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November 2009 AGM


Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council held in Seaview Hotel, John O’ Groats on Thursday 19 November 2009 at 7.30pm.
Present                                                       Apologies                               
John Green – Chair                                  Chris Hobson                       
Keith Muir - Treasurer                               David Bremner         
Irene Hendrie – Secretary                            
Eric Green
Carol Gunn HIE
Alex Macmanus – Ward Mangers Team
Mary Halley
Linda Norburn
Edith Farquhar
  1. John Green welcomed everyone to the meeting. 
  1. Minutes of the last meeting were adopted Proposed Eric Green
                                                               Seconded Keith Muir
  1. John O’ Groats development
Carol Gunn HIE gave a very positive update on progress at John O’ Groats following the master planning exercise. She had been contacted by several parties interested in moving into the area in retail, accommodation, food and drink as well as a visitor centre. The interest was mainly from businesses already operating in Caithness. The owners of the existing hotel were positive about the masterplan with an announcement expected towards the end of the first quarter of 2010. She had also met with various stakeholders including the existing businesses, North Highland Tourism, Highland Council and Visit Scotland. Signage for John O’ Groats could be improved and footpaths, the harbour area and an art installation were projects that could be started in the shorter term. Progress was very encouraging, particularly as the master plan had not yet been actively promoted to investors beyond Caithness. The chairman thanked her for attending and offered the support of the community council in developing the footpaths projects.
Eric Green suggested that it would be useful to have the history of John O’ Groats catalogued. It might help in the development of a visitor centre and could be a permanent display somewhere in the wider community.
Action Secretary to contact Prof James Hunter, The Centre for History, UHI, Dornoch.
  1. Chairman’s report
The chairman reported the main issues during the year as John O’ Groats masterplan, Auckengill Broch Centre, Marine Energy, Dunnet beach cleans and the John O’ Groats play park. Discussion had been held with RSPB, SNH, HIE and the Crown Estate. 
·         No amendments had been made to the proposed Special Protection Areas following consultation and they had been given the go ahead by the Scottish Minister.
·         The community council had secured funding to conduct a beach clean at Dunnet in the spring. 
·         Koreen MacDougall of Caithness Partnership has submitted an application to Go Play for £109,000 to create a new play park in John O’ Groats. The decision would be announced on 9 December 2009
·         The community council had funded the resurfacing of the car park at the Broch Centre with assistance from the Discretionary Fund.
 The public did not attend meetings in any great numbers apart from the Auckengill  community. Public engagement was always appreciated.
Action Chairman’s report to be posted on the website
  1. Play park and football pitch
If the Go Play application was successful work would need to be done immediately to further develop the proposed scheme. The adjoining football pitch was in a very poor state and was becoming unplayable in the opinion of local referees. The pitch was used regularly by teams in competition and for youth training. It was a valuable asset in the community. The community council could set up a community enterprise company and source funding to improve the pitch to an all weather facility.
  1. Treasurers report
The bank balance was £2,749.57 which included £750 granted by SNH for a beach clean in Dunnet in 2010. The only expenditure during the month had been a contribution to Mary Legg’s retirement gift.
  1. Village officers
The Dunnet forest trust had confirmed they would require £400 to strim paths and cut grass to encourage wild flowers. Keith Muir had spoken to Donald MacDonald with a view to getting the strip of grass opposite Canisbay shop levelled and re seeded. Keith volunteered to mow the grass. The area outside the Canisbay surgery had not been tarred and would benefit from being tidied up. It was used by the surgery and by hall users. It might be possible to have the ground tarred if Highland Council and the NHS would jointly fund the cost.
Action Secretary to forward time sheets to Forest Trust
             Alex Macmanus to enquire with roads                                           department re parking space at Canisbay                                            surgery
     Keith Muir to obtain quote for levelling verge etc
  1. Any other business
Residents in the Freswick and Tofts area were very concerned about the amount of poaching taking place in the community. They were particularly concerned that high powered rifles were being fired from vehicles on the A99 and Shepherd’s road.   This was happening regularly and often occurred in the late afternoon or early evening. Residents had contacted the police in the past but it had not been stopped.             
Action Secretary to write to Superintendent Julian  Innes                                      
Alex Macmanus to inform Community Safety                                group.
Caithness Community Care Forum
Volunteers were being recruited to deliver flu medication to people in remote areas who didn’t have family or friends nearby to help them. John Green and Rosemary Muir were volunteere Action Secretary to pass contact details to CCCF
Stroupster Wind Farm
A recent article and a letter in the local press had perhaps caused confusion about community representation on this important issue. John Green had attended the inquiry and gave evidence representing the community’s view on the application. The ballot had shown 61% of the community were against a wind farm at Stroupster.
Action Secretary to write to John O’ Groat Journal to                         inform community about representation at the inquiry
  1. Next meeting
The next meeting would be held on Thursday 10 December 2009 at 7.30 in Freswick hall

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