Tel. 01224 522051
BILL CORMIE (Midstocket & Rosemount)
b. Aberdeen. Elected 3 May 2007. Re-elected 3 May 2012. Lives in Rosemount. Depute Provost May 2011--May 2012. Bill has been well-known in the community for many years. He would like to see community projects in his area continue to flourish, and believes in equal opportunities for all. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening and reading.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 01224 523022
ANDY MAY (George Street & Harbour)
Retired head teacher. b. Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. Elected 1 May 2003 (Sunnybank). Re-elected 3 May 2007 and 3 May 2012. With his educational background, Andy hopes to continue to have a positive influence on education policy in the city. His hobbies include hillwalking and photography.
E-mail: email@example.com Tel. 01224 522619
JOHN CORALL (Hazlehead, Ashley & Queen's Cross)
Retired teacher and mariner. b. Aberdeen. Elected in by-election (Midstocket & Rosemount) 16 Aug. 2007. Re-elected 3 May 2012. Lives in Rosemount. John hopes to continue the good work that has been done over the past few years locally, and work on behalf of the citizens to ensure Aberdeen continues to prosper. His interests include local history and maritime affairs.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 01224 523176
GORDON TOWNSON (Airyhall, Broomhill & Garthdee)
Community engagement consultant and retired police officer. Elected in by-election 23 June 2011. Re-elected 3 May 2012. Gordon wants to continue to make a difference for Aberdeen. He would like youth engagement in the city to continue to be improved and the gap between the poorest and richest in our society reduced. He enjoys public speaking and charity fundraising.
E-mail: email@example.com Tel. 07825 378121 (m)
JIM KIDDIE (Torry & Ferryhill)
Retired manager. b. Kirkcaldy, Fife. Elected 1 May 2003 (Tullos). Re-elected 3 May 2007 and 3 May 2012. Jim has a wide range of interests and has campaigned on social care and wellbeing, regeneration and arts and culture. He is proud to continue serving the people of Torry and Ferryhill. In his spare time, Jim enjoys choral singing and travelling.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 01224 522593
GRAHAM DICKSON (Torry & Ferryhill)
Parliamentary assistant. Elected 3 May 2012. Graham has a keen interest in the local community and would like to see increased opportunities for those in Aberdeen’s most deprived areas, and see the council expand its social housing program. He also supports Duthie Park’s regeneration. His interests include reading, travelling and movies.
E-mail: email@example.com Tel. 01224 522764
CALLUM McCAIG (Kincorth & Loirston)
Parliamentary assistant. b. Edinburgh. Elected 3 May 2007. Re-elected 3 May 2012. SNP Group Leader May 2011--. Council Leader June 2011 -- May 2012. Callum has worked hard to ensure that Aberdeen fulfils its potential as an energy hub, and to secure a fairer funding deal for the city, bringing in over £4million additional pounds per year. He would like Aberdeen’s community to have a strong voice. In his spare time, he enjoys football and travelling.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 01224 523598
SNP COUNCILLORS IN ACTION
COMMUNITY GARDEN FOR BUCKSBURN
For years, residents of Bucksburn have been trying to establish a community garden or park in their area. This could soon become a reality with the development of a disused piece of land in Kepplehills Road.
On 1 June 2012, local councillors NEIL MacGREGOR (pictured) and GILL SAMAREI, were joined by Mark McDonald MSP in identifying land at the rear of the Cloverleaf Hotel, and close to the Beacon sports centre, as a potential site for the gardens. Mr. McDonald said: "Having previously represented Bucksburn as a local councillor, and now as a regional MSP, this project is unfinished business for me. I identified the potential for this land to be developed, and I intend to see that through to completion. I hope that this can be taken forward on a cross-party, community-wide basis, and that the organisations and individuals I have written to will react positively to my suggestion.”
Cllr. MacGregor added: “The need for more community greenspace in Bucksburn has long been a concern, and is one I have been acutely aware of since being elected to represent the area. I hope that this project can be taken forward to completion by all interested parties, working together to deliver the best for Bucksburn.” In a bid to speed up realisation of the project. he and Cllr. Samarai are requesting Aberdeen City Council to set up a working group to oversee the development. Their motion will be put before the Council in January.
BILL'S BULB PLANTING
In 2006, children from Skene Square Primary, Gilcomstoun Primary and Mile-End Primary schools began to take part in a bulb-planting scheme instituted and supervised by Cllr. BILL CORMIE (Midstocket & Rosemount).
