Wednesday 14 February 2007

Commonwealth Games

Today's Herald carries news of Glasgow's bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I'm really excited about this, not least because significant parts of the games will be held in the area I hope to represent come May.

Looking around just now, there are huge gaps in the landscape, areas left vacant and decaying. Some of the land is contaminated by long-gone industries. In my view, the East End of Glasgow has been neglected by the Council - so many areas seem so uncared for.

I don't believe that the East End of Glasgow should have to rely on the Commonwealth Games to get investment, but I do believe it's a great opportunity to provide new facilities.

The plans show that Dalmarnock will be the location for the athletes village - which afterwards will provide much-needed new housing in the area. I hope that the East End in it's entirety is considered as part of the plans - it's easy to build a shiny new "village", but if the problems (poor health, vandalism, anti-social behaviour, crime and lack of decent housing) that many residents face are not dealt with, the area will continue to be left behind. I intend to fight to ensure that all residents benefit from the investment the Games will bring.

I still have a niggling worry that if Glasgow doesn't get the games, that the Scottish Executive will pull the plug on funding regeneration, especially after reading this part of the Bid website:

"The Scottish Executive and Glasgow City Council have agreed to underwrite the costs of staging the Games. This will be on the basis of an 80/20 split. It is expected that the majority of the 80% of costs to be covered by the Executive will be new money committed to the sports and major events budget."

With this kind of split, the Council might not be able to pick up the massive funding gap. So I'll keep my fingers crossed til the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) make their decision on the 9th November this year.

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