Falklands : Falklands Public Meeting Report for Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 30.07.2010 (Article Archived on 13.08.2010)
A public meeting was held in the Court and Assembly Chambers of the Town Hall on Tuesday, 27 July 2010. Members attending were Gavin Short (Chair), Jan Cheek, Roger Edwards, Sharon Halford, Emma Edwards and Glenn Ross.
PUBLIC MEETING REPORT FOR TUESDAY, 27 JULY 2010
By J. Brock (FINN)
A public meeting was held in the Court and Assembly Chambers of the Town Hall on Tuesday, 27 July 2010. Members attending were Gavin Short (Chair), Jan Cheek, Roger Edwards, Sharon Halford, Emma Edwards and Glenn Ross. Approximately 50 members of the public attended.
There being no submitted questions the meeting got started with a question from Gary Clement about where money raised for the KEMH was spent. Jan Cheek explained that the hospital had a few charitable funds having to do with old people and special cases. The Hon Sharon Halford will procure a complete list of these charitable funds for public dissemination.
Reverend Hines asked how the Falklands were going to apply Prime Minister David Cameronís idea of a big society. Jan Cheek said that we already have the main principles of that society but on a smaller scale. Roger Edwards agreed saying that there was very good representation of the people here. Mrs Cheek added that Falkland Islanders were very self-reliant and Gavin Short said that David Cameron could learn a thing or two from us. She continued that much was done on a voluntary basis. Sharon Halford mentioned that if things cost less there would be more latitude for self-reliance. Reverend Hines mentioned that we had to be careful because it could be considered that people want things on the cheap.
Mrs Cheek then added that she hopes we escape from over-regulation and political correctness and that common sense will prevail. John Ferguson said he appreciated the fact that money raised by charities was ploughed back into the community. Mrs Cheek noted that there was a huge amount of money raised for both earthquake appeals and this showed community awareness for the distress of others beyond the Falklands. Sharon Halford mentioned that Islanders are generous and per capita we give a high proportion to worthy causes. Richard Hines rounded of this section by saying that charities like Team Tranquil and the Breast Cancer Screening charities helped the community tremendously.
Stephen Luxton asked if there was a plan to get Members of Parliament down to the Falklands sooner to have a good look at the place and speak with the people. Jan Cheek said that Sukey Cameron was working on this. There had been November visits and it was hoped to organise them again. Stephen Luxton continued that there was no substitute for a visit when it comes to knowing about a place.
Roger Edwards mentioned that Members will be attending all three Party Conferences and he assured the public that councillors would make their feelings known to them.
Mike Forrest questioned Members about why the Estimates had been reduced from 12 pages to only one page. Members said it was because tenders for projects tended to go over budget when the estimated cost was known. It was better to leave the price unpublished so that the bids could be more cost-effective. Mr Forrest said this was unreasonable because people what itemised expenditure and ultimately to know where their money was spent.
Roger Edwards emphasised the need for a public works committee. He said councillors were surprised at what PWD plans to do. Roger Spink mentioned that the Abattoir works were out to tender and the estimates for that job has been made public. Roger Edwards said that tenders received back were too high and could not be supported. Mike Forrest suggested a guide as to how much Government wanted to spend and Gavin Short said he heard what Mr Forrest was saying.
Gerald Cheek asked whether Councillors were satisfied with minefield clearance that had been done earlier this year. Jan Cheek said the ones cleared were well laid out and that there were maps and diagrams obtained by Bactec prior to work commencing. Gary Clement wondered whether there should be signs saying that the areas were former minefields. And Phil Middleton wanted to know whether there were plans to clear more minefields. Jan Cheek said she felt money would be better spent where mines were actually hurting people. Emma Edwards mentioned that environmentally speaking it could have been a better job. Jan Cheek mentioned that keeping the fences up would help the former minefields to recover and that re-planting would cost a lot of money and wondered whether there could be volunteer labour to do the job.
A member of the public wanted to know if a copy of the EDS could be made available to everyone. The idea of making it available on CD as well as on FIGís webpage was also mentioned. Roger Edwards mentioned that copies of the EDS were already out to various outlets for public consultation but that having it available on CD and on line would be checked out.
Mike Evans wanted to know what plans were in hand should all communication with South America be cut off. Glenn Ross mentioned that 10 days sailing to South Africa had been discussed over the past 20 years but that route was thought to be expensive. Councillors were looking to get to a hub somewhere. We could have an air link to South Africa but that was thought to be expensive and there was still 7000 miles to go to reach the UK. The news that St Helena would have an airport was welcomed but it is thought the runway would be too short to take a huge airframe. Nonetheless, councillors want to look at all the options and cost them before coming to any conclusions.
Gary Clement wanted to know if there was adequate accommodation for oil rig workers during crew changes. Jan Cheek mentioned that some operators did not want to fly at night so crew members stayed longer. Others didnít mind and crews stayed only one night in accommodation on shore. Emma Edwards said a feasibility study for the scenario of two rigs had been carried out and there was no problem with accommodating two crews ashore while awaiting transport to and from the rigs.
Gavin Short brought up the new crosswalks at the Infant/Junior School. Willie Bowles said that drivers need to observe the traffic signs. Emma Edwards said it might be best if Willie or a policeman stood in the centre of the crosswalk to help direct traffic.
Ruth Taylor wanted to know about changing the traffic pattern of Pencil Lane. Gavin Short mentioned that with the new law, the police couldnít exit their parking lot on to Ross Road and this needed to be tweaked. Sharon Halford mentioned that parents would have to stop on a slope and this could cause difficulties. Emma Edwards mentioned that it would be necessary to have John Street become one-way as it was after 1982. She also suggested that parents car-pool their children to school and Gavin Short mentioned that people already do that but more of it needs to be done. He went on to say it was only a three months trial.
Richard Hines mentioned a safe route for pedestrians on a pavement between the prison and the Deanery. Gavin Short mentioned it would be a good alternative for people who wanted to walk their children to school. It would keep them away from the traffic on Pencil Lane.
Roger Edwards felt a one-way system would solve a lot of problems and Gary Clement mentioned that there should be markings for Parking outside the KEMH on St Maryís Walk. He said it would help to manage the space better as three vehicles could park in an area where only two park now. Sharon Halford mentioned waiting times and said an hour would be better than 30 minutes as sometimes there is a queue at the hospital and 30 minutes wasnít enough time to get seen to and out the door.
Rob McGill wanted to know if there would be more housing plots available and Sharon Halford said there would be more this season. Jan Cheek said that some plots had been identified west of Stanley but there was a debate about whether some would look like in-fill. Emma Edwards said she hoped there would be green spaces and she was fed up with seeing in fill of housing. Sharon Halford said there was a number of plots available but there was no infrastructure in place. She went on to say that first time buyers snapped up the plots available at Mink Park and there were seven disappointed people, meaning more plots are needed. Tob McGill felt that all people presently entitled to plots should be dealt with first because indications are the population could increase to 10,000 people. Roger Edwards said that housing is still a top priority for this Assembly.
Glenn Ross said there were worries about people tendering well above the norm for a basic plot. The price should be between £8,000.00 and £10,000.00. but higher prices only go to show how desperate people are to build their own homes. Rob McGill said this needed to happen sooner rather than later and Roger Edwards agreed that people are desperate for plots.
Sharon Halford finished by saying that before the plots went out to tender they were going to go for the full price. The process was successful and we must take this forward from there.