Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Coatham Issues, ideas and solutions

Dear friends,

Since myself and Neil Baldwin were elected as Coatham Councillors we have brought along and been confronted by many issues. It's only been three months but feels longer. Throughout this week we will be talking to residents and delivering our first leaflet that is part generic part specific to Coatham.

One of the gripes I've always had is transparency and poor communication which of course leads to mistrust and second guessing. So I shall attempt to assist your questions and involvement as best I can. 

Over many years (nearly 30) I have moaned and groaned about Redcar. I've instigated and agitated reaction. I have complained and complained. But nothing happened. 

I complained about the loss of heritage buildings before and after my arrival, I complained about Regents Walk, I complained about the level crossings, the traffic lights, the drabness of West Dyke Rd, the reconstruction of West Dyke Rd, the housing, the lack of art and flowers, the chosen pedestrianisation of the town, the shop fronts, the lack of things to do, the state of Craigton house, the lack of coastal pubs and restaurants, the filthy paving, derelict areas, the beach and dunes, the weather ... I could go on but I'll stop for a breather!

Then the sea defences and infrastructure went up...

and I complained about all of that too! 😡

One thing that particular upset me was the unauthorised landfills on the beach as you may well know 😉. Moan, moan, moan. Nothing happened.

It was at this time that I realised that I was part of the problem actually. I complained but why did nothing happen?

My complaining wasn't a solution. It made no difference not least because of who I had complained to. Mates, family, forums, bloke down the pub ... Etc. I also hadn't done much community work either I just made assumptions and my own truths and annoyed myself really.

We all like to moan don't we? We get a rebuttal and then label everyone the same "the council" "the police". We make up our own explanations and ask "why didn't they try this..." without knowing if they tried that in the first place. However I've learnt that individuals make up these organisations.

So I formed FRED and decided to tackle solutions head on - actively. I set up social media to get others' reaction, experience and ideas. I wrote to council officers, managers, councillors, authorities, bodies, groups and businesses. And guess what... Things happened. Not a lot at first but definite action and then we got the support to clean the beach and apologies from the Environment Agency, RCBC and... No nothing but reluctance from Balfour Beatty (Birse). 2 out of 3 ain't bad! 😃

What annoyed me still though was - not getting a reply from some individuals - not "the council" but individuals who work for the council or councillors who wouldn't get back to me. So I'd go higher up the tree or around and my copy list grew and grew. Still some relevant characters didn't reply. 

And that's why I stood as councillor in the end because I thought "I can't do worse than not replying to someone - Love me or hate me, but don't ignore me!"

I actually found there to be a lot of good council workers and councillors (all parties) and all as frustrated as everyone else, by the procedural bureaucracy formed from historical experience that created - policies (Argh!). 

Transparency and communication rule ok? So...

My preferred email is carlquartermain@gmail.com My mobile is 07966 985 444 😃👍

For information on, suggestions about or concerns over Coatham and Redcar call or write. I'll even meet for a chat and a coffee if free - Regardless of your political persuasion.


Coatham NAP 

Meetings are usually 6pm in SureStart bldg but are irregular so if you live in Coatham ward and want to be informed we need your email for our distribution list.

Please do contact us (myself, Neil or your own councillor) if you have issues and anywhere in the borough because we can push them forward to the right people. 

Do keep moaning it is important to complain to show we care about our home but give the councillors an opportunity to hear your issues because you might learn they are being dealt with or your idea is the one that works or why it won't work or why it takes ages. 

Moaning here and there will circulate round and round but even on my own fb issues can be missed, so be constructive and forward to those who want to help.

And throw your hand up to volunteer too wherever possible, it's empowering. We are seemingly good at complaining but bad at volunteering and besides it validates complaining even moreso and gets us closer to the issues that we care about.

Cheers and thanks for showing you care about the issues as much as we do. Do contact me direct. Text too if you like but don't bombard me as I'm only human and am receiving vast amounts of phone calls, texts and emails everyday and I do reply to all the clean ones.😃👍

Cllr Carl Quartermain (Coatham Ward)