Over £291,000 In Its Coffers And Still Playing Party Politics

HAVING PROCRASTINATED with the Borough Council about being able to meet them regarding Canvey’s Concord Pool, Canvey Island Town Council were finally pressed into agreeing a meeting for 17th March.

The two sides later released a joint press statement regarding their discussion; but, it seems, neither the Echo, nor the protesters’ Website, have deemed it of sufficient local interest to publish.

For the record, here is that statement, made by Councillor Pam Challis OBE (Leader of Castle Point Borough Council) and Nick Harvey (Chairman of Canvey Island Town Council):-

A useful meeting took place last night between Castle Point Borough Council and the Canvey Island Town Council.

Both Councils fully discussed the safety concerns regarding the sea pool and agreed to set up a small working party to explore all avenues and to continue discussions.

No further action will be taken on the decision to remove the sea water pool while these talks are taking place.

No. It is not particularly newsworthy; but it does highlight one important fact: the pool, in its present condition, is unsafe.

At the meeting, Castle Point Borough Council provided Town Councillors with the full Cabinet Report, upon which their decision to remove the pool was based, and the two 2008 background papers regarding the pool’s ROSPA inspection and option appraisal.

The 2008 reports, previously published on the CPBC site and this blog, are damning – and the Cabinet Report, consisting of some 23 detailed A4 pages, examines the council’s options in depth; but readers will not find these options, or safety issues, being addressed by Town Councillors or the protest group, which now appears, from its Website, to be actively supporting Bob Spink and his CIIP groupies as leading the ‘non-political’ Save Our Pool campaign.

YourLocalTownTalk is actively campaigning for the protest, now apparently led by Canvey’s Town Council, to be stepped-up. In its ‘coverage’ of the 25th March Town Council meeting, it does not once mention the meeting on 17th March or the central issue of public safety. Once again, as with the Calor Gas campaign, the CIIP and its covert leader, Bob Spink, is purposely refusing to resolve a genuine local issue in favour of using it to bolster their political campaign – and their supporting ‘press’ purposely ommits reporting half the story.

The issue could have been easily resolved at that 17th March meeting. The Town Council, elected to represent islanders and with over £291,000 of unallocated funds in its financial coffers, could have offered to finance the pool’s refurbishment for the residents of this island. After all, it is island taxpayers who have provided its £291,000 slush fund and CPBC needs a damned good reason to provide such funding from its own limited resources. But this option is not even mentioned in the YourLocalTownTalk piece, which might have been written by Spink himself. All relevant facts have been omitted and the writer’s ‘he-said, she-said’ piece reeks of political bias. To read it one would think there is no concerns over safety or finance at all – just an unfounded decision to close a perfectly safe pool to upset islanders.

YourLocalTownTalk, it seems, is keen to promote the island’s far-right political agenda. Not content with ‘covering’ the sea pool protest, it has now taken to promoting Colin Letchworth’s petition for an elected Castle Point Mayor – under the banner ‘Colin’s Campaign For A Fairer Democracy.’

Oh, boy… How misleading can one article be?

The piece reads as if the majority had some choice regarding the adoption of a cabinet based council. Nowhere does it mention that the Labour Government enacted this requirement on 28 July 2000. Neither does it mention that an elected Mayoral system is also based on the same cabinet system. The only difference is that an elected mayor appoints his or her own cabinet; whereas, under the present system in Castle Point, full council elects a leader from amongst its own number to do the same. The latter system is far more democratic and representative of local opinion than a personality based election can ever hope to be.

Such is the accuracy of YourLocalTownTalk’s reporting that it is perhaps fortunate that it chooses to publish its content in .jpgs (rather than text) which the internet search engines cannot index. Those using Google or other providers are therefore unlikely to be misled by its mischievous content.

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