Refugees fleeing the Syrian war zone are to be welcomed into Argyll and Bute with open arms.
In an announcement made today by Argyll and Bute Council, at least 20 refugees will be offered housing and support in the area, with the possibility of more in the future.
Council Leader, Councillor Dick Walsh, said: “We have a moral duty to help. We cannot sit back and do nothing while these poor people try desperately to escape war torn countries, risking their lives and their family’s lives in the process.
“If we can help just 20 people, then that’s 20 people who will have the opportunity of a better life.”
Councillor Walsh continued, “We will be working alongside our Community Planning Partners to discuss the best way to support them and to integrate them into our communities.
“The spirit of positivity – of moving forward together – is much, much more than a title or a theme. Here in Argyll and Bute it is, quite simply, how we think and what we do.”
At Ardentinny Community Council’s April meeting a local resident requested the following action from the Community Council as part of its remit “to help make public bodies aware of the opinions and needs of the community it represents.“
The request was made in the context of past events at HMNB Clyde and RNAD Coulport. For example, the MOD officially recorded 105 ‘nuclear safety events’ in the Coulport and Faslane bases in 2013-14, and in March 2014 Ardentinny residents experienced damaging impact from blasts at Coulport.
Therefore, the request was made to consult with Argyll and Bute Council “as to where compensation would be obtained should there be any damage to residents’ homes and livestock, e.g., horses; and ‘what emergency procedures have been put in place and how satisfactory are they?” The Clyde Off-site Emergency Plan has recently been updated and can be found here. The Council has been advised that the population of Ardentinny is in excess of 50, as published in the plan.
With regard to radioactive emissions, it was requested that “the community council consult the local authority on how to ensure that there is consistent and local, independent monitoring of the safety of the beach at Ardentinny and that the results are made public.” Levels of emissions can be found in the RIFE-19 Report on Radioactivity in Food and the Environment (Dec. 2014) which is compiled by the Environment Agency; Food Standards Agency; Natural Resources Wales; Northern Ireland Environment Agency; and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Faslane and Coulport are specifically covered in pages 168-169 and Appendix 2, p.249 & p.254.
According to SEPA, the radioactive waste currently being discharged from Faslane and Coulport is below the current agreed limits and there are plans to agree new limits to better reflect actual discharges together with continuing conditions which require the amount of discharged waste to be minimised.
Over the past year Dunoon’s Community Payback Team has been contributing to the success of Glenfinart Walled Garden.
Including the regular strimming, weeding, planting, compost collection and general garden maintenance, the Community Payback team, under the direction of supervisor John Gilchrist, has also been laying paths with road *planings and gravel provided by Argyll & Bute Council Roads Department.
Such is the success of the contribution they have made to the garden, this year the team will be allocated a plot to enable them to grow their own produce. They will also receive training from Glenfinart Walled Garden’s volunteers’ coordinator and gardener, Glyn Topliss.
* An aggregate produced when the surface layer of tarmac is removed
Plans for a 25 mile cycle route from Kilmun Arboretum to Whistlefield, Ardentinny and back to Kilmun using existing forestry tracks were outlined by Councillor Bruce Marshall at the recent Ardentinny Community Council meeting. Preparations are also underway to promote and organise a cycle event using the new route in 2015.
Also under consideration is Ardentinny Outdoor Centre and Benmore Centre being used to disseminate visitor information on the area to children visiting the centres.