Unfortunately I wasn't able to make the meeting myself, but a very trustworthy, quietly campaigning friend was able to go along to witness events. In his message to me after the meeting, his first words were:
Well that was a shambles!
Was the content of the petition discussed? No.
Was the advantages (which are significant) and the disadvantages (which are mostly factitious) of extending Bears Way discussed? No.
Was there any discussion of the incident where tacks were placed on the cycle lane? No.
No, the greatest concern of the opposition councillors, led by Cllr Keith Small of the SNP, were....
Where do the people live who signed the petition?!?Yes dear readers, we have entered the primary school playground.
And so it apparently continued. With Cllr Ian McKay (SNP) suggesting that there should be a breakdown of the the areas where the petitioners lived, to shouts of ludicrous from those in other parties (almost certainly not the Lib Dems though, as they too are opposed to the extension). Ludicrous because, well.....did anyone ask the same question about the petition that asked for the Bears Way to be scrapped? Well, of course not. Sanity descended for a short while, when it was decided that that would be a waste of council time.
Cllr Duncan Cumming (Ind) wanted to speak about petitions in general, but apparently spat his dummy out (not my words!) when it was pointed out he had already spoken and should give others an opportunity. To be fair....at the council meeting I attended previously (which is well worth a read) Cllr Cumming spat his dummy out then, so I tend to believe this description.
Then came the curve ball..... In an attempt to raise the condescending level to warp factor 10, Cllr Keith Small moved an amendment, that a copy of the original decision be sent to the chap who started the petition. Yes, in a move that can metaphorically be described as giving those in favour of the extension 'two fingers' whilst blowing a raspberry, Cllr Small made it quite clear what he thought.
As far as I am aware that amendment was passed.
Yup......primary school playground.
These people are your elected representatives. These are the people who are supposed to be working in the best interests of the area, and its constituents. This is the same SNP who have a national policy of investing in active travel schemes and of having 10% modal share of cycling by 2020. This is the same SNP who in Glasgow have just announced that they will be investing 10% of the transport budget in active travel. This is the same SNP who's transport minister I spoke to earlier this week and who is wanting to do more towards active travel.
It would appear that we were wrong in declaring the dinosaurs extinct. The dinosaurs are alive and well in East Dunbartonshire, and these dinosaurs are a problem that the SNP will have to solve quickly if it doesn't want to loose support in the area.
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