This week's Councillor Column is written by Gemma Penfold, Conservative councillor for Helensburgh and Lomond South - who reflects on a busy 12 months since she won a by-election in the area almost exactly a year ago...

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So the time has come for my last Councillor Column in the Advertiser under this council.

It has been a quick year and I have learnt so much in such a short time. I have managed to get quite a few solutions for constituents who have contacted me but, as always, there is still so much work to do – and I will strive to finish out this year as a councillor, fighting for anything that hasn’t been resolved yet.

One thing that seems to come up again and again is the matter of litter in the town and nearby villages. Unfortunately, trying to find a solution seems near on impossible.

The council’s administration recently gave extra money in its budget to provide more bins to the area’s towns in order to try and tackle the problem.

While we are definitely aware that it is not only our youth that are littering the streets (last week I watched as a van driver in Helensburgh wound their window down and threw a can out and on to the street – needless to say I was shocked!), it’s important that we continue to work with our local schools to educate Helensburgh and Lomond’s young people on the devastating effects littering has on the environment, as well as the general look and feel of an area covered in litter and why that is extremely unfair to the local residents.

Litter is a perennial problem in our communities - and while Helensburgh and Lomond may be cleaner than some areas, that doesnt mean its a problem thats been solved

Litter is a perennial problem in our communities - and while Helensburgh and Lomond may be cleaner than some areas, that doesn't mean it's a problem that's been solved

Douglas Morgan, the acting head teacher of Hermitage Academy, has been extremely helpful in communicating with us as councillors, and with young people at the school, about this issue. And to the parents reading this: we hope that you can also help by encouraging your youngsters (and yourselves) to use a bin!

Another issue I know is of concern to people in the area is speeding motorists.

We have recently seen the addition of a new speed camera in Cardross which is a very welcome sight for the villagers who have been waiting for this to be installed for quite a while now.

It is not uncommon to watch traffic speed through the village at way over the 30 miles an hour limit, so I’m hopeful that this camera – the first fixed speed camera anywhere in Argyll and Bute – will help calm the traffic and make the A814 through the village a much safer road for everyone involved.

Speeding is a huge issue everywhere and we can all do our part by sticking to the speed limits to keep Helensburgh and Lomond safe.

Finally, I would like to thank you so much for all your support and, to the people of Helensburgh and Lomond South, for putting your faith in me and choosing me to represent you in the by-election a year ago this week. It has been a wonderful experience and I am very grateful. Stay happy and safe folks!