Council Election 2017: Strathmartine (Ward 1)

Strathmartine may be one of the most unusual wards in Dundee.

The population is concentrated in areas like Kirkton, Ardler, St Mary’s and Brackens, some of which have incredibly high levels of poverty and deprivation.

But Strathmartine also includes Dundee’s two biggest parks: Camperdown and Caird Park, a number of more affluent areas and Dryburgh Industrial Estate.

There are major proposals for new developments in both green areas – Dundee FC is considering leaving Dens Park for a new purpose-built stadium at Camperdown while the council wants to create a £21 regional sports centre in Caird Park.

Residents will also benefit from new schools in the ward, such as the massive new Sidlaw View Primary School and the new Baldragon Academy, scheduled to open next year.

But while there are plenty of positive developments, there have been regular complaints of antisocial behaviour across many parts of Strathmartine, from vandalism and drug abuse to children running riot at Camperdown Leisure Park.

However, it’s unlikely these issue will do much to change the results from five years ago.

The capture of two seats in the 2012 local government elections was the first clear indication that the SNP were going to sweep all before them.

The retiral of Liberal Democrat councillor Helen Dick allowed the party to claim two of the ward’s four seats and set them on course for the majority they have enjoyed over the past five years.

Unless there’s a drastic resurgence in support for the Lib Dems both John Alexander – the new leader of the SNP group – and children and families services convener Stewart Hunter will be returned.

They’ll be joined, in all likelihood, by Labour group leader Kevin Keenan and independent Ian Borthwick, who, at the age of 81, continues to enjoy plenty of local support.


 

Candidate profiles

The Courier invited each candidate to submit a short introduction to themselves and, if they wished, a video explaining why they deserve your vote.

 

John Alexander (SNP)

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Mr Alexander was elected five years ago and has served as both housing and neighbourhood services convener. He is the new leader of the SNP group.

He said: “Born, raised and having worked in Kirkton for most of my life, I am undoubtedly connected to the Strathmartine ward that I now have the privilege of representing at council.

“I was elected in 2012 as a 23-year-old local with a deep knowledge of the issues affecting people in our area.

“As a 28-year-old experienced councillor and a father-of-one, with another on the way, I believe I now have an even greater understanding of the issues and concerns that voters have.

“I have a track record of getting things done. I’m proud of my record as a councillor but I know that there is more to do.”

 

Ian Borthwick (independent)

Independent councillor for the Strathmartine Ward Ian Borthwick has represented the Downfield/Kirkton/St Mary’s areas since 1964.

He has also served as a magistrate for 20 years and on Tayside Health Board for approximately 18 years. He was Age Concern Scotland’s advocacy officer in Dundee for 30 years.

He said: “I believe it is very important to have an independent voice as the primary objective for councillors is to look after the interests of people in their constituencies.

“Every year I have around 150 communications from constituents regarding their children’s education, housing, crime, anti-social behaviour and other issues in their areas. It is a major part of a councillor’s work.

“Dundee is facing a very challenging future. There is much to be excited about. Investment at the waterfront, the impending arrival of the V&A, scientific breakthroughs in biomedical research at Dundee University and nationwide recognition of the city’s achievements in culture through music, art, gaming and design.

“But unless we move forward together by investing in disadvantaged communities and in the creation of skilled, well-paid jobs, we run the risk of creating a divided city.”

 

Daniel Coleman (Lib Dem)

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The Liberal Democrat Focus Team candidate for Strathmartine is Daniel Coleman, who lives in Downfield.

He is a Dundee final year law student and Dundee football referee, who has served the city as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament and Scotland as a member of the British Youth Select Committee.

Born in St Mary’s, Daniel attended Lawside Academy then St Paul’s Academy and currently Dundee University.

Daniel is well-known in the local area as editor of the Strathmartine Focus newsletter and says he has an impressive record of taking action on local problems. He believes councillors should keep in touch with local residents all year round.

 

Sinead Daly (Dundee Against Cuts/STUC)

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Sinead Daly lives in the Ardler area of the Strathmartine ward and works in a Dundee project that supports women who have experienced sexual violence.

As well as fighting against cuts and austerity, Sinead is also one of Dundee’s leading campaigners in opposition to violence against women.

Sinead was a Dundee organiser of the socialist campaign for independence during the 2014 independence referendum. As a member of the Unite trade union and Socialist Party Scotland, Sinead and Dundee Against Cuts are campaigning for investment in housing, jobs and services and for the election of councillors who will never vote for cuts.

Sinead said she stands for an independent socialist Scotland run in the interests of the majority not the bankers or the billionaires.

 

Stewart Hunter (SNP)

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Mr Hunter has represented the Strathmartine ward for a decade and is the current convener of the council’s children and family services committee, responsible for education and social work.

He said: “I graduated from university with a degree in European social policy and politics.

“Born and bred in Dundee, I worked for NCR for 10 years before becoming a councillor for Strathmartine ward in 2007.

“Married with two children I am convener of children and families which looks after all of the city’s education and children’s social work. I am also convener of the licensing committee.

“I am a member of various partnership bodies including Ardler Village Trust. If re-elected I will be proud to continue to serve Strathmartine ward to the best of my ability and for the benefit of my constituents.”

 

Kevin Keenan (Labour)

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I have been a local councillor representing the Strathmartine ward for over 15 years.

I am 58 years old and a family man, married with two daughters and three grandchildren. I am a mechanical engineer to trade and continue to work part-time keeping these skills relevant. I was brought up in Kirkton and have continued to live in the Strathmartine ward.

Over the last 15 years, it has been a privilege to represent the people of Strathmartine, working with individuals and many community groups from across the ward to make a difference.

I would like to thank both the individuals and the various community groups who have entrusted me to help resolve issues on their behalf.

I will continue to work hard to ensure public services are maintained within this area.

I remain committed to maintaining regular surgeries throughout the year where people can meet with me face-to-face to discuss their concerns and local issues.

 

Robert Lindsay (Conservative)

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Robert Lindsay is the Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate for the Strathmartine ward.

Mr Lindsay has worked in secondary education for 25 years and has teaching qualifications in business education, economics and guidance.

He also teaches and works with pupils with additional support needs.

He is very familiar with the Strathmartine ward as he stood in the area previously.

Mr Lindsay said he feels that Strathmartine “needs someone who will stand up for and put the local community first on the issues that affect everyone”.

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