This was the quote made by Community Councillor Bill Williamson at Tuesday night’s meeting of Ardentinny Community Council. He was quoting his late father-in-law, Walter Muir, who himself was the Community Council’s first Minute Secretary. The context was a discussion regarding the need for Ardentinny Community Councillors to consider and bring to the table their thoughts on policy and procedures regarding their remit in responding to the individual and collective needs of the community.
The call for this reflection arose from two recent events. The first was the issue of responsibility for informing residents of aerial spraying of bracken on the hills behind the village. The Community Council had been informed of its taking place but considered it was not necessary for the Council to inform the public while others considered it was. On investigation , it was established that the legal responsibility to do so lay with the helicopter company undertaking the spraying. However, it was a contentious issue as the public appeared not to have been informed and it threw up a need for clear guidelines as to the Community Council’s role on this and similar issues.
The second was the issue raised at Tuesday’s meeting (3 April 2012), i.e., the letter of support submitted by the Community Council to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park in respect of a planning application for the refurbishment of Ardentinny Hotel. It should be said that there was no objection made by anyone present to the principle of restoring this Grade B listed building and bringing it back to life as a valuable asset to the community. However, concerns were raised regarding whether it was within the Council’s remit; possible conflict of interest; and the accuracy of the Council’s submission in representing the community, given the amount of community pre-consultation.
In any discussion where there is a difference of opinion on roles and responsibilities, there exists the possibility of stalemate. Ardentinny Community Council saw beyond the minutiae and agreed to take the positive step to consider the drawing up of procedures to guide future decisions and action. This prompted Bill to quote Walter as he did. Sadly Walter is no longer with us but his wisdom still resonates in Ardentinny.