Sunday, June 22, 2014

June Leader's Report

Leader's Report

June 2014

   Cllr. Andrew Burns
Leader of the City of Edinburgh

Last month I welcomed the proposal to establish a multi-agency working group, including parents' groups and other relevant agencies, to consider Dame Elish Angiolini's recommendations into practices at Mortonhall Crematorium.
The group, chaired by the Chief Executive, has now produced a detailed action plan for consideration at next week's special council meeting.

The willingness of all the participants, especially the parent representatives, to work together has been to their immense credit and the publication of the plan is testament to their hard work over the last month.

It also marks a significant step forward to ensuring that the highest possible standards are adhered to at Mortonhall and that nothing like this can be allowed to happen again.


Trams are go
It's hard to believe that Edinburgh's new trams have only been taking passengers for close to three weeks; they already feel like an integral part of our public transport system.

The launch day on 31 May got things off to a very encouraging start, with crowds of passengers thronging the route to try the trams out firsthand and taking 'selfies' on board to capture their experiences. It's been great to see how quickly residents and visitors have embraced tram travel and we expect the trams to really come into their own as the busy tourist and festivals season gets under way this summer.

However, we mustn't miss the opportunity to learn essential lessons from what has gone wrong during the project. The Council welcomes the announcement of the inquiry by Lord Hardie and we are prepared to provide whatever information and assistance we can to support it.

Jimmy McIntosh MBE
It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Jimmy McIntosh earlier this month.

Jimmy spent his life fighting tirelessly for the rights of disabled people, not just in Edinburgh, but nationally and abroad. He was instrumental in fighting for accessible transport and was an active campaigner against bullying and hate crime, joining councillors and police officers in 2009 to set up the 'Take control against hate crime' forum.

Jimmy landed many accolades and awards over the years, including the MBE in 2006, while he was also named Scotland's charity champion in 2010 by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Typhoon Haiyan
When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November, leaving a terrible trail of devastation in its wake, a major international aid effort was required and, as chair of the Edinburgh Disaster Response Committee, I called on residents to donate via local relief agency, Mercy Corps.

I'm pleased to report that, thanks to your generosity, they were able to rush immediate assistance - food, shelter, water and clothing - to families in the hardest-hit areas. In the seven months since, the team have delivered funds to 140,000 people, helping them to purchase the goods they need to recover and rebuild.

You can find out more about their continuing response from the Mercy Corps website.

Countdown to Glasgow
Excitement in the city is building ahead of the Commonwealth Games following the visit of the Queen's Baton last weekend.

I was delighted the people of Edinburgh got right behind the relay, with thousands taking to the streets to cheer on the arrival of the baton and to take part in a series of Council organised events along the length of the route. It really was a tremendous advert for Edinburgh - and for the Games.

The baton also visited the Royal Commonwealth Pool, which closes its doors to the public today in order to prepare for the Glasgow 2014 diving competitions, when Edinburgh will become the only city in the world to host Commonwealth Games events for a third time.

And finally...
I promise this will be the last time I mention the marathon! But I wanted to thank everyone who took the opportunity to sponsor me and to remind those that haven't that my justgiving page stays open for another couple of months.

I'm over 70% of the way towards my £5,000 fundraising target for Venture Scotland, who run an outdoor-based personal development programme for young people who face complex and difficult problems.

I managed to complete the course in one piece, beating my personal target time of 4 hours 50 minutes (just!), making good on my 30-year wager with my Dad. Never has a pint tasted so sweet!

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