This week's Councillor Column is written by Gary Mulvaney, Conservative councillor for Helensburgh Central and Argyll and Bute Council's deputy leader.

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Despite the rather damp weather recently, the Helensburgh Waterfront project continues to make progress against the timetable and is heading towards a June completion.

I was fortunate to visit the site again recently and saw first hand the work that has been done. Tiling and painting is well underway internally, and a considerable amount of the external slabbing and public realm work has been done too.

The gym and studio rooms, with their wonderful views of the Clyde, are particularly impressive.

Although progress is on plan just now, as any builder knows, it can always be the one or two final elements that can cause a delay, especially in these times of unprecedented global demand for materials post-Covid.

Fingers crossed for a fair wind to get us across the line over the next few months.

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With regards to the pier and the planned council bid to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund, the new waterfront development is signalling a bright future for a key site in the town centre.

It was always going to be more important than ever that the old pier was addressed. So, it is great news that the council will give £163,000 to resurface and repair the masonry pier. That will certainly improve the way it looks.

In the longer term, I am keen to push for a re-invigorated use for the wooden section of the pier, with a modern berthing facility to increase its use for recreational, tourism and transport.

With the UK Government giving nearly £5 billion to assist town centre regeneration and community transport schemes across the UK in its Levelling Up plan, it is good to see that Helensburgh features prominently in Argyll and Bute’s bid plans.

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Finally, Thursday saw the final budget of the five-year council agreed.

As financial policy lead over that time, I have seen our settlements progressively cut by the SNP Government, with any supposed ‘extra’ monies more than offset by additional or new requirements to fund them.

‘Give with one hand and take with other’ seems to be the SNP’s fiscal framework. Nonetheless, as result of careful and prudent management for well over a decade, Argyll and Bute Council is better placed than many councils to weather Storm Nicola and I hope that come budget day, there can be a modicum of good news for our residents and communities.

More money to fix local roads, footpaths and lighting is something I know people would like.

READ MORE: Catch up with the latest news headlines from around Helensburgh and Lomond here