At a special council meeting last week the chief executive, Joyce White updated the council on how all departments are coping delivering services under lock-down conditions. Thanks are due to all those who are working to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible.

Vaccination programmes have started, with care home residents and staff being priority recipients, giving us all encouragement that there will be an end to the pandemic.

Thanks to the strength of being part of the United Kingdom, pooling knowledge, resources and funding, Scotland is more advanced with the vaccination roll-out programme than almost anywhere in the world. A vaccine procurement drive on this scale has never been done before.

Due to the lockdowns that were in place for most of 2020, few people have travelled abroad, and many have made use of the easy access we have to local green spaces.

In January 2018, I walked the River Leven Heritage Trail with a number of interested parties to see what could be done to improve this beautiful walk.

Two years on Sustrans has spent £15,000 replacing nearly all of the interpretation boards that tell the history, mainly industrial, at various points along the Leven. The Loch Lomond Angling Improvement Association regularly maintains the bank of the river and have named all the fishing pools along the river.

The Loch Lomond Fisheries Trust has also been involved in encouraging people to take up fishing and showing schoolchildren the wonders of the river systems that feed Loch Lomond. West Dunbartonshire Council has re-painted the lights from the Old Bonhill Bridge and the local authority’s staff are re-pointing the pyramids made from the stone taken from the old bridge.

Litter is picked up along the route by every one of those groups, and by many individuals – and, sad to say, it is a constant problem. As is graffiti: even some of the new boards have spray paint on them.

Finally, we have been advised that a new application from Flamingo Land is coming. The commercial wing of the SNP government, Scottish Enterprise, seems to be set on selling off the land at West Riverside. Is it not ironic that through the SNP’s land reform policies, £4.4 millon was spent in 2018 to buy the island of Ulva, off Mull, with a population of six people that has not increased since the buy-out?

A tidy-up and maintenance programme for West Riverside would be the preference for most of the residents and visitors of Balloch. Scottish Enterprise, together with Visit Scotland could perhaps together look at West Riverside as an asset to Balloch, and to the National Park, rather than as a cash cow.