On Monday 23 January the A2 claimed another life. Another family ripped apart by this killer road, when will it end?
Politicians are understandably shocked and saddened by this fatality calling for investment along the A2 which carries 45,000 vehicles per day.
Transport NI are called upon to take steps which will lead to improved safety and to stop further tragedies occurring. Honourable sentiment where it not for the fact that the A2 is tinkered out and needs to be replaced.
When an accident does occur and the road closed the surrounding country roads are overwhelmed causing widespread misery as far as Ards where already at capacity roads are swamped..
As we have seen from the RHI scandal money can be conjured from nowhere to feed such schemes. The brutal truth is the A2 needs to be replaced something that can only be achieved with political will. As we saw with the terrorism in our province there appeared to be an acceptable level of violence, similarly, there appears to be an acceptable level of death on the A2. Only when this mindset changes will we see the badly needed alternative. Until then the condolences from our politicians will continue.
I am quite happy that delivery services do not deliver on a Sunday, I can wait until Monday. I only mention this as a result of last Sunday’s experience with an Amazon delivery. As we were out for most of the afternoon it was not a surprise to receive notification from Amazon that a delivery had failed and that another attempt would be made. What was even more surprising was to receive another notification that afternoon advising that the item had been left with a neighbour. Amazon had not only delivered on a Sunday, which I am not fussed about, but they had actually returned to make a second attempt the same day.
Contrast the service from Royal Mail, the all to familiar “something for you” card through the door. No chance of a second attempt with them, in fact I cant even trot down to Post Office without waiting until tomorrow.
Yesterday I visited main Post Office in Bangor at around 2pm for some stamps. The queue was out the main entrance with only two serving, third dealing with foreign currency. I felt for people who may have spent much of their lunchtime queuing for service.
Post Office, if it is to survive, needs to adjust its working practices to suit the customer. Otherwise I can foresee a future without the presence of Post Office.
Recently I made my first visit to Down Hospital, Downpatrick. A remarkable facility in what was probably a green field side on the other side of Downpatrick from ourselves.
Contains an emergency department, day procedure, cataract, Children’s, and many many more. In addition there is provision of Doctors and Dentist surgery. It even has a shop of sorts and a restaurant.
It is however, a long drive from Bangor and would require a number of bus journeys perhaps even a taxi service. Only suitable, for us, if there is personal transport available.
We in Bangor have by contrast a closed, never to open again hospital. Patients are forced to travel, in case of Downe, some considerable distance for treatment. Considering the population of Bangor and surrounding areas it is simply scandalous that such a facility is not available on our doorstep.
But it does beg the question as to who receives the Better Representation from the respective politicians?
Grass cutting is under way along Bangor’s ring road. So what you say, that is as it should be. Trouble is that it’s some months to late, the grass should have been mown over the summer when it was at its peak. At that time our roads were in a disgraceful state, weeds everywhere. Put simply it was an embarrassment to our town, we can only imagine what our visitors thought.
Now it appears the mechanisms of government are in action, but is it too little too late? The weeds have already gone to seed ensuring a bumper crop next year. The grass has already fallen back ready for winter.
Weeds and grass are now firmly established within every crevice on our roadside leaving it, in places, impossible to distinguish the division between road and verge. It is a future maintenance nightmare.
So why cut now when all is lost, the only people to gain are those at the receiving end of the contract. If the money was available why was it not spent when needed? Or, were the roads in other areas simply more important.
Yet again the money flows to Kilcooley, this time in the form of a proposed £80,000 new play park. We will all agree that money allocated towards playgrounds for children is money well spent. But I believe there is already provision in Kilcooley, at least two playgrounds.
Over the years I have tried to be advised on the sum total of money flowing into kilcooley but cannot be told, certainly the streets should be paved with gold by now and a child’s playground on every corner. If not where are the millions going?
However the main thrust of my concern, as it has always been, is the inequality of funding especially towards the Abbey area now part of Bangor Central. Shipperstone Hall has received a new roof yet what was really needed was extra space. What electors, or other visitors, will have noticed is that is simply a one room affair and cannot accommodate two events at once.
The Skipperstone playground is a meagre affair fitted into a corner adjacent to the hall and without the protective fencing evident in other areas. It is well used, I visited it four times to take the above photo without children, (even then this girl turned up but the time I got out of the car).
Perhaps it is time for a redistribution of wealth!
In today’s world it is sometimes difficult to be sure where responsibility lies. In a given contract with perhaps many sub contractors confusion can reign.
The new sewage works in Castle Park could be an example. The boarding displays a very prominent banner proclaiming that the works are being carried out by a Considerate Constructor who protects the environment.
Such catchy logos are perhaps the norm in the corporate world suggesting a cosy relationship with the client which is sometimes open to interpretation. “Every little hurts” is perhaps an example.
“Considerate constructors protect the environment” Yet, a centuries old tree was felled to make way for the project. Considerate or what?
Residents I spoke to reacted with anger at the felling of this tree at the entrance from Castle Park onto Abbey Park and surrounding area. Even suggesting the tree preceded much of Bangor. Where Saints walked perhaps.
Contractors are reported to have said that the 600 – 800 year old oak tree was felled to make way for piping related to the new sewage works currently being carried out in Castle park. If this is not an act of corporate vandalism I don’t know what is.
No one mentioned whither a consultation had taken place, this tree was just a short distance from where I live and was not contacted. If this is the case then residents were given no opportunity to seek a tree preservation order. A underhand tactic if ever there was one.
Residents noted that there were alternative routes for any pipework up the existing adjacent path.
Trees can be replanted but the oak takes hundreds of years to mature, effectively irreplaceable for the current generation and generations to come.
I believe heads should roll over this disgraceful action, Woodland Trust should act.
From previous experience on Council (NDBC) I know that contracts cost a lot of money. There is always a suspicion that Council contracts attract an extra 0 at the end of the amount compared to a domestic job.
The quality of the job is therefore paramount, the pavement lighting in the town is an indication of lack of scrutiny and the resultant problems that can cause. Giving a seafront bin, exposed as it is to all that salt bourn air, a wee daub of undercoat here and there is madness. Do the job right or not at all, we ratepayers deserve a quality and lasting paint job. Something half hearted is not going to last. Shortly it will be covered with top coat, we wont know the difference until the paint peels way too soon.