We need your opinion on buying a mini plough for Garvald…

Open letter from local resident Tim Flinn:

The case for a Garvald Village mini snow plough.

Thanks to Crystal Rigg money we can now afford a mini snow plough of our own. It would be used to clear the roads and pavements and accesses and entrances untouched by the Council machine. (Think about Westpoint, Burnside Court, the New School House, Africa, Kirkbrae, the village hall, and also of kids having to walk on the road; and push chairs, etc.). Many of us are too old, weak, ill, young, busy, or whatever else, to keep shovelling ourselves and neighbours out of trouble. And then there’s the problem of the huge ridges of snow left by the Council machines.

A simple solution is whenever a snowfall is forecast for a volunteer to tow to Garvald the snowplough on its trailer from whichever farmer is kind enough to garage it when not needed. Other volunteers, suitably trained and insured, will take turns in doing the clearing. If no one volunteers then we can pay someone. The snow can be dumped on the green, the park, empty spaces or in the woods. A tarpaulin would protect the plough when not in use when on stand-by in Garvald (perhaps on the village green).

Insurance, servicing and any fees would be paid for by the Community Council from Crystal Rigg funds. A CC member would undertake this duty and see to a duty roster, etc. The machine will be available to other parts of the parish and also to Morham. It could be hired out, too.

David Walls has commented:
“Mini plough for village? Great idea… Whoever thought of it is a genius.
Hendersons (I’m not an agent) in Haddington had excellent machines in stock last year… the two-wheel tractor, Tracmaster. I have one of these. They are built like tanks and will run for 30 years if looked after (diesel version). But do get the electric start. There are several versions, but for the amount of work there would be you would need the largest… the 740. It’s a heavy machine, so needs a strong arm. There are all sorts of attachments, grass cutters, snow ploughs, rotovators, etc., so it could maybe be rented out to pay for itself, rather than have it sitting around doing nothing for a year, which would not be good for it. It’s around £4,000 for the machine and implements come it ranging from the £500 to £1,000 mark. A snow blower is just under £1,000. It would be powerful enough to do the hills out of Garvald, plus there is a salter/gritter attachment.”

Have a look:

Obviously people need to think about snags and problems. These must be discussed, so it would help greatly if those raising objections also raised suitable solutions!

Please contact your friendly local Garvald and Morham Community Councillor via the contact form on the GMCC webpage, or add to the comments at the bottom of this blog post, if you wish us to have a mini snow plough.

Tim Flinn.

9 thoughts on “We need your opinion on buying a mini plough for Garvald…

  1. Grahame Stephenson

    I have noticed a lack of gritting bins around the area, when travelling up to castle moffat past nunraw, and up to carfrae through the s-bends on the climb up towards the farm which very rarely gets gritted.
    is there anything that the community council do to help when roads are icy and snowy ?

    1. admin

      Grit bins can be requested from the Council. Perhaps the Community Council could figure out where they might be best sited and make a single, co-ordinated request on behalf of residents. There seems to a recurring issue of main roads being gritted and side roads being neglected, even though the Council website says their policy is to cover the whole road network on a prioritised basis.

  2. Tim Flinn

    The point of getting community snow ploughs is to clear those important areas that the Council doesn’t (and won’t) touch, but which people for various reasons such as age, infirmity, etc, are unable to manage safely for themselves. What practical alternatives to this problem do the nay sayers suggest? Problems don’t just go away because they are ignored!

  3. Heidi Ingram

    If a snow plough was available, we would use it to clear our road. Also the gardening attachments for the two-wheeler tractor look interesting and could be put to good use. However, perhaps the council could be asked to service the side roads once their main and secondary routes are clear, as per their guidelines (http://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/info/1330/street_care_and_cleaning/1387/get_ready_for_winter), and to keep pavements clear of snow so the village children don’t need to walk on the road to get the school bus.

  4. vickie short

    Isn’t snow clearing an ELCC job? Windfarm monies I believe are not to be used for Council duties.Perhaps we should ask the council to alter their way of dealing with our snow!

  5. Toni Bunch

    On a purely personal (and maybe selfish) basis I would very much welcome a local mini plough. Every time the Council plough goes past, my little drive gets blocked and there have been several times in the last three years when, only because of that, I have not been unable to get my car out. At the age of 76, I no longer have the strength to clear the entrance to my drive myself and I have sometimes been ‘snowed-in’ for a week at a time. Toni B.

  6. Penny Short

    The suggestion of purchasing a snow plough was discussed at the last meeting of the G&MCC. What a pity Tim wasn’t able to make the meeting as we could have had a proper discussion with him then. This is not the forum to have a full, open discussion on the subject but I will say this: none of my fellow Community Councillors supported this suggestion of committing a massive amount of the funding we receive to such a project. It would be unfair to use money which is supposed to benefit the whole community to buy a piece of equipment which, in reality, would only be used by a very small part of that community. We cover a large rural area. If the snow is so bad that it needs to be ploughed then it would be impossible to transport the plough to all the areas it would be needed. Don’t forget that is Garvald AND Morham Community Council and Morham and all our outlying areas would need to be served equally. It is a real nuisance when the weather is bad but we choose to live in a rural area and we have to expect to be snowed in occasionally. I myself lost a day’s work when I couldn’t get out of my lane – would a snow plough have been able to help EVERYONE in need that day? The purchase of a snow plough wouldn’t be a one-off spend. The maintenance, repair and fuel costs would be an ongoing incurrence that we could not commit to support.

    We always welcome members of the community to come along to the CC meetings and raise any issues they would like to discuss. If Tim would like to come along to the next meeting we would be delighted and look forward to considering a detailed proposal from him which would give a proper quotation for ALL of the equipment required, the details of a proper, secure and central location where it could be kept, an estimate of yearly expenditure on fuel, insurance and maintenance, a list of volunteers (and the cost of training and insuring them) and a list of nominees of those who would take responsibility for the massive amount of administration that this proposed enterprise would require.

    1. admin

      Tim is planning to attend the next meeting for a full discussion. He asked for the letter to be put on the website to find out what people thought about the project, before spending his time working out the details and talking with the GMCC about the proposal.

      Regarding the note encouraging local residents to attend meetings, I would be happy to publish meeting dates and agendas on the website… just send them over ahead of each meeting. It would give people advanced notice and some information on the subjects to be discussed.

  7. Grahame Stephenson

    I would be willing to volunteer to assist with moving the snow plough from farmers yard to Garvald. Based at Carfrae, I can tow the trailer and I am willing to be trained up to use the snow plough.

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