The road works on Milton Road East continue and seem to be causing delays further afield at peak times in Niddrie Mains Road and Portobello High Street. As I said last week, I had arranged to go and look at both Milton Road East (and the Promenade) and find out more about what the challenges were from SGN’s point of view.
Last Wednesday, Mike Hymers and the senior engineer for this major SGN gas mains renewal project met me at the corner of the road and Brunstane Road South. I was pleased they had already dealt with one constituent’s difficulty that morning and we met a couple of others who were being inconvenienced by having to walk further than they wanted to for a bus or get to the College.
I could see and hear how essential this work is and why it takes a while to complete and why one carriageway is closed with amount of big kit they need and room for manoeuvre. There were five patches on the bridge and junction where previous gas leaks had been patched causing unplanned emergency work causing disruption to traffic on five occasions in the last couple of years.
This work will make sure that doesn’t happen again in living memory. The gas pipes are over a 100 years old, metal and clearly failing. Mike Hymers, SGN’s operations planner, is a local man, ex-Portobello High School pupil, and still living in the area he knows very well. If SGN could have done it differently, or faster, or with two way traffic, they would have.
Mike updated us all this week saying: “Our project within Milton Road East is progressing well. Currently we have a team working at the bridge who are excavating to find our existing pipe. This section is awkward due area being heavily congested with other apparatus. We also have another resource excavating a track for our new 355mm main.
“Approximately 170m of this is open already with pipe work being laid today. I understand the main question everyone will have is when will the road be open to two-way traffic? The answer to that, at this moment, is we don’t know.
“We still have a number of excavations to dig as well as the introduction of our over ground gas pipe which needs to be in place before we can start introducing gas into our new pipe. As promised we will continue to send progress updates throughout this project”.
The Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT) is hosting a variety of FREE, fun and educational activities in and around the magnificent woodlands of Craigmillar Castle Park from January to March. There are events and activities for everyone, such as guided walks, children’s activities, volunteer tasks and much more.
All non-booking events will meet at the adventure playground. For more information, please contact: Ben McCallum, Woodland Engagement Officer Telephone: 0131 445 4025 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org: The first event is this coming Friday. Craigmillar Castle Park January A Walk In The Park on Friday 20 January 2.00pm – 4.00pm – Discover Craigmillar Castle Park on a guided walk through the woods.
Please bring suitable footwear and dress for the weather. Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult. Meet at the adventure playground in the park. Then there is a Woodland Workshop on Tuesday 24 January 2.00pm – 4.00pm. Meet like minded people and help look after your local woodland.
Tasks can range from tree pruning to footpath maintenance. Booking is essential For more information and to book a space again contact Ben McCallum. Then there is ‘What’s That Tree?’ Friday 27 January 2.00pm – 4.00pm A fun and interesting workshop, looking at how to identify trees without their leaves.
Please bring suitable footwear and dress for the weather. Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult. Meet at the adventure playground in the park. More here: including the map: https://www.facebook.com/Craigmillar-Castle-Park-189368128134952/?fref=ts
Craigentinny & Telferton Allotments group is holding an allotment pop up cafe. You are invited to come and enjoy food in exchange for your thoughts. Saturday 25 February from 4.30pm to 7.30pm at Wilson Memorial Church, 127 Moira Terrace. Their website is: www.ctallotments.com
I am currently dealing with one or two problems with failed lighting and missed bin collections. Do let me know if you are having persistent problems, with these issues in particular, and I will try and get them properly sorted out. Reminder: I have still to remember to report the temperamental lamp in my own street.
The discussion with Our Forth and Claudia Beamish MSP on her individual Members’ Bill to ban fracking (unconventional onshore oil and gas extraction) attracted around 35 people to Portobello Baptist Church Hall on Monday evening, mostly local people but one person came all the way form East Dunbartonshire.
Claudia and Eileen speaking on behalf of our own community campaign Our Forth also were interviewed by David Calder for Porty podcast. Link is here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/71622/463587-17-fracking-claudia-beamish-msp. We were all very keen that as many people as possible fill in the survey monkey at the end of the published Bill document to help make this Bill as robust as it possibly can be and garner as much support as we can. The link is: http://www.parliament.scot/gettinginvolved/101886.aspx
David Calder aims to put up a new Porty Podcast on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so it’s worth listening back to the others he has already done if you missed them – all of local interest: http://porty.org.uk/news/porty-podcast/
Coming up next week is an opportunity to hear from Neil Finlay MSP who will be talking about Justice for the Miners. This is another open meeting to be held in the Jewel Miners Club at 56 Duddingston Park South, EH15 3LJ from 7pm to 9pm.
Last Thursday I visited Portobello High School to have a coffee and chat with the head teacher Ruth McKay. We talked for a good hour about issues neighbours and community members have raised with me and what the school can and is doing to improve matters. The head teacher has no jurisdiction whatsoever outside the school boundaries, but is doing her level best to help address concerns, where it is within the school’s power.
She is working in close partnership with all the other agencies and individuals who all have their own part to play. We spent almost another hour in a fascinating conversation about her actual job – leading and managing the school to support the best possible learning and teaching at Portobello High School.
One of the issues we talked about was the upsetting but necessary emergency tree work at Portobello Park which had started that morning mainly at the Park Avenue side of the school, then at the Hope Lane side.
Some of you have had this information already, but the situation, as described by the Council’s overall head of parks and greenspace, David Jamieson was as follows: “Following an inspection of Portobello Park by parks staff on Wednesday a number of trees have been identified that will need to be removed on health and safety grounds. It has been agreed that all should be made safe as quickly as possible and then removed during the February school holiday to minimise disruption to learning and teaching”.
They had hoped any work could be postponed until February but it became clear any delay would pose a danger of at least one tree uprooting and falling in a high wind. That tree at Hope Lane was made safe that same day by the removal of its branches and works started on Thursday morning to make the other thirteen safe.
The tree work is weather dependent, so following discussions with the school, it was agreed that works should start with the trees nearest the school which were those at Park Avenue pupil entrance. This was to ensure that if works were to go into early this week there would be no noise disruption to pupils who started their prelims on the Monday.
The intention was that – before the emergency tree works started on Thursday – letters would be hand delivered through the doors of residents to explain what is happening. I gather that information didn’t get through before the work started, unfortunately. The intention is to complete the tree works in the school’s February break, including the planting of new replacement trees.
It came too late for update last week but our North East Locality event called Community Planning for People & Planet has been moved from January (which was the date I gave you last week) to the end of the series of four events. So it is now Wednesday 1 March 6-8pm at Craigmillar Library. Register here: https://lip-1mar.eventbrite.co.uk
A Family Festival is coming up at Tribe Porty – if you are expecting or a young parent, or new in the area, Tribe Porty have a fantastic line up of local organisation that work to support you in the early years of family life! Come along and get practical advice, get inspired, meet like-minded people and see what’s on. That’s on Saturday 28 January, 10am-12pm, in Tribe Porty Windsor Place (the yellow door beside Earthy).
That’s all I have time for right now. I hope you have a great weekend when it comes!