The project was intended to encourage the pupils to take pride in their local communities, and to have a better understanding of nature. 5,000 crocus and daffodil bulbs were planted in Loanhead Terrace, Leadside Road and Raeden Park Road (pictured) on 2 November 2012, which brought their total up to a staggering 55,000!
As he planted the 55,000th bulb, Cllr. Cormie said: "Many kids in my ward don't have their own gardens, so this is an opportunity for them to learn about nature and get their hands dirty. The pupils will actively improve their local community, and give residents a better environment. I have seen pupils who have taken part in previous years stop other kids from damaging the flower beds, because they had been involved in planting them. After six years, this project is still really popular. It helps to bring the whole community together, and instils a sense of pride in the children."
NORTHFIELD RESIDENTS WELCOME AWPR VERDICT
Cllr. JACKIE DUNBAR (Northfield) welcomed the ruling of the UK Supreme Court on 17 October 2012, which rejected the latest appeal by the RoadSense group of objectors. The decision will allow the construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) to proceed after a long delay. Improvements at the Haudagain roundabout can also begin after the by-pass is completed.
The residents of her ward have been waiting since 2009 for the re-configuring of the heavily congested Haudagain junction. 274 households will be demolished in Middlefield to allow for the expansion of the roundabout. Residents who lose their homes as a result will receive priority for re-housing. Cllr. Dunbar said: "For too long William Walton has been holding up construction of the AWPR, and this has had a big impact on the lives of my constituents. Those living in the area where the Haudagain junction is to be enlarged, have had their lives put on hold as they await the outcome -- not knowing if their homes were going to be demolished or not. It is unfair that the objectors have been able to delay the outcome for so long at the expense of my constituents and other taxpayers, and this latest decision must be the end of the matter. The overwhelming majority of Aberdonians, including my constituents, just want to get on with building the AWPR and the Haudagain expansion. Mr. Walton has had opportunities for his case to be heard in every available UK court, and it is now time to let the road proceed.”
SOCIAL CARE & WELLBEING SERVICES
On 9 October 2012, Aberdeen City Council's SNP Group announced that it will oppose the creation of a Local Authority Trading Company (LATC) to run Social Care & Wellbeing in the city.
The group's decision is based upon the business case not "stacking up" for the LATC. The new company will produce relatively small savings. Additionally, oversight by councillors of an extremely sensitive area of Council business will be reduced. The previous administration had explored the possibility of establishing an LATC to run the services, but only if its viability was assured in reports on the business case for the project. After viewing the final report, the SNP Group said it could not support the proposal. It should be noted that the SNP's opposition, on this occasion, does not indicate a change in the group's position on LATCs in general.
Cllr. Jim Kiddie (pictured), the SNP's Social Care & Wellbeing spokesman, said: "There is no compelling reason or need for the Council to take this proposal forward. The projected savings are very small relative to the budget. These savings could be made through better management within the Social Care & Wellbeing Department. The department already provides over 70% of their services through private providers. Creating an LATC will only increase this further. Our neighbours in Aberdeenshire are in the opposite situation, with very few of their services provided by the private sector. The creation of an LATC in the city of Aberdeen would inevitably reduce the level of scrutiny that councillors can provide. In what is a very sensitive area, it is essential that members are able to thoroughly review all aspects of social care provision. When the emphasis is on integrating health and social care services, the formation of a stand-alone company would only add an additional unnecessary tier of bureaucracy, and does not make sense."
HYPOCRISY ON LIBRARY CLOSURES
The Labour-led Aberdeen City Council apparently plans to close eight of the city's 17 libraries, with the aim of saving £450,000 over the next five years.
However, on 13 September 2012 it was reported that the administration had agreed to "pause for consultation" over the proposal. In 2010, when the SNP-Lib. Dem. administration sought consultations over library closures, it was vociferously attacked by Cllr. Willie Young, Labour's current Finance convener:
Press & Journal, 8 Jan. 2010:
COUNCILLORS HALT PLAN TO CLOSE CITY LIBRARIES. After yesterday's meeting, opposition Labour councillor Willie Young said: "It is obvious that the SNP and the Lib Dems are fighting on this issue because this report has been in the pipeline for months. We welcome the move not to close any libraries, as knowledge is key to any city's success. Why on earth a political party running a Council would bring forward proposals, then drop them, is a joke."
