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Minutes Jan 2017

Minutes of Meeting of the Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council

In Seaview Hotel, John O’Groats

on Monday 23rd January 2017 at 7.30 p.m.

1          Those Present:           Eric Green, Chairman

                                                Bill Mowat, Vice Chairman

                                                Chris Hobson, Treasurer

                                                Barbara Hiddleston, Secretary

                                                Tom Meikle

                                                Ann Shearer

                                                Cllr. Matthew Reiss

                                                2 Members of the public were in attendance

2          Minutes of Previous Meeting held on 12th December 2016.

2.1       Eric Green proposed the Minutes of the previous meeting to be accepted, which was seconded by Ann Shearer.

3.         Matters Arising from the Meeting 31st October 2016

3.1       Scottish Natural Heritage (NHS) presentation on the proposed Special Protected Areas (pSPA).

             Eric Green reported that he had put in an objection to the on behalf of the Dunnet & Community Council to the proposed SNH  pSPA.  After discussion, it was generally agreed that a copy of his objections should be sent to our MP and MSP and also to Orkney Island Council.  Action Eric           

3.2       As the last meeting was entirely taken over by the NHS presentation on pSPA  time had run out to discuss normal business of the Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council, this meeting would continue by taking business from the meeting held          before on 31st October 2016             

3.3.1    Redesign for Community Action Event Eric Green also reported he had attended ‘Redesign for Community Action Event’ that took place on 11th November in Smithton, Inverness which was hosted by Inverness Chamber of Commerce through the Highland Third Sector Interface. About 80 people attended, made up of Highland Councillors, Community Councillors, public agencies, Scottish Government and community organisation from across the region attended.

3.3.2    The aim of the event was to find a way to help shape the Highland Council’s approach to supporting more Community action as set down in the Community Empowerment Act by giving those present the opportunity to air their views. 

3.3.3    The Community Empowerment Act 2015 comes into force from the end of Jan 2017.  Its aim is to broaden involvement of community bodies in community planning; support ownership of assets; more involvement of the public in decision-making-in resource allocation, new participation requests and consulting on common good funds.

3.3.4    Eric Green had circulated the Feedback from this meeting which was sent by the Convenor. In this, amongst others it was proposed that a single point of contact to help community bodies was to create a Community Gateway. Details of the report can be found on the www.highland.gov.uk/redesign for Community Action Event.

3.3.5    He felt that there was a lack of momentum from the Highland Council and that the proposed 4% cuts were biting very deep into provision of all the core services

3.4.1    Bus Timetables. The changes in the Winter Bus Timetable were proving to be disastrous - for example

            1. The bus to Gills Harbour to catch the ferry to Orkney leaves 5 Minutes before the bus arrives from Inverness, and other bus services to Gills had been cut.  

            2. The morning service bus to Wick which provided transport for people going to work, to attend hospital and doctor’s appointments no longer exists. Previously Stagecoach provided the morning School Bus which was for use as a service for all.  Highland Council now provided a private bus service only for the exclusive use of the School Children, leaving the public without Bus transport until later in the morning.

            3. Also children who have to stay on at school in Wick after school hours are no longer issued with a school bus pass for use on the service bus, and no reason had been given for this action.

3.4.2    After discussion it would appear that Highland Council are saving money at the cost of providing a public service in a rural area, because the private bus service did not run during the school holidays.

3.4.3    Tom Meikle said he had attended the public meetings regarding the Bus Timetables, and understood that the Highland Council were not interested and not listening to the needs of the people.

3.4.4    This caused a debate on this situation could be improved.  Cllr. Reiss agreed to approach the Highland Council, and asked for an email to be sent to him explaining the situation and emphasising the need to provide a better service in such a remote area which Eric Green agreed to do.                                                                              Action Cllr Reiss & Eric

3.4.5    After further discussions a suggestion was put forward that the Community could get together to buy a community bus and apply for funds from the Stropster Community Fund. It was agreed to add this to the next meeting’s Agenda, and advertise it as a main topic. Meanwhile investigation would need to be carried out to forward this idea.

3.5       Fibulator. Eric Green reminded those present that we had agreed to fund £450 towards the fibulators for John O’Groats and to