Last night I chaired the AGM of the Kingsway Residents Association. However this one was a bit different because of the location. Normally we hold it in the Kingsway Community Centre but we were offered to hold it in the South West Snooker Academy, in Waterwells. This was a good thing, mainly because we are bursting out of the seams of the COmmunity Centre and normally ends up as standing room only and the SWSA has much more room. However this was a bit of a gamble, because SWSA is a bit further away from Kingsway itself and so I was not too sure that residents would be willing to travel the extra few minutes, given that it was dark and a bit wet. However, with around 50 people turning up, it was a great night and made my fears groundless.
While 50 is still a low number for our public meetings as we normally get between 60 and 90, but given the location and also that it was an AGM (not the most exciting in the world) I think it was very good and if they will have us back, I think we will be using the SWSA again in the future.
We had presentations from the police (PC Sam Jones and PC Emma McDonald) as well as a consortium of Housing Associations called the Kingsway Involvement Network. QUVL, the developer consortium spent a good deal of time going through residents issues and I gave review of the year, a look forward to 2012 and welcoming the new committee. While I try to keep to a 2 hour meeting, I never seem to manage it, the discussions and points that we go through always get a good “going over” and the whole point is that Kingsway residents can have ask questions and have their say. Personally I really enjoy the “quick fire” nature of it, you can not really plan for it and you just have to have the answers, or be willing to say when you don’t. It would be very easy to look very silly if you just turn up with no preparation.
I always go through a range of emotion with these meetings, of which this was my 10th, there is the build up and ensuring that everything is organised, and then the waiting for the meeting to start. In the meeting itself there is also a number of elements, there is laughter (normally at my rubbish quips), enthusiasm and interest, but there is also sadness and anger when people are still having issues with some of the most basic things, and particularly when people are being bounced from Pillar to post and many organisations are not doing their job properly. The big one that came under fire last night was the City Council “Here to Help” service. This has always been a bit hit and miss, but there has been a vast rise in the number of events where the reported problem is being passed straight to the developers without any real consideration as to whose problem it is. This has got to change!
Also, related, there is issues regarding the waste collection service, contractors for the City Council causing damage to lamp posts, manhole covers and walls, however when reported, the City Council just “stonewalling”. This action has left residents without street lamps and other residents upset over the way they have been treated. Again, this has got to change!
What is good, is that the problems have decreased that much that we can really focus on specific issues and hopefully get results, but watch this space.
Im looking forward to the next 12 months, hopefully we will see lots of interesting change and development, as well as greater opportunities for community growth, and working with other community organisations. Should be good 🙂