Cllr. Gordon Townson (pictured), the SNP group's Education, Culture & Sport spokesman, commented: "The extent of Labour Party hypocrisy is staggering. They are willing to say one thing in opposition and do another in administration. In a short time, they have moved from opposing any library closures to proposing the closure of eight. When the former administration sought consultation, they were blasted for infighting and being 'a joke'. Perhaps the current indecision on this issue is a sign of infighting. The people of Aberdeen have known for some time that this Labour-led administration is 'a joke'. How many more times are they going to completely contradict themselves? Opposition for opposition's sake is coming back to haunt the Labour Party. With Labour in administration you cannot take anything as read -- on libraries or anything else."
### On 24 September 2012, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, Kevin Stewart, submitted a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling on the Labour administration to abandon their plans to close the libraries. Mr Stewart said: "It is rank hypocrisy for the Labour Party to oppose library closures whilst in opposition, and then to bring forward proposals for closures less than six months into their time in administration. Despite the enormous financial challenges that faced the last Council, no community libraries were closed. The SNP-Lib. Dem. administration recognised that libraries were an essential community asset, and an important tool in promoting education and social integration. Closing eight city libraries would save £450,000 over five years. For an organisation with an annual budget of £400million, that sum is absolute peanuts. Labour should recognise that Aberdeen’s libraries provide an excellent service at a very low cost to the city, and abandon their unnecessary and unwelcome plans for closure. Labour claims that it wants to make Aberdeen a ‘smarter city'. Perhaps they can explain how closing libraries can achieve that goal."
NEW ACADEMY FOR THE SOUTH OF THE CITY
GRAHAM DICKSON, SNP Councillor for Torry & Ferryhill, is seeking feedback on the possibility of a new school being built to serve Aberdeen's southern suburbs of Torry, Kincorth and Cove.
On 6 September 2012, Cllr. Dickson said: “A new school in the south of the city, including Torry, is essential if we are going to raise attainment, and a larger new school would allow for a greater range of subjects for secondary pupils. The previous SNP-led administration drew up proposals for delivering a new school for Torry, Kincorth and Cove. Officers had begun working on the plan, and I hope that the initiative is being continued by the new regime, and not thrown out -- just because it was drawn up by the previous administration. We all have an interest in delivering top-class education in the best possible facilities, so this proposal should not be put on the back burner." Cllr. Dickson e-mailed Charlie Penman, the Council's Acting Director of Education, Culture & Sport, asking for confirmation that the plan is still being worked on.
### The Scottish Government announced on 26 September 2012 that it would part-fund the building of the school, which would cater for pupils in Torry, Kincorth, and Cove, and would be a replacement for Torry and Kincorth Academies. The SFT would provide two-thirds of the cost of the school, with the Council meeting the remainder of the funding. Welcoming the announcement, Maureen Watt MSP said: “This is great news for the City of Aberdeen, and I’m sure that a new school in the south of the city will be a tremendous asset to the communities of Torry, Kincorth and Cove. The Labour-led administration must now work pro-actively to identify an appropriate site for the facility, and work with the Scottish Futures Trust to take this vital project to fruition as soon as possible. It is particularly important, given the transport problems which Cove-based pupils attending Kincorth Academy currently face, that any new school is easily accessible for all pupils in the area. Additionally, those from the Torry area should have access to as wide a range of subjects as possible, to harness all their abilities."
INCHGARTH COMMUNITY CENTRE EVICTED
Inchgarth Community Centre was served an eviction notice by Aberdeen City Council on 25 August 2012. The community centre, in Aboyne Place, Garthdee, has been given until September 28 to vacate the building unless they sign a new lease that has been rejected by all other community centres and is currently being negotiated.
A mediation process is under way to resolve the lease contracts, but these eviction notices require the community centre to sign the already rejected lease. The Council has also threatened to pull funding from Inchgarth unless their terms are agreed to. The manager of the centre was recently awarded a MBE for his services to the community and good management of the community centre.
The centre is in the Airyhall, Broomhill & Garthdee ward of SNP Group education spokesman, Cllr. Gordon Townson (pictured). He said: “This is a terrible way to serve hard working volunteers. These are really aggressive tactics by the Council administration to force the issue. The Council is suppose to be undertaking mediation with the community centres, but that looks like an empty promise when eviction notices are being sent out. Inchgarth is a fantastic community centre and serves Garthdee and the surrounding area well. They do not deserve to be evicted and should not face these strong-arm tactics. This administration really needs to think about the way it deals with the community at large. Last week they were alienating businesses and overturning referendums. This week they are going after community centres and issuing eviction notices to volunteers."
JACKIE HELPS TO SAVE NORTHFIELD BUSES
JACKIE DUNBAR, the SNP councillor for Northfield, has welcomed the changes FirstBus is making to their final proposals for bus routes and timetables in her area. Cllr. Dunbar organised a public meeting on 12 July 2012, where local residents raised concerns with the bus company about their proposed changes.
FirstBus's revised proposals, which will maintain bus services for the Heathryfold and Marchburn areas, were voted on by a show of hands. These were accepted by the residents, and will now be submitted to the Traffic Commissioner. Cllr. Dunbar said: “I’m absolutely delighted that FirstBus has listened to the folk of Heathryfold and Northfield. These new proposals are exactly what the residents were happy with at the consultation meeting. Reducing the bus service from Heathryfold and Northfield to places like Berryden would have had a devastating effect, and I'm glad that FirstBus has listened to the people of Northfield, and produced solutions for my constituents. When I first asked for this meeting, I was unsure how successful it would be, and how much FirstBus would take notice of the wishes of the local community, I'm glad that they have listened. and produced a better plan that protects the people in my area.”
The changes which took effect from 16 September 2012:-
Service 12 Heathryfold – Torry. This service will have some minor timetable alterations only. Originally, it was proposed to scrap the Heathryfold part of the route. Residents would have been unable to get to Berryden or Byron Square for shopping, post office, dentist, etc.
Service 16 & 16A Craigiebuckler/Airyhall & Berryden - Northfield. Services in Craigiebuckler will be replaced by Service 5 and in Airyhall by Service 15. The new Service 11 will serve Berryden and Northfield every 15 minutes. These service numbers will no longer be used.
Service 11 Kingswells/Woodend & Berryden – Northfield. This new service will replace Service 14/15 between Kingswells/Woodend and Aberdeen via Queens Cross, and will also operate via the Kingswells Park & Ride site during opening hours. Service 11 will then operate via the current Service 16 route to Northfield. This service will operate every 30 minutes in Kingswells and 15 minutes from Woodend through to Northfield. Evening and Sunday services remain similar to those currently operating, but Kingswells will benefit from extra services in the late evening.
### See also Can Stagecoach fill the gaps? on the Aberdeen CENTRAL page.
GORDON'S CHARITY BIKE RIDE
GORDON TOWNSON cycled from Edinburgh to Aberdeen in order to raise funds for the Childrens’ Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS). He was waved off from the Scottish Parliament building by Kevin Stewart, MSP for Aberdeen Central, on 19 April 2012. Gordon's support team member was Allan Hendry.
Kevin Stewart commented: "Gordon is to be congratulated for his efforts, and I have made a donation of £500 from my Council salary to give his fundraising a boost. My North-East MSP colleague Mark McDonald has donated £250. He also fully supports Mr Townson’s efforts and the work of CHAS, which is a great Scottish charity. The new CHAS At-Home service in Aberdeen has been welcomed by the community and has already made a major difference to the lives of many people who have young family members with life-shortening illnesses.”
### Mr. Townson, the SNP Councillor for Airyhall, Broomhill & Garthdee on Aberdeen City Council, won the seat in a by-election in June 2011, and was re-elected on 3 May 2012.
Picture (l-r): Gordon Townson, Kevin Stewart MSP and Allan Hendry.
Profile: CALLUM McCAIG
CALLUM McCAIG was first elected to Aberdeen City Council, as a member for Kincorth & Loirston, in May 2007. As one of a trio of new and very young councillors, he soon showed that he had the potential to provide intelligent leadership for the SNP Group. This was confirmed when he was elected as Group Leader, in succession to Kevin Stewart, on 23 May 2011.
The appointment took place just four days after victory in the Dyce, Bucksburn & Danestone by-election, and the SNP's promotion as the largest party group on the Council -- for the first time in its history. A further by-election win resulted in the resignation of the leader of their Liberal Democrat coalition partners, and Callum's election as Council Leader on 29 June 2011.
He served the city with distinction and flair until the local elections on 3 May 2012, when Labour's narrow advantage in Council seats enabled them to form an administration, if only with the aid of Tories and Independents. Callum McCaig remains as the SNP's popular and highly-regarded Group Leader.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS : 3 May 2012
ABERDEEN CITY COUNCIL 1st preference votes
SNP 17,131 31.3%
Lab. 16,264 29.7%
Lib. Dem. 8,293 15.1%
Ind. 6,103 11.4%
Con. 5,285 9.7%