THIS week's Councillor Column comes from depute leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Gary Mulvaney.

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IT has been great to have such a brilliant spell of warm and dry weather in Helensburgh recently, coinciding with the first few weeks of the school holidays.

Not only does a bit of sunshine lift all our collective spirits as we adapt to live with Covid, it must be a welcome boost for all our local shops and retailers to see the town packed with visitors too.

As I’ve walked around the town on the many sunny days we had during July, it’s been great to see the pavement cafe culture coming to Helensburgh with outdoor seating for several of our restaurants and bars.

However one of the consequences of this dry and busy spell has been the state of our pavements, which – as reported in the Advertiser, and as has been the subject of much discussion on social media – are starting to look dirty and grubby in so many places.

READ MORE: Helensburgh's pavements 'filthy with grease and grime', says angry resident

Paddy and our amenities team do a great job day-to-day, on brushing up and collecting rubbish, but we do need to get the pavements actually cleaned.

Having spoken to the council officials in charge of this, I am glad to say that additional manual sweepers will be deployed in the town in the meantime to clean things up.

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The waterfront leisure centre project continues to make progress against its plan, with mains gas and water works now under way, and with a significant amount of the public realm work, such as the steps from the old skatepark and the installation of lighting, now complete. Well done to the Heron Brothers team.

I am pleased to say that the council is also now looking to improve the lighting and surface of the masonry pier in Helensburgh, using a share of the money we have received from the Scottish Government in connection with its Place Based Investment Programme.

Argyll and Bute as a whole received £821,000 from the programme for the 2021-22 financial year, and a report recommending that we spend £163,000 of that money on the pier – and where the rest of the funding should be spent – will go before the council’s policy and resources committee next week.

READ MORE: Cash is on the way for pier repairs, says Helensburgh councillor

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With Nicola Sturgeon having recently declared that she will only converse with those as intelligent as herself (hmmm – I wonder whether she was including or excluding her own cabinet?), and having been found wanting over failing to achieve her own vaccine numbers for those aged 40-49, it would seem the SNP have now tripped themselves up over their use of language.

The SNP Government’s recent tweet stating that 55,000 pregnant “people” had got the jab justly drew a backlash from women and expectant mothers to be.

One midwife helpfully pointed out to the nutty Nats that in her 30 years in the profession, she was assured that only women had got pregnant and given birth.

Maybe the midwife concerned could have an intelligent conversation with Nicola and break the news.