This week's Community Column is written by Norman Muir, convener of Helensburgh Community Council.

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The summer holidays have come to an end and it is time for the community council to re-engage with the strands of our current community initiatives.

We also intend to seek a solution to the most pressing problem of all: how can we improve the way we do business with the Argyll and Bute authorities for the benefit of the community?

We have not been standing still on this issue and now have close liaison and coordination with the roads officers dealing with the town, and a similar association with the project staff of the waterfront project.

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Although both aspects are technically and, in the case of the waterfront, contractually restrictive, the intercommunication and information gained helps the community to keep abreast of proceedings.

In addition, the HCC initiative of ‘Vision for Helensburgh’ enjoys communication and coordination with Argyll and Bute staff in a positive, cohesive action which will hopefully bring the initiative to a successful conclusion.

Much remains to be done in the areas of information exchange and attitude.

A paternalistic attitude of ‘we know what is good for you’ still seems to prevail, and the ‘tick box’ plethora of surveys and consultations seldom sees conclusive results being passed back to the public who provided the information in the first place.

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If we can marry the skills, abilities and expertise of Argyll and Bute staff to the hopes, aspirations and wishes of the Helensburgh citizens we will have gone some way to energizing a bond that will benefit the town in the long run.

It will be an interesting journey, but the alternative is to fall prey to apathy and stagnation.

The HCC has been working hard on getting a public response to our ‘Vision for Helensburgh’ survey. We particularly want input from the young people of the town.

It helps to counterbalance the claim that we are a town of ‘oldies’, and establishes a demographic spread of views and opinions. The survey is also online and every family member is encouraged to fill it in at