by Alastair Brian
Sadie Docherty, is Glasgow’s new Lord Provost. A Labour Councillor in Linn ward since 2007, she is only the 4th woman to hold the post.
She said: ‘I am thrilled to be elected as Lord Provost. It’s a great honour – especially at a time when Glasgow is flourishing. In two years’ time, the city will host the Commonwealth Games. They represent a huge opportunity for Glasgow, especially in terms of the social and economic benefits and lasting legacy they will leave for the people of this city. This is the biggest event the city is ever likely to stage and I’m really looking forward to my role of showcasing Glasgow to the world.’
She also underlined her commitment to open debate and stressed she was looking forward to working with all her fellow councillors to tackle the welfare issues prevalent in Glasgow. ‘Let Glasgow Flourish,’ she said in closing, voicing the city’s motto. Her deputy is Gerry Leonard, Councillor in North East Ward since 1999.
Gordon Mathieson, representing Anderston/City, was re-elected Leader of the Council, a position he has held since 2010 when Stephen Purcell demitted office. Breaking with tradition, the opposition did not nominate a candidate for Lord Provost or Leader of the Council. SNP group leader Graeme Hendry said: ‘ We recognise the Labour majority, and as such their authority to appoint these posts.’
In response, Councillor Mathieson thanked the SNP for their position and promised that Labour would respect the mandate of the opposition and carry their majority fairly. He said: ‘Labour will deliver on every one of the promises in our manifesto.’
He also paid generous tribute to former opposition leader Allison Hunter, noting that in opposition: ‘she was never an enemy and was someone we all had great respect for.’ Councillor Archie Graham, who has represented Langside since 1995, was elected Deputy Leader.
The following Bailies were appointed: Labour Party – Philip Braat, Elizabeth Cameron, Aileen Colleran, Jonathan Findlay, Elaine McDougall, Hanif Raja, Mohammed Razaq, Anne Simpson, Sohan Singh, Allan Stewart, Fariha Thomas. SNP – Josephine Docherty, Martin Docherty, Iris Gibson, Phil Green, John McLaughlin. Green Party – Nina Baker. Liberal Democrats – Margot Clark.
Heart of Scotstoun community group are building their own community centre while others in the city are closing.
More than 600 people attended a family fun day at the Balmoral Street site to witness the cutting of the first sod – the ceremonial digging into the ground by a JCB to start the building works.
It has taken the Heart of Scotstoun group 12 years to get to this stage.
Among the many VIPs attending were local champions Jean Donnachie and Noreen Real who were made Scotswomen of the Year for their campaign to stop dawn raids after they saw asylum seeking neighbours carried away.
Said Jean: ‘The Heart of Scotstoun has been pushing for a community place for so long now that the start of building is a real cause for celebration. I hope it inspires even more local people to come on board and get active in managing the centre.’
John Robertson MP, Pauline McNeill MSP, Councillors Jean McFadden and Graeme Hendry all played a part and offered their congratulations to the people who comprise the Heart of Scotstoun.
While that exciting event was taking place, other established community centres around the city were being closed because of funding cuts experienced by the City Council.
At Lorne Street centre in Kinning Park, community activists were locked out when they went to collect Community Council computers and other items.
Said Nicola Burton Secretary of Kinning Park Community Council: ‘I was very surprised and shocked to find the place locked up. We are in negotiation with the Council to get funding to run it.’
Across Glasgow, 41 community facilities were reviewed by the Council. Some were underused and others needed £6m worth of repairs. The Council decided to close 11 places. But local communities and groups were given the opportunity to submit fully-costed business plans to run them. Letters with a temporary licence to occupy, were issued to Overnewton, Ledgowan and Cadder community facilities on the basis that they have an organisation in place to take over the halls and all associated costs or have progressed significantly with their business plan.