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Minutes Sep 2016

Minutes of Meeting of the Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council

Held in St Clare’s Hall, Aukengill

on Monday 19th September 2016 at 7.30 p.m.


Those Present:           Eric Green, Chairman

                                    Bill Mowat, Vice Chairman

                                    Chris Hobson, Treasurer

                                    Barbara Hiddleston, Secretary

                                    Tom Meikle

                                    Cllr. Matthew Reiss

                                    4 Members of the public were in attendance

Apologies:      Apologies were received from Ann Shearer.

Frances Calder, the village hall Secretary, warmly welcomed all those present to the Hall, particularly noting the new seats which they had bought through funding from the Greencoat’s Stroupster Community Windfarm, to which she was thanked by the Chairman. 


1.  Report by Cllr. Reiss. Cllr. Reiss gave his report at the beginning of the meeting as he was due at another currently being held in Wick.

1.1       Flooding in Mey and Scarsferry. He had reported to Graham McKenzie, the Roads Operational   Manager, that his solution in the form of small scale defences of Perspex seal sheet units was not   the answer and awaited further action.                                     Action Cllr Reiss

1.2       Signs at to Dunnet Head and Nybster BrochThese signs had been ordered, and did not contain Gaelic wording.

1.3       Public Liability for the use of the Shore Path between John O’Groats and the Shell Beach.  Cllr.Reiss reported he had contacted the Highland Council Solicitor regarding this matter, but it was such a grey area no satisfactory answer was given.

1.4       Tyres at John O’Groats.  He also reported that the tyres filled with concrete were no longer at John O’Groats. 

1.5       CaS  Local Development Plan.  He gave a copy of the updated proposed plan to Bill Mowat and confirmed that the proposals put forward by him on behalf the D & C Community Council had been given consideration and included. Particularly noted was the field for industrial use in Mey in relation to the MeyGen project.   

1.6       SSE Road Repair works. The damaged roads at Watten caused by SSE had not been satisfactorily repaired , but it was being attend to.

1.7       Boundaries Commission.  He reported Caithness would be changing its Boundaries brought about by the 5th Electoral Review. The County will be reduced to two wards, and will divide the County into Thurso & Northwest Caithness, and Wick & East Caithness, with the Landward Ward disappearing and the number of Councillors will fall by 2 to 8.   It had been generally agreed that it was badly divided. This included the division of the boundaries not matching that of schools to their            relevant Parish.  Clllr. McKay was taking up this matter.    

1.8       The question arose by a member of the public present if the Jet Patcher, which is on lease, was still in use in the County as it looked as if part of the road near Aukengill had been missed. Cllr. Reiss   was at a loss to understand why this had happened, but did explain that the Jet Patcher is used in each area for an allotted time. On a more positive note he reported that the Highland Council were going to buy one which would deliver a permanent source of road mending, and it would be shared with Sutherland.

1.9.1    The issue of recycling in a landfill site was then raised by Tom Meikle.  Where could batteries and light bulbs be recycled, also would his truck be viewed as a ‘Commercial Vehicle’ which would require form filling? 

1.9.2    It was pointed out that Seater Landfill Site was closed to the public for the next year, and any recycling material could only be taken to the centre in Janetstown, Thurso or to Wick. The Secretary agreed to make enquiries on both counts, and keep him informed.               Action Barbara

1.10     The Chairman thanked Cllr. Reiss for attending, who apologised for having to leave so soon and left for his next meeting.

2.         Minutes of Previous Meeting

2.1       Bill Mowat pointed out that in Item 7.3 the Beacon on Stroma promontory had not yet been lit. Once this correction was noted, he proposed the Minutes of the previous Meeting held on 22nd August 2016 be accepted, which was seconded by Eric Green. 

3.         Matters Arising 

3.1       Bill Mowat had written to Karenza Sudd thanking her for her civic action in her beach clean, and proposed that she be invited to the next Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council Meeting as she requested to meeting the members which was seconded by Eric Green     Action Barbara

3.2       Eric Green reported that matter of the broken Post at the Kissing Gate at Duncansby Head was in hand.                                                                 Action Eric.  

3.3       Broadband Connection. Eric Green reported that a representative from Community Broad Scotland wished to attend our next meeting, which was received with great interest. Once the date and   place was confirmed and the meeting set up, it would be widely advertised. Action Eric

3.4       Application from Village Officer Funds. Applications had been made from both Dunnet & Aukengill, which was being attended to.                                                           Action Barbara   

3.5       Lochend Windfarm, query re Community Fund.  The Secretary reported enquires had been made to Foundation Scotland regarding this matter, who had had no response to their queries. This is a small windfarm of 4 turbines, owned by Wind Harvest. As community benefits are not compulsory from a windfarm company, it could be that it is too small to give out money.  Further enquires are being       made.                                                                                                                        Action Barbara           

3.6       Highland Self Build Loans.  Eric Green was to put this information onto our Face Book page.                                                                                                          Action Eric

3.7.1    New disabled access on Dunnet Head.  The Secretary reported she had queried Alex MacManus at the Association of Community Councillors Committee Meeting (A.C.C.C) regarding the matter of ambulance accessibility, and after discussion at that meeting it was reported that in the event of an accident beyond the locked gates, it would be suitable that a stretcher could be used. 

3.7.2    This proposed action was vehemently opposed by a member of the public. After much discussion, it was agreed a report with photographs would be drawn up by the  said member of public, who   would be in touch with Cllr. Reiss regarding this matter. 

3.8       Edward Patterson & Pilots of Pentland Firth Proposed Commemoration.  This matter was in hand.                                                                                               Action Bill

4.         Chairman’s Report.  – There was nothing to report.

5.         Treasurer’s Report. The Treasurer reported that the current balance stood at £1,608.18.

6.         Secretary’s Report. 

6.1       Meeting for ideas for use of Stroupster Windfarm Community Benefit Fund. Eric Green proposed this be brought up at the next meeting when the Community Broadband issue would be discussed which would bring it to a wider audience.

6.2       Chairman of Mary Anne’s Cottage, Dunnet request for funding.  The Secretary had received a request   for £250 to pay towards new booklets on Mary Anne’s Cottage.  After discussion Barbara Hiddleston proposed that we paid her the funding, which was seconded by Eric Green. Action Chris & Barbara

6.3       Greenspace.  Bags of Help.  She then informed those present about funding available from the sale of plastic shopping bags. This was a fund available to improve or create a greenspace for a play area such as a football pitch, information available on http://greenspacescotland.org.uk

6.4       She then asked about the legality of dumping of grass cuttings across the road from the occupiers of houses in a street in Dunnet. After discussion it was agreed that this question should be taken to Alex MacManus, the Ward Manager.                             Action Barbara

6.5       Helen McKay who works in Caithness Volunteer Group under Niall Smith, the Director, who is leaving in October, had asked if we would like to donate to his retiral present.  After discussion, it was unanimously agreed to send £30.                              Action Chris  

6.6       The Secretary reported that Stacks Bistro, John O’Groats,  had applied for a Licence to sell alcohol,  and Castle Arms Hotel, Mey, who was now under new management, had applied to restore its licencing hours. Both applicants were given support by all those present.

6.7.      The issue of using a generic email address for the Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council was raised as it had been asked by the A.C.C.C if we would reconsider our decision made at a previous meeting.  After discussion, it was generally agreed that we would stick to using the Secretary’s email as a contact address. Our decision would be duly passed on.  Action Barbara

7.         Planning – Weekly Report.  This was noted.

8.         AOB

8.1       Frances Calder passed over the bill for renting the hall.  She also made a request for funding for their annual Hallow’een party that they received last year.  Barbara Hiddleston proposed this application be accepted, which was seconded by Eric Green.                 Action Chris

8.2       She also raised the issue of the post box in Aukengill which is situated on a commercial site that is  no longer in use.  There had been a Community request that the post box be moved to the grounds of the village hall, as when the house is sold, it could be removed.  The Secretary agreed to investigate this matter.                              Action Barbara

8.3       Earlier Frances Calder had brought up the subject of selling the cinema seats held in their village hall.  Bill Mowat informed her Eann Sinclair, HIE, could perhaps assist in them in finding an interested party.  Bill Mowat agreed to find his contact number, and let her know. Action Bill

8.4       Bill Mowat brought up the subject of the use of the heat source, a side product from the underwater turbines from the MeyGen project.  After discussion, it was agreed that this was a government issue, and the matter should be raised with our MSP Gail Ross, which Bill Mowat & Eric Green agreed to attend to.                                 Action Eric & Bill

8.5       Bill Mowat then reported on the launching of the first Turbine at Nigg, unveiled by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at an event at which he was a guest and it was blessed by our local minister, Rev. Lyall Rennie. This will be brought up by sea to the Inner Sound at Mey where it will be installed along with three others hopefully by the end of December. It is intended that electricity will be produced by next March.

8.6       The matter of the possible removal of the Telephone Kiosk in Dunnet was then raised.  The local member made a plea that if this removed, it would a great loss to the village.  As nothing was known about the logistics of Telephone Kiosks, the Secretary agreed to find out.  Action Barbara

9.         Date of Next Meeting. To be held on Monday 31st h October 2016 at Canisbay Hall, Canisbay at 7.30 p.m.

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