Rhoda Grant is a Labour MSP for Highlands & Islands, which includes Moray – today she writes exclusively for insideMoray for our monthly series penned by Moray’s parliamentary representatives…..
This is my second column on the insideMoray pages and sadly, again this time I am paying tribute to someone who has passed away – Ronnie Sim who died aged 77 on Sunday 1 March 2015.
Ronnie was a great character and I was really fond of him so am very sad that he has passed away. He was great fun, had a great sense of humour and boundless energy. He knew everyone.
When we went door to door we didn’t need the electoral register because he knew who everyone was. He worked hard as a Councillor and that came through when speaking to people in his Ward. I will miss him and my thoughts are with his family.
Moray Hydrotherapy Pool is an issue that I have been involved in within Moray since my last column.
Moray Council agreed to subsidise the facility at Forres to the tune of £20,000 for three years on the understanding that thereafter there would be a plan in place for the Moray Hydrotherapy Pool Committee to be self-sufficient with regards finance and fundraising by the end of year three.
The Committee despite best intentions were not in this position and Moray Council made a decision to end the funding. However, as I delved into the issue I became aware that Moray Council were also charging the Hydrotherapy Pool a management fee of £21,000 a year in relation to costs for staff and pool chemicals.
It turned out that staff were not directly involved and Forres Swimming Pool staff attended to the bookings system when available to do so. I then learned from a reliable source and also a source who wishes to remain anonymous, that some members of the Moray Council Committee that made the decision to stop the funding were not aware of the full facts especially the fact about the management fee.
This was refuted by Moray Council and whilst I do not doubt it may have been in the agenda documentation of the meeting, I just wonder if it was brought to the attention of all members to ensure that they were aware of it.
The sad fact is that a lot of people from Moray and just outside this area, benefit from the hydrotherapy Pool and it would be a real loss to all concerned if this facility had to close. That said the Chairman of the Moray Hydro Therapy Pool has advised me that they are actively working on a plan and the pool is unlikely to close in the next 18 months or so whatever happens.
Some of you will be aware that I have launched an anti-bullying site called Tobie recently in Inverness and Elgin.
This site has generated a lot of interest from all over the Highlands and Moray and highlights to me that bullying particularly in the workplace is rife and is unfortunately adversely affecting the lives of many employees. We currently have three or four ‘live’ cases on the go as I write this piece, but whilst my team and I do not pretend to be expert, we do have a lot of experience to share and the site is a signpost for sufferers to source expert help. You can find my site at www.tobie.org.uk.
Finally, I heard like most people about the shock announcement that the Civil Aviation Authority had ruled both RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks off a short list of possible sites for the spaceport.
The decision to bar the two bases due to their crucial role in national defence was met with dismay from local supporters, who had believed Kinloss base was a front-runner for selection. It also beggars belief that the RAF have pulled out of these bases that they can be ruled out due to their role in national defence – if only that were the case!
I was campaigning with Sean Morton in Elgin on Saturday – it was a lovely bright day, ideal for a street stall. We got a good reception and I really enjoyed chatting to the people I met.