THIS week's Councillor Column is written by Cllr Gemma Penfold (Conservative, Helensburgh and Lomond South).

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IT has been an incredibly busy and exciting three months since I was elected to represent Helensburgh and Lomond South at the by-election in March.

My diary has been jam packed with meetings to get to know the officers of the council and I am delighted to say that I have been very kindly welcomed by each and every one of them. I would like to commend the officers for all their hard work.

I was actually surprised to find out just how much work goes on behind the scenes with every enquiry and was very pleased to learn that the officers want what we want – they just have the trickier job of knowing the ins and outs, rules and regulations.

I am excited to get to know them better, as the year goes on, and to work with them to help make Argyll and Bute an even more beautiful place to live.

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As a dance teacher, I was delighted to read the most recent primary education report for Helensburgh and Lomond which highlighted the incredible achievements over the last year.

It seems our primary schools did a fantastic job of keeping their students engaged during both lockdown learning and blended learning periods.

Many of our local primary schools gave focus to live teaching sessions, where possible, and used online learning platforms like Seesaw to engage with our young learners.

All schools appear to be very focused on their students’ health and wellbeing which is incredibly important as we come out of lockdown and start working towards a normal life again. Congratulations to all our local schools and hard-working teachers – you are doing a fantastic job!

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I recently had the pleasure of being invited along to the new waterfront development site in Helensburgh and I am very impressed.

The new leisure centre will have two lovely big pools with viewing areas both at the side and above, so no more cramming to see your child at their swimming lesson.

The gym and fitness studios have the most sought after views in the town, which will make working out much more pleasant as you can spend your time distracted by the beautiful view of the Clyde (just don’t get too distracted and forget to work out!).

The junior pool will have an adjustable floor meaning that it can be raised or lowered for accessibility. I also heard a rumour there would be underfloor heating in the changing village – lovely! I will look forward to seeing what progress is made in the near future and updating you all.

Until next time, stay safe and do what makes you happy!