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Minutes April 2016

Minutes of Meeting of the Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council

Held in Village Hall, Freswick on Monday 25th April 2016 at 7.30 p.m.

Those Present:           Eric Green, Chairman

                                    Bill Mowat, Vice Chairman

                                    Tom Meikle

                                    Barbara Hiddleston, Secretary

                                    Cllr. Gillian Coghill

Apologies:      Apologies were received from Ann Shearer. Chris Hobson and Jim Munro, Police Community Liaison officer

1. Minutes of Previous Meeting 21st March 2016

1.1.      Eric Green proposed the Minutes of previous meeting held on 21st March 2016 be accepted, which was seconded by Tom Meikle.

2.  Matters Arising.

2.1.1    Broadband Connections.  Eric Green reported that he had a successful meeting with Sarah Marshall,  Area Advisor for Caithness & Sutherland of the Highlands & Islands Enterprise which is the lead delivery partner of the national programme of the Digital Scotland Community Broadband Scotland.   This is an initiative to help kick start community led broadband projects in rural communities. 

2.1.2.   As there is an excellent possibility that Dunnet & Canisbay Community is a contender to apply for setting up our own Community Broadband Network which would give our community a much needed wider broadband access. It is intended that Sarah Marshall would be in agreement to attend our next Community Council Meeting to advise us on this project.

2.1.3    Eric Green proposed that he asked Sarah Marshall to attend which was unanimously agreed.                                                                                                   Action Eric

2.1.4    The date and place for our next Community Council Meeting on Monday 23rd May 2016 in St. Clare Hall, Aukengill at 7.30 p.m.                                                       Action Barbara

2.1.5    The success of this project much depends on the community support. So it is important that as many people as possible attend.  It was agreed that it would advertised by poster, be put onto our website and highlighted on our FaceBook page which as yet is to be confirmed. 

2.2.1    Flooding in Mey and ScarsferryCllr Coghill reported that she had taken this matter up and had been informed that due to staff cuts, further action had not been taken.  She suggested that Tom Meikle, who had reported the flooding in Mey, email her the relevant photographs, and she would continue to pursue it.                                                                                                             Action Cllr. Coghill & Tom

2.2.2.     Eric Green suggested that Tom Meikle could put the photographs of the flooding in Mey could be put on to  our FaceBook                                                                                                                                            Action Tom

2.3.      Sign for Mey House, East Mey.  Tom Meikle then reported he had received complaints about the height at which the sign for this B & B which was obscuring vision of oncoming traffic.  Cllr Coghill asked if Tom Meikle would include information on this in the same email, and she would pursue this as well.                                                                                                  Action Cllr. Coghill & Tom

2.4.1      Shell Beach Road repair.  A quote from Barrock Small Plant Hire had been circulated by Eric Green earlier to the other Dunnet & Canisbay Community Councillors for approval, which they had accepted. As the work had been completed, he produced the final bill of £525.40 for payment which he gave to the Secretary to pass onto the Treasurer for payment. This was for Labour, Mileage, cart hard core, spread hard core 1” down of approximately 12 tons and renewal of side drain                                                                                                                                       Action Barbara & Chris

2.4.2.   Cllr. Coghill commented that it was gratifying that a local contractor had been used to carry out a local job.

2.5.      St. Magnus’ 800th Celebrations, 2017.  This matter was not raised.

2.6       Promoting Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council using social media.  Eric Green reported that the FaceBook page had been launched and it was creating interest.                                                    

2.7       Broch Sign at Nybster.   Cllr. Coghill had taken up the matter of the Broch sign with Alex MacManus, who had agreed to take action.

2.8.      Caithness Volunteer Group Subscription.  This had been paid.  

3.         Chairman’s Report. There was nothing to report.

4.         Treasurer’s Report. The Secretary reported that the balance on 30th March 2016 stood at  £1902.85, and the cheque of £30 for the A. C.C. C levy had not as yet been presented. 

5.         Secretary’s Report.  All the relevant information had been circulated.

6.         Planning – Weekly Report.  This was noted.

7.         Damaged Shore Path between John O’Groats and the Shelly Beach. Eric Green reported he had twice tried to contact Matt Dent, the Paths Officer, and as yet had no reply in spite of reassurances his calls would be returned. After discussion, it was agreed that in the event of being unsuccessful again, he would contact the Chief Executive to gain a response.         Action Eric

8.1       CaS  Local Development Plan. Cllr. Coghill informed the Members           that this had been subject of a recent meeting, at which after much discussion it had been put forward by the Local Highland Councillors that Malcolm MacLeod, Head of Development Planning for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross had not listened to local views put forward in the consultation.  As a result, it had been agreed that the Plan would be taken back for re-consultation and she agreed to continue to pursue this matter.                                                                                                                  Action Cllr.Coghill

8.2.      After a short debate, it was noted that those present were relieved of this outcome as it was generally felt that our views had been completely ignored.                            

9.         A.O.B

9.1.1    Condition of Caithness Roads.  This issue had been raised by many residents of Caithness, and taken      up by the Landward Councillors and that it had been generally agreed that the bad condition of the roads within the County is unprecedented and is a disgrace to the Highland Council and could have a   detrimental effect on the Tourists’ experience in Caithness.

9.1.2.   Eric Green reported it had been noted that between John O’Groats and Wick there were 109 potholes. The method in use of cold tar quick fix pothole repair, which is no doubt cheaper, is not a fix that lasts, as the potholes quickly return so it is considered to simply be a waste of money.

9.1.3.   Much discussion arose, where several examples were given of bad and dangerous road surfaces. Also included was the road widening repair to the Keiss Road, which seems to have taken an excessive amount of time to complete. It was felt the quality of the work was inferior, and the finish was poor considering the time and astronomical cost of the project. 

9.1.4.   Finally it was agreed that Eric Green would draft a letter to William Gilfillan, Director of Community Services regarding these issues and circulate it to our Community Council members for approval before sending it.                                                                                                                    Action Eric

9.2.      Beacon on Warth Hill: HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday. Bill Mowat wished it to be recorded that  tradition had been broken as there was no beacon lit on Warth Hill to mark HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday. But it was pointed out that whilst it was indeed a great achievement and exceptional for a reigning monarch to reach this great age, there was no tradition in celebrating birthdays, more in monarch reigning attainments.

10.       Highland Council Updates

10.1.    Cllr. Coghill informed those present that the Caithness Committee had now been convened with Roger Saxon as Chairman. 

10.2.1  She also announced that this was her last attendance at our Community Council as her period with our Community Council ends at the beginning of May, and she will be replaced by Cllr. Matthew Reiss.

10.2.2.Eric Green took this opportunity to thank Cllr. Coghill for her  regular attendance, support, advice and prompt action on the many issues raised by our Community Council, and wished her well to which those present fully agreed.             

11.  Date of Next Meeting. To be held on Monday 23rd May 2016 in St. Clare Hall, Aukengill at 7.30 p.m.

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