From Cllr. Steph McWilliam – February 2017

I am going for a good news sandwich this month. Firstly, as I have said before, there are many things that Cornwall Council does well. My current favourite is a competition to build a rocket car with the prize being a trip to South Africa to see the trials of the Bloodhound programme. Many schools are involved with this and it is a great way to encourage the study of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. I have stood next to the Bloodhound at an Expo at Newquay Airport last year and can assure you it is even more impressive close up. Good luck to everyone involved.

Now the negative part of the sandwich. I really cannot understand why people who have picked up dog mess and put it in a plastic bag then decide to leave it hanging in hedges or on gorse bushes. You have done the worst part so why not take it home and put it in your dustbin? There are a couple of places where this is getting to be a really big problem. The dog enforcement officer has been asked to monitor the situation and I am also trying to get signage up and considering if I can find funding to have some CCTV cameras installed. I also had a dash cam for Christmas and have a camera on my phone so can I assure everyone that I will not hesitate to take photographic evidence to the police and enforcement teams if I get the chance? This really needs to stop. As ever, I’m sure it is a very small number of people causing a problem for the majority.

One example of the wonderful work that goes on in the background is the Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety team calling for people to recycle unwanted mobility aids. These have been collected in and some are now being used in Kenya, thanks to a partnership with Disability Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We have many staff who quietly get on with activities to help people not just in Cornwall but across the world.

The work to review the number of councillors and the way Cornwall is governed goes on. I am concerned that there seems to be a push for the number to be reduced significantly. Whilst most of you won’t need to contact me at all for the whole four years of this council, some really do need help and it is getting harder to speak to an officer directly because of the funding reduction and changes to the staffing at our council offices. Because we don’t have District Councils, there is a good chance that we could end up with the highest number of electors per councillor in the country. I really don’t see why your vote should be worth less than voters elsewhere. I should probably just add that the changes won’t come in until 2021 so this has no bearing on the elections in May this year, just in case anyone thinks I’ve started campaigning early!

We are really into winter now so can I please ask everyone to think about their neighbours, particularly if they are elderly or vulnerable, and take a minute to check on anyone who might benefit from a call? February is often our worst month for bad weather and consequently for accidents and illness. Please look after yourselves and the rest of the community where you can.

Thank you. Cllr Steph McWilliam    Tel: 01579 362037