Why Does It Take A 62-Year-Old Islander To Point-Out Tory Council Mistakes?

Colin Letchford: "I am at present of no political persuasion. However, I am having to get involved because of the undemocratic way in which CPBC decided to get rid of the best paddling pool on Concord Beach."

WHILE the Canvey Island Town Council has been bleating in the local press about how undemocratic the Tory-led Borough Council has been in deciding to fill-in the old Concord pool on Canvey’s seafront and retain the new pool to the West; and while that same Town Council has been leading residents in emotional protests designed to maximise their media coverage, one, lone, non-political, 62-year-old islander and contributor to canveyisland.org, has patiently compiled a telling dossier comparing the two pools.

Without resorting to placards and demanding that the old pool be kept ‘because it has been here for 80 years,’ or ‘because it is a historical feature,’ or ‘because that’s where I learned to swim as a child,’ Colin Letchford picked-up his camera and took his young dog for a walk.

What he discovered, and carefully documented, was that the new pool, which the council wish to keep, has far more associated safety problems than the old pool, which the Borough Council is proposing to fill-in.

The Echo broke Colin’s story yesterday evening (spiking my own guns since I had not been able to meet Colin until today – and spiking a Yellow Advertiser follow-up to their own piece regarding similar conclusions drawn by the Canvey Coastguard).

Residents should not forget that the Town Council is largely composed of Borough Councillors, whose debating skills and contribution to local government have been questioned before. So it should not come as a total surprise to find that, in order to get anything done, the ruling Conservative group have taken to making some ‘obvious’ decisions via a party whip so they can get-on with more important matters.

No. It is not democratic. But neither is island politics. And, while a reasoned opposition, offering well-considered counter arguments to a ruling group’s proposals is healthy, an inflexible sword of Damocles approach, as offered by the Canvey Island Independent Party, is not.

After receiving many complaints, from islanders, regarding the dangers to small children from having their feet caught in the old-pool’s surrounding walls, or sustaining injuries from rocks, which island children constantly throw into the pool, Tory councillors were of the opinion that it would be cheaper to fill-in the growing danger before they were faced with having to pay large legal damages when someone was eventually hurt.

The fact is: we live in a litigious society – and Councils are by no means immune.

It is inevitable that, sooner or later, the ruling Tory group would get things wrong. It is inevitable that, sooner or later, they would take their eye off the ball.

Filling in the old Concord pool and retaining the lifeless concrete offering, simply because logic dictates a new pool is bound to be in far better condition than one 80 years old, was a truly dreadful decision. And the fact that it has taken a 62-year-old islander to provide a lucid, reasoned argument for retaining the old pool over the new is simply appalling.

Colin Letchford is not a councillor. He holds no political office. He does not enjoy taxpayer funded expenses, nor draw any public salary.

Residents might like to ask why, rather than organising public protests, which their friend Bob Spink could use to muster his local election campaign, did not one of the CIIP members pick-up a camera, and take their own dog for a walk?..

… (20/02/2010) – It’s All About Respect…

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