Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Council Fail, Community Pass

Once upon a time when I was the age of my nephews the local council here, and indeed the residents were more able to cope with the onset of quite treacherous wintry conditions. Over the past few days we have only had less than an inch of snow on three occasions.

On the previous two occasions this has usually thawed out totally and there have been no issues a couple of hours after even on the residential roads. Today however is different. The snow turned initially to slush, but the temperatures are sub zero later on and the slush has now turned to ice.

Next to my mum's house is a very steep short stretch of hill leading to a T-junction, it is only 2 doors down the road. Mum had already skidded coming round the bends to get here after a morning shopping. And the postman arriving with his second delivery of the day told up that some o the other nearby roads were have cars piled up. So we took the easiest route out to the cemetery to place a wreath on Dad's grave on his birthday.

On our way home we were getting flagged down not attempt to go down the hill. After parking up in driveway I headed straight back to see if there was anything I could do to help. As it was one car had skidded down two car lengths trying to make the junction, another had skidded trying to go around her.

On that hill every year up to this had been a grit bucket. And every year up to this, in these conditions the local residents had sprinkled grit on the top of this hill to enable people to make the junction. What happened just now was that from about four different households came sand, salt, fire ashes, and anything to help get traction under the stuck car, we did end up getting the car up and off the slope. But not before warning several other cars off trying to make their way up.

There are other ways that you can drive from the bottom section around to the area where we live, it was how me and my mother got back. The local police are stretched with so many accidents and so many dangerous roads, but what I saw just now was that the local community are prepared to do their bit to enable to roads to remain passable, if only the council had provided the tools to enable them to do so earlier. There are three hotspots within half a kilometre from here and presently all three have local residents crying out for why the council has removed the grit boxes.

There are times I'm prepared for the worst back in Bathgate, but I rarely have to use the measures I have taken. Our Scottish local councils prepare far better and more effectively than here, at least the community is kicking in to help out as best we can.

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