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June 2007


Minutes of the seventh Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council meeting held in the Auckengill Hall on Wednesday 14 June 2007 at 7.30pm.
Members Present                                                          
John Green – Chair                                                              
Chris Hobson - Vice Chair                                                    
Irene Hendrie – Secretary                                                                
Eric Green                                                      
William Sinclair                                               
Cllr Robert Coghill                                    
Chi Tak Chan – npower Renewables               
Harry Malyon – npower Renewables               
Miles Miller – npower Renewables               
Ronnie Macrae – HSCHT
Keith Muir
Sgt George Murray
Public Present                                                                                
14 members of the public attended
1          Minutes of the last meeting:  Proposed Eric Green;        Seconded Chris Hobson
2          Stroupster wind farm postal survey: John Green made it clear the meeting was to discuss the funding and framework of a survey and not to debate Stroupster wind farm. The community council had asked npower Renewables to fund a postal survey and would take a neutral stance until the outcome of a ballot was known. Harry Malyon of npower agreed in principal to funding a ballot if it were conducted by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) who could advise on including information along with the ballot papers. It was agreed the ballot would be sent to everyone over the age of 18 resident in the entire community council area. It would have three options - yes vote, no vote, or no opinion. There had been very little in the local press about the Stroupster application. The community council would contact the local paper to request equal coverage of both sides of the debate prior to the ballot. A public meeting could be held once the ballot had been concluded.
                  Action: JG to contact ERS and local press                                                                                                                                                                 
3          Affordable Housing: Ronnie Macrae presented a draft report on the outcome of the recent housing survey. A return rate of 20% was disappointing but the results were a starting point for future development. A working group could be set up to take the initiative forward.   An open surgery could be held and he would assist with a press release prior to the surgery.
4          Broadband: The secretary had received replies form HIE, John Thurso, Jamie Stone and BT regarding the upgrade of John O Groats exchange. An announcement would be made shortly on the next round of upgrades but it was unlikely that John O Groats would be included. A parliamentary question would be tabled in the next two weeks. 
5          Canisbay School: Graham Nichols, Area Education Manager declined an invitation to attend the meeting and in his letter did not address the lack of information given to parents regarding shortcomings in the HMI report. He stated an action plan had been drawn up and shared with staff and the school board. Canisbay does not have a school board and parents were unaware of any action plan. There was also concern that the recent decision to remove Canisbay from the cluster management arrangement had been taken without any consultation.
                              Action:      IH to write to Chief Executive and Director of  Education and copy to Robert Coghill
6          Any Other Business
·         Ward forums: Robert Coghill councillor for landward outlined the new council set up. Ward forums would be held regularly and the chairman and secretary of each community council would be invited to attend. Each ward would have a discretionary fund and community councils could request assistance for projects in their area. There was support in the meeting for the appointment of a civic head for Caithness.
·         Viking Museum, Auckengill: The museum had been closed for two years and funding was in place to refurbish the building. Work could not begin until artefacts were removed for storage. The management committee had been told this could only be done by a Highland council curator. The six month delay in arranging this was unacceptable.
                  Action: IH to write to Director of Education Culture and Sport
·         Mobile Post Office: The mobile post office had not been available for one week due the driver being ill and on another occasion due to a fault. A taxi had arrived but had only taken some users to the nearest post office. 
                  Action: IH to write to Postwatch
·         Grass cutting: Grass cutting on verges around Auckengill was poor and made the road unsafe for drivers and pedestrians. They were also overgrown by hemlock.
                  Action: IH to write to David Sutherland Ward Manager
·         Roads: Residents were concerned about speeding traffic through the village and on the unclassified road west of the village. The school minibus drove too fast for the road conditions. It was not known if the unclassified road had a name or road number.
                  Action: IH to write to Highland Council to raise issues and request a traffic survey. Minutes to be    copied to Sgt Murray
Next meeting Wednesday 11 July 2007 at 7.30 in Canisbay hall
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