Common Good Fund boost for grass cutting plans
A BUCKIE community group who have stepped in to fill the gap left by cuts to council grass cutting services have been handed a four-figure boost for their efforts.
Following budget cuts of £15 million Moray Council either totally withdrew or markedly scaled back grass cutting provision in Buckie and across the region. However, Buckie and District Community Council (BDCC) stepped up to the plate and vowed to take up the slack in at least the high priority areas in town.
Last week saw their fund-raising efforts for the initiative receive a timely helping hand from the Buckie Common Good Fund to the tune of £3689.
Delighted BDCC chairman Kevin Mckay said: "We're absolutely delighted, we got exactly the amount we asked for.
"I didn't think we'd get all of it but our councillors have done us proud and we're very grateful for their support.
"This is going to make a huge difference to what we're trying to do. Without the grant it would've meant we would've been in the same situation next year as we found ourselves this year – not being able to start grass cutting until later in the year, which would've meant it would've been really long.
"We'll get the final two cuts of this year done plus the first two of next year; in the meantime we'll be looking at securing the necessary funding to do the rest of next year."
Mr Mckay said that the community council had already raised around £1000 through their own efforts and estimated that in the region of £4000-5000 would be needed to provide a year's grass cutting.
He went on to praise the community spirit of those who had taken it upon themselves to cut grass areas near where they live.
"I'm proud of the people of Buckie and the way they have responded," he continued.
"Everybody's been mucking in, Buckie's famous for it. I was born in Buckie and I want it to be the best possible place for my kids and grandkids to live in."
Mr Mckay also thanked agricultural contractor Ewen Fraser, who will be undertaking the grass cutting work, for previously donating his time and mowers and, along with Buckie Roots member Archie Jamieson, helping get the longer grass and larger areas cut.
Also hailing the community council's efforts were local councillors Sonya Warren, Gordon Cowie and Tim Eagle, who administer the common good fund on behalf of the town.
Praising the BDCC team and wider community, Councillor Warren said that the cuts were not a choice the council had wanted to make.
"What the community council have achieved in such a short space of time is phenomenal and I'll absolutely delighted that the common good fund has been able to give them a helping hand for the next year.
"The response from individuals in Buckie and indeed across Moray has also been inspirational.
"These cuts were definitely not measures we wanted to have to put in place. The budget was agreed by all 26 councillors with no other options brought to the table regarding grass cutting.
"We have faced and will continue to face some harsh budget situations while having to maintain or statutory obligations."
Councillor Cowie said: "I'm just glad we were able to help with this great effort and the community spirit of BDCC and residents the residents who have stepped up to the plate with the grass cutting in Buckie and surrounding district.
"As far as I know this will continue for the rest of this year. There will be cuts next year and by that time the next budget comes around we will be in a better position to see the long term outcome and what happens after that.
"The town is certainly benefitting from the great work that is being done.Thanks again to all who are making the difference."
Councillor Eagle praised the community efforts but went on criticise the decision to slash grass cutting services.
“It is fantastic that the community have really pulled together to get grass cut this summer it goes to show the wonderful community spirit in Buckie," he continued.
"The community council have been so impressive as they have listened to concerns and found the people and ways to cut grass over a wide area. I cannot thank them enough.
"This being said, however, I remain of the view this was a very poor decision and its impacts are great. I do believe for the relatively small cost to cut the grass this decision needs to be overturned to allow locals to focus on other important things such as helping with social isolation, running activities for young and old, adding value to other council services and more.”