COMMUNITY councillors in Helensburgh have praised the work of a newly-appointed events manager at the town’s civic centre – but have expressed their frustration that the role doesn’t cover the whole of the town centre.

Carianne de Koning was taken on by Argyll and Bute Council last year to try and maximise the use of the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre in East Clyde Street.

Since Ms de Koning’s appointment, the centre has played host to several events – including a hugely successful street food festival last July, and a Burns supper in January.

And next month it will be the venue, for the first time, for the Helensburgh Beer and Gin Festival.

The festival, taking place on May 17 and 18, is in its 13th year, and expects to attract around 2,500 people over the two days.

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Speaking at the latest monthly meeting of Helensburgh Community Council (HCC), member Roger Ferdinand said: “It’s a pity that Argyll and Bute Council has appointed an events manager for the Civic Centre only.

“Why that role can’t be extended to include Colquhoun Square and the whole town centre defeats me.

“That person has great skill, but it’s a role that is almost set up in competition with businesses in the town.

“It’s great that the council is doing these things but surely the benefits should be available for the whole town, not just the Civic Centre.”

Fellow community councillor Nigel Millar added: “The lady concerned is highly skilled.

“Helensburgh is slowly but surely becoming an ‘events town’, and for that skill to be locked away in the Civic Centre is a great waste of her talents, and a great shame for our town.”

Argyll and Bute Council leader Aileen Morton, who was present at HCC’s meeting when the issue was raised, said in reply: “The post is temporary.

“The events manager, essentially, has to earn enough from organising events in order to keep her post going.

“The council made a big investment in that building and we have to make sure it is fully used.”

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The new centre, incorporating the renovated former Clyde Street School, was opened by Helensburgh wheelchair tennis star Gordon Reid in March 2016.

It is home to around 140 council staff who were previously based in a variety of offices in Helensburgh and the surrounding area.

Most of the buildings have since been sold off in a bid to offset the cost of constructing the new modern facility.

Meanwhile, HCC was also told that on the weekend of the Beer and Gin Festival next month, the event’s former home, Helensburgh Sailing Club, will host a new event aimed at encouraging more people to take up sailing.