I didn’t post anything yesterday, I would have done another East Kent Critic but had a minor technical problem so that will have to wait until next week.
I did get a copy of the Gazette the main stories that interested me were the lead “Turner Builder Fined” but I had covered that on Tuesday, “Museum May Shut Over Lease Wrangle” but I had covered that last Saturday, albeit I covered these things in my own way, so held back on the detail quite a bit as I assume my readers will work out much themselves.
The other story that did interest me was “Fast Boulougne ferry to launch mid-October” obviously we have nothing to lose here in Ramsgate and much to gain and I am always reluctant to say anything critical about the setting up of this service, which in the current economic climate must be next to impossible.
Rumours have reached me that the council haven’t been as helpful as the could have been over this one, I often wonder why there is so much enthusiasm for airport expansion and so little for the ferry expansion.
One of my main difficulties as a blogger is knowing how much to say about the various goings on within local government, as I don’t want to say things that would be to the detriment of various local projects, on the other hand I am getting some very clear messages that the way our council is handling important local projects is driving people who want to invest in Thanet to a point of desperation.
My understanding is that a mixture of lack of funds and a power vacuum among the top officers at TDC is causing problems here and I am seeing signs of indecisive leadership, combined with a confrontational situation developing between our elected leadership and our leading officers.
The question who is running TDC? Has come up in various conversations recently, suppose to be more honest what I hear is someone negotiating a major project finds either the senior council officer they were dealing with has left or can’t be contacted. This often seems to result in promises made by cabinet members not being upheld by council officers.
The museum is one case in point, the facts are that TDC doesn’t have charitable status and therefore doesn’t have the ability to get the grants that the Steam Museum Trust does. There are various areas where money is needed most notably to repair the clock house and the steam tug Cervia. Now a senior councillor promised the museum trust a long lease on the clock house 99 years has been mentioned and based on this promise the steam trust started investing money in work down there. Now the two senior council officers dealing with this, the deputy chief executive and the Leisure and Culture Manager have gone and the remaining officers that can be contacted no longer seem to wish to grant the lease. The problem being that without the long lease it is proving to be impossible for the steam trust to get the grant funding it needs.
This is not you understand an argument to do with the museum but a point to illustrate a problem within the council, which is that it doesn’t seem to be able to produce the continuity and clear cut decision making that other organisations need to deal with it.
The ferry is another case in point, I last looked into this about a month ago so what I am about to say should no longer be particularly sensitive.
The problem here is that the ferry needs a new link span (the bridge that goes between the quay and the ferry so that the cars can get on and off) but the problem is that the council has no money to provide one so an agreement was arrived at where the ferry operator would fund this and the money would be taken out of their port charges until this was paid off.
This was really a good deal for the council as without the ferry there would be no port charges. Anyway the plan was that the ferry company would put up the money for the link span up to a capped amount of, oh I think it was £240,000 but don’t quote me on the accuracy.
What I mean by this is that if say the link span cost £100,000 then the ferry operator would pay this and then wouldn’t have to pay port fees until the amount was paid off.
Anyway about a month ago the council decided that it would suddenly renege on the agreement and demand the full £240,000 up front.
Once again this is only by way of example, the ferry is now online again and I am not going to discuss the current agreement here for fear of prejudicing any progress.
I believe the problem here is fear of taking important decisions, especially those that involve a certain amount of risk, however the delays in making those decisions are making the projects involved riskier by the day.
The longer the delays go on the more chance of the Cervia sinking on her mooring and producing a huge expense or the ferry operator not surviving due to missing the summer business.
Having just written this and wondering if I was going a bit to far for some officers comfort, I have just spotted that Mark Nottingham appears to be saying on his blog that it is appropriate for the council premises to be used for satanic events, I quote:
“Several Christians have suggested to me that it is inappropriate for Council premises to be used for events with links to the occult and Satanism. I do not share their concerns.”Click on the link to read the whole post http://marknottingham.blogspot.com/2009/09/in-air-tonight.html oh well I suppose this sort of thing has all been well rehearsed within the member working group. Anyone interested in applying for the post of TDC satanic services officer should contact extension 666.
The YouTube clip is for all the Satanists at TDC.