LISTEN: Stuart Paton explains what the community council are looking to consider in how they support their area
Once a month the Dunkeld and Birnam community council meet to discuss local issues, one of these meetings is happening this coming Monday (11 January).
As part of this month’s meeting, the council are planning to discuss the local Co-Op closure for refurbishment, community support and road safety, now that the pandemic is similar to last March.
Stuart Paton, community council chair, said: “I get a real sense that this time round, I know people personally who’ve had the virus, and have been treated for it.
“Back last March/April, I wasn’t aware of anybody locally that had had it, you know, you got some anecdotes, but now it seems much more present this time round.”
This upcoming meeting is aiming to discus what the community can do to help each other now that the restrictions have tightened up as the transmission rate rises.
Mr Paton added: “One of the big issues that we’ve got coming up in Dunkeld and Birnam in the next few weeks is that the Co-Op is closing for a significant refurbishment.
“It’s closing form the eighteen of January, probably through until early April, it’s quite a significant local service.
“It’s a local shop that people use, and we’re very well supplied with other local shops but obviously the Co-Op’s a vital service there, so obviously that’s going to be quite a key issue for the local community.”
For many Dunkeld residents, this is a key service which will not be available during a strained time.
However, Dunkeld’s community proves that it’s ready to come to the help of anyone who needs it in their town.
The question for the community council is what the support looks like, ‘now taking the Co-Op out of that, that’s potentially going to have a significant impact.’
Mr Paton explained: “So at the moment, we’re just looking at how many people used the service before.
“Various issues around how many people do we think, that used the service before, still need the service or have people found support through other means; either neighbours, or friends or family, helping them out or using other online services.
“And I think a big message is going to be to use the local shops as much as possible, and the local shops were incredibly supportive of us last time round.”
But it’s not a disappearing picture in Dunkeld, while locals look out for one and other, the vaccine is slowly taking a hold as it treats the most vulnerable first.
Mr Paton said: “But fortunately, on the horizon we’ve got the vaccine, and that’s the one thing we can hope for, I think this time round.”
When it comes to the traffic in the town, the community council has been working away building up an informed strategy by inviting people into their meetings and surveying in the area.
With some ideas down already, the next steps are to get involved with the surrounding communities and work with the council to start affecting change.
Looking towards those next steps, Mr Paton said: “So just before Christmas, on the back of the last meeting, we’ve been in contact with the relevant roads people at Perth and Kinross Council.”
“And hopefully we’ll have a meeting with them in the near term just to at least to kick off that dialogue, how would we look to implement some of these, short term, quick fixes and then.
“And then think about how we start consolidating ideas on some of the ideas on the longer-term issues as well.”
Starting at 7pm, anyone looking to join the meeting on Monday, details for the zoom session can be requested from the sectary’s email address: Dbcc.firstname.lastname@example.org