Dumbarton East and Central Community Council met for our first ‘real’ meeting since the start of the pandemic on September 14 in the hall at St Augustine’s Church.

It was good to get back to a situation where local topics could be discussed without raising your hand to speak which was sometimes the case with the Zoom meetings we’ve been holding since April 2020.

Zoom was an ideal way for us to continue to hold meetings and who knows, we may have to resort to that at some stage in the future if the restrictions we’ve endured return.

On that note, there has been disquiet – and I’m being generous using that word – online and in the community that it appears impossible to contact some WDC departments by phone.

Staff are not back in the office and working from home continues. Perhaps the time has come for some personnel to man the phones from the office base and give the public the service they pay for and deserve.

On a lighter note, the Concord Community Cinema has restarted and there is a good selection of films to choose from shown on afternoons and evenings. A programme can be seen on the Dumbarton High Street Facebook page.

The flats at the quay are nearing completion and should hopefully be handed over to the council in October. The sports ground and gym at Levengrove are progressing slowly – a materials shortage and price increases are signs of the times we’re living in, but work is still progressing, so we’ll accept that.

Litter picking groups have been busy and the next one I know of will be on October 16. Litter problems never go away and discarded litter from the lochside floats downstream to Dumbarton if not caught further upstream. There is a lochside action plan pilot lay by scheme which hopefully mobile homes and caravans will use.

Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce has launched a new scheme to support towns and neighbourhoods across Scotland, and the campaign has been encouraging people to ‘choose local’.

Throughout the pandemic the community council has firmly taken the view we should do just that. Supporting local businesses in these times will hopefully avoid any more shop closures in the area. On that note, the Food for Thought food bank’s cafe in the Artizan Centre is open for business and would love to see you.

Finally, we were informed earlier this year by Police Scotland that restructure within Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Division meant we no longer had a dedicated community policing officer for our area. This has not gone unnoticed and it is hoped that this could be looked at again in the future.