Presenting his report to the Kintore and District Community Council AGM, vice chairman Ken McEwen – who has been acting chairman for the past 14 months and was re-elected as vice-chairman – explains that it had been a difficult time for the community council.
The community council had been devastated when its chairperson, Fiona Cooper lost her battle with cancer in the autumn of 2019. On top of that – in common with every organisation and business – the community council had been dealt another hefty blow with the coronavirus restrictions. But, through it all, the community council had not missed a single meeting. "Faced with the pandemic, Kintore again showed its remarkable community spirit," Ken pointed out. "Within days of the Kintore Parish Church, Kintore Community Church and Kintore and District Community Council setting up ‘Lend a Hand Kintore’ there were squads of volunteers ready to provide support for citizens who were self-isolating. That support is still in place." Ken paid tribute to community council stalwarts who had stepped down. Sheila Gray and Ann Marston had both served some 23 years. Also stepping down were John Thomson, Derek Logan and more recently Jess Lumsden. Ken thanked them all for their service to the community. Taking their place, he pointed out there was quite a rush of newcomers last year: Janine Cracknell, Bill Duthie, Jamie Grant, Donna Heron, Alan Milne and Moira Moran all joined the community council. In his report Ken reminded people that Kintore is now one of the top ten largest towns in Aberdeenshire. But, he regretted that: "All too often facilities, resources and events are targeted at Inverurie as our larger neighbour. We should be recognised as a substantial community in our own right – not as a satellite town of Inverurie. "We want to see more focus on the needs of Kintore," he added turning to one specific current issue. "We were promised a Town Park and we need to fight hard to see that come to reality as the latest plans for the site have reduced the Town Park to a sports square, pavilion and small car park. After so many years of waiting for our park, this is not good enough." In January 2016, Ken recalled, Kintore was quite badly hit by flooding. But the flood study for Kintore was not due take place until 2026 – ten years after that flood. As a town, we need to press the case for earlier action as people are living in fear of every rainstorm in the meantime. At the meeting, following the AGM, there was a suggestion that the study would, indeed, be brought forward. "We should make more of our history and heritage," Ken continued. "Kintore is an ancient Royal Burgh that had its first Royal Charter in the 12th century and although the official Royal Burgh status was done away with in the 1970s, we can see from Hansard that we are welcome to keep using the prestigious Royal Burgh title. "Our predecessors knew the status of Kintore, building, in the early part of the 18th century, one of the most magnificent statements of civic pride that any town could have – our wonderful Town House. "Let’s hope that the community rallies round Action Kintore’s aim to bring the Town House back into use for the community and that, around it, we can refurbish and pave The Square to create a fitting centre for our town." Ken felt that people tended to forget the huge business community that we have in Kintore. "Our town has four business parks within its community council boundary. We have world headquarters, leading players in the oil and gas industry, plus aviation, motor trade and food. Within our area we have Thainstone Mart, one of the largest agricultural centres of its kind in Western Europe. "Some of that is under threat from a boundary change proposal instigated by Inverurie Community Council. They have requested to take Thainstone into their territory." While there might be some logical changes to bring some houses in Port Elphinstone under Inverurie, the community council struggles to see the logic behind the Inverurie Community Council proposal. Ken said he was also disappointed with the way the proposal was handled, with suggestions that Kintore and District Community Council had somehow been unable to discuss the matter. He pointed out that there had been no contact about the proposal, from ICC, since a meeting in November 2019. "The residents of Thainstone seem keen to stay in the Kintore Community Council area and our community is also strengthened by incorporating the Thainstone Mart, Thainstone House Hotel, Thainstone Business Park and Kirkwood Commercial Park within our boundaries," Ken stated, adding"If we lose Thainstone, then we will be even more a community in the shadow of our bigger neighbour. That is not something we want to see for our town."