FIRSTLY may I commend the Community Council's initiative in producing what I hope will be the first of many editions of this Maybole handbook. I have felt that so much happens in our town that would be of interest to our successors but because they have not been documented the everyday life of Minniebolers will be a mystery to those who come after us. It is also true to say that there are thousands of people in every corner of the world whose roots lie in Maybole and to whom a record of the activities here would be a welcome link with home. I also feel that, particularly since the reorganisation of Local Government, it is important for towns like ours to retain a sense of our own identity. This handbook will, I feel, greatly assist in this direction.
In recent years it is pleasing to note that the population of Maybole has steadily increased and is now approaching 5000. This increase has in the main been due to two factors. The building of Gardenrose Phases 1 and 2 and the substantial amount of private house building to the west of the railway. This influx of population can only be because Maybole is situated in a corner of Scotland which is unrivalled for its scenic beauty and access to almost every pursuit imaginable. Where else in a comparatively small area can you hill walk, pony trek, golf, fish, shoot, sail, fly, visit the seaside, spend a day in a Country Park, or explore a countryside steeped in history since the Stone Age?
To the newcomers to Maybole I would extend a warm welcome and express the hope that you will quickly become part of our community and also that you will become involved in the community.
It is now some two and a half years since I was elected to represent you on Kyle and Carrick District Council. These years have been pretty traumatic for all of us, both locally and nationally. The scourge of unemployment looms ever larger, prices are soaring, industrial unrest threatens, economic cut-backs are restricting the scope of everything from education to the Health Service. Troubled times indeed! Under these circumstances it is difficult for us to remain optimistic. In Maybole, however, we have an old saying "we never deid o' winter yet." I would ask you to remember that saying and also to remember that the history of our town is littered with "troubled times" but we have survived.
This past year has seen the formulation of a Local Plan for Maybole and in so doing the District Council have had the opportunity to look in depth at our problems. Environmentally the over-riding problem that we have is the density of traffic in the High Street. I myself have worked on the High Street for twenty-five years and I watch the increase in the volume and size of the traffic with considerable alarm. My hope is that a by-pass will become a reality in the not too distant future. Then and only then will the elderly and the young be able to cross their own High Street without danger to life and limb. Poisonous fumes, noise and vibration would then be a thing of the past.
The Council realise that a prime requirement for Maybole is the provision of jobs and to this end are looking at sites upon which to build small advance factory units. The fact that Ayr (which includes Maybole) is now designated a Special Development Area will, I hope, help to encourage industrialists to invest here.
This last year has seen the modernisation of some three hundred local authority houses in Maybole. I hope that those of you who were involved feel that it was worth the trouble. This programme of modernisation will not, unfortunately, continue this year due to cuts forced upon us by the National Government. Hopefully, however, it will continue when financial matters make it possible.
This past year has also seen the improvement of kitchen and toilet facilities, etc. to our Hall. Our Town Hall is, I believe, the finest hall in Kyle and Carrick District and as such deserves to be kept in a good state of repair.
One of my main concerns at this time is the inadequate provision of play facilities for our youngsters. I have been, and will continue to, press the Council to provide suitable play areas both at the Gardenrose and Dailly Road part of the town. The site of the former pre-fabs at Whitefaulds is also giving cause for concern. The Council are looking at this with a view to extending Miller Park and generally tidying up the whole area. It will be my job on your behalf to continue to press the Council on these and many other matters which are giving cause for concern in our community. I am always happy to meet with any of you who have a problem or suggestion to put to me. May I take this opportunity to wish Minniebolers at home and abroad well now and in the future.