That’s it: the Christmas cards have been taken down, the tree has been disposed of and the decorations have been put away for another year, so it only remains to say a very Happy New Year to you all and good wishes from Dumbarton East and Central Community Council.

It would be nice to think that we will now get back to ‘normal’ as we did in years gone by - well, at least as we did until 2019. But the times we are living in are anything but normal and we are once again having to live with the Covid virus.

While the seriousness of the latest variant is still being assessed, it’s clear that it is more transmissible than those which have come before, and so we are once again living with restrictions, as we have done for the past two years.

It would be nice to think it will be over in the coming year but as I thought that last year, this appears to be a ‘deja vu’ moment, and it looks as if we will have to live with Covid for a time yet.

Last year most of the community council’s meetings were held virtually by Zoom, and although we did start to hold our face to face meetings for a few months at the end of the year, it looks as if we will have to resort to Zoom again until the virus numbers start to fall, as we all hope they will.

Despite the latest Covid setback at the end of the year, 2021 was good for Dumbarton. The work carried out on the housing project along the quay has been a bonus for the town, and the application by Costa for a drive through at Morrisons was rejected by West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC), which was another positive step.

Our community council was one of the objectors to this application. We felt the local coffee shops would be best supported by residents rather than the multinationals who already have a good representation in the town. Objections from the community council are not submitted lightly; they are discussed fully, and the views of residents who contact us are also taken into account.

There is no doubt 2022 will bring many of the usual problems, among them litter and parking issues, but hopefully, following discussions with West Dunbartonshire Council’s greenspace team, bins will soon be made available which the seagulls cannot empty and spread the rubbish around. This was a big problem along the quay last year. It’s just another challenge for everyone involved!

Finally, the new regulations on smoke and heat alarms in people’s homes – applicable in Scotland only – are due to come into force in February.

Little has been said about this in recent weeks – though, as you’ll know from reading last week’s issue of the Reporter, WDC has asked the Scottish Government to put this back a year. Hopefully common sense will prevail and this will indeed be deferred.