Friday, August 16, 2013

August Leader's Report

August's Full Council Meeting next Thursday - and all the reports are now in the public domain; you can see the main agenda here, and the individual reports here ...

... and I'll cut-and-paste immediately below my August Leader's Report.

And don't forget, if so inclined!, you can watch the whole meeting (which starts at 10am next Thursday) via this link.

Leader's Report

August 2013

Festivals Capital

I just looked out of my office window to witness a 38-piece New Zealand Army Band performing the Haka followed by 'Gangnam Style' (a taste of their quite brilliant performance at the Tattoo). This can mean only one thing: we are slap-bang in the middle of Festivals season. And what better time to live in Edinburgh? My Capital Coalition colleague, Councillor Steve Cardownie, recently reminded us of why we love Edinburgh in August.

Come the end of the month, and having indulged in everything the city has to offer, you could be forgiven for seeking out a healthy antidote to the weeks of excess. Well, look no further than the city's fifth Festival of Sport, which kicks off in some style with 'Sport with the Stars' on 24 August. Running until 8 September, the Festival offers a bumper fortnight of sport for everybody to get involved in. It's the perfect opportunity to try new sports, find out about the sports clubs in your area and all of the activities are FREE.
Councillor Andrew Burns
Leader, City of Edinburgh Council

Community Council elections - get involved

Do you want to get more involved in your local community and have a greater say on the issues affecting your area? If so, now is your chance. Nominations for community council members open next month and anyone aged over 16 can apply.

Being a community councillor is a valuable and rewarding experience and a great opportunity to represent your community, meet new people, learn new skills and help organise events that make a real difference to where you live. Everyone has something to offer regardless of experience, interests and backgrounds. Community councils are also represented on their Neighbourhood Partnership and work with local councillors and representatives from the likes of Police Scotland and NHS Lothian to agree local priorities and develop and deliver local community plans.

I know the hard work and dedication of community councils has had a really positive effect on neighbourhoods. Why not get involved? Nominations for election run from 2-23 September. Both individuals and groups can join. You'll find more details on the council website.

Wendy Henderson - a champion for change

I hope you will join me in congratulating one of our Communities Officers, Wendy Henderson, who has received a 'Champions for Change' award from one of Scotland's leading anti-sectarianism charities.

The trustees of Nil By Mouth have been hugely impressed with Wendy's energy and enthusiasm over the last 16 months during which time the charity has worked closely with the council to deliver their 'Beyond Religion and Belief' workplace training package to staff. This package has been developed in partnership with the STUC and Scottish Government and seeks to raise awareness of sectarianism in the workplace. We are the first local authority in Scotland to commit to the programme and the feedback we have received from staff to date has been extremely positive.

Wendy is the first ever recipient of the award which recognises outstanding contribution and best practice in addressing sectarianism in Scottish society.

Tram project latest

The good news is that we now have a signed operating agreement between the Council and Lothian Buses, who will run the tram on behalf of the city. Naturally, I'm delighted that we're able to benefit from their vast expertise. You will find a report on this agreement on our website.

Less good is the ongoing remedial work, particularly on and around Shandwick Place, which the contractor is currently carrying out on substandard sections of track. This work has taken longer that initially anticipated but is now nearing completion. Again, we're sorry for the ongoing disruption. The contractor is responsible for the additional costs and this will not affect the completion date.

We now look forward to September when we'll be able to provide a further update on project timeframes. In the meantime, our focus remains on delivering a service by summer 2014. It's important to remember that there is still much to be done in terms of completion of works and, following that, testing and commissioning.

See the latest pictures highlighting progress. You can also get regular updates by following @edinburghtrams on Twitter.

The bids are in

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to take one last opportunity to urge you to get behind Edinburgh's bid for the National Performance Centre for Sport (NPCS). The £25m investment by the Scottish Government will create a world class sporting facility providing fantastic opportunities both for community sport and performance athletes.

The bid team, including Chief Executive Sue Bruce, gave their final presentation to the judging panel at Hampden Park last week, following which full details of the bid, including some pretty impressive artist's impressions of the centre, were released for the first time. We'll have to wait until the return of the Scottish Parliament next month before we get the result although I understand that initial feedback from the panel has been extremely positive.

If you haven't already, please show your support and back the bid at the Go Edinburgh 2016 website.

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