Another in my series of little snapshots of my friends who are standing for election this week.
Next up is Tony Martin, who's standing for the Dunfermline South ward in Fife. I first got to know Tony in the run up to Willie Rennie's 2006 famous by-election victory. It was thanks to him and his four colleagues on Fife Council that we had a strong local government base to build on which enabled us to win the by-election. His hard work and the respect he'd won from local people since 1992 when he was first elected was really important.
He's a diligent, hard working councillor who's well known in his ward. He has been in charge of environment and transport on Fife Council since 2007 which means he's had to deal with the challenges of two of the harshest Winters in living memory. In 2006, everyone complained bitterly about the introduction of recycling and rates across Fife were very low, only 33% or so. Now they're 55%, second only in the whole of the UK to Birmingham. Reducing the use of landfill waste sites benefits everybody.
In his ward, he's been working with BT to try to get them to improve broadband speeds and helping residents with concerns with property factors. He's worked with the parents at Canmore Primary School to secure a zebra crossing to improve road safety and Pitcorthie Drive will be resurfaced in the near future. Schoolchildren in part of his ward will benefit from the new Dunfermline High School, a long time priority of the Dunfermline Liberal Democrats, now a reality.
His ward was the centre of the difficulties over schooling. The previous administration had sold the land for a third primary school in the Eastern Expansion for housing development, a mess that the Council had to sort out. It meant that some children had to be bussed to Inverkeithing for a couple of years, but the new Carnegie Primary School was completed on time and on budget and is one of greenest schools in the country.
I've spent a fair bit of time tramping the streets in Tony's ward recently and one thing that's immediately noticeable is how much better it looks than it did in 2005/6 - new and better housing, more affordable housing. There's more of a community feel to it, too. A lot of changes Tony has been working towards for years are coming together and the improvement is clear.
So, if you live in Abbeyview, or Pitcorthie or the Eastern Expansion in Dunfermline, please go and give Tony your first preference tomorrow.