I BET Julien Parrott set the cat among the pigeons with his views on Torbay's drugs problems. The Torbay Council chairman last week called for tougher ways of tackling the sensitive issue of drug addicts.
Cllr Parrott reckons 500 'problem addicts' are costing taxpayers an estimated £2million in treatment and support.
He raised concerns over what he called a 'cycle of dependency' of users and those who care for them.
He insisted it was not working and said a hard-hitting regime of abstinence was needed to break that cycle — which would actually do more to help those sadly hooked on drugs.
Cllr Parrott has never been backward in coming forward with his sometimes strident views.
And he just may have a point.
But solving Torbay's drugs problem is a huge challenge. Will it ever be accomplished?
One thing is for sure some big and brave decisions are going to have to be made if we are ever going to improve things.
And that, surely, must include looking at the Castle Circus end of Torquay town centre.
As I have said before in this column, the kind of people we are talking about here are very vulnerable and need all our help. That's why it is such a delicate subject.
But having services supporting them in such close proximity is the 'perfect storm — not my words — and just has to be addressed.
Where else would you have a homeless hostel, drink and drugs rehab centre, Job Centre and chemist at the top end of what should be a bustling town centre?
Not good planning, to say the least.
There were plans to move the chemist up the road to the former B and Q building in Torre complete with a new GP surgery and affordable housing. But that ain't happening.
Plans are still live for a supermarket development on the current Town Hall car park which would improve the footfall and the feel and ambience of the top end of town. But that may still be a way off.
There was also talk of a 'vision' for a large regeneration scheme around the back of Union Street in Temperance Street which, again, would dramatically improve the shopping scene and offer. But that ain't happening soon either.
Torbay deputy mayor Dave Thomas describes the Castle Circus mix as the 'perfect storm'
He reveals: "We have tried to bring forward the former B and Q site for affordable housing and a GP surgery on the corner. There may have been a pharmacy relocated there as well.
"It would have started to break up the perfect storm. But there was a massive opposition to the pharmacy being included in the proposal.
"Unfortunately, the surgery that was going to come on board cannot fund it at the moment. We are having to look at it in another way."
The Town Hall car park scheme is still very much on the cards.
Cllr Thomas says: "The Town Hall scheme will change the whole top end of the town area. It will revitalise that area.
"It will encourage people to park and do their food shopping and will encourage more people there.
"It is things like that that become game changers."
He says the Temperance Street project is still an 'ambition'.
"I have spoken to one developer who was quite keen to do something but he felt the timing was not good financially for them," said Cllr Thomas.
"It is still on the radar but I cannot give an assurance that it will move forward in the next five years."
'Game changers' are certainly what is needed if Torquay town centre is to ever get back on its feet.
YOU can never accuse Richard Kaskow of not trying. The vice-chairman of the Paignton Town Community Partnership is always doing his bit to further the fortunes of the town. Beach tennis has been one of his latest aspirations.
He has been in touch with the Lawn Tennis Association to see if the town can host a competition or two.
He was prompted to get in touch after watching some beach tennis action on TV.
He told the LTA: "Just watched a clip on the BBC re beach tennis and wondered if there is any funding and support provided by the LTA for the equipment needed."
He went on to explain: "We are a community partnership in Paignton and have a great family beach. We have recently got £500,000 and built a Geoplay park on the front which attracts thousands of young children — a serious captive audience. We could do something very special here indeed working with the LTA."
Richard has been trying to get something off the ground for this summer. He told the LTA: "I could pull in help from local tennis clubs and all done on a voluntary basis.
"There is another tennis connection with Paignton with it being the home town of Sue Barker. My brother, Chris Kaskow, trained with her everyday as a youngster.
"He won two U18 British titles and also played in Junior Wimbledon, World Juniors and Men's Doubles but now lives in America.
"Another Torquay player, Mike Sangster, reached the Wimbledon semi-finals many years ago."
The LTA said the summer was already planned but added: "As you have seen, beach tennis is a fun and easy sport to play — particularly appealing to families.
"The sport in this country is still in its infancy, but this summer there have been a number of successful events already — mainly around Brighton and London areas."
The national LTA has now put Richard in touch with the local tennis development manager. Watch this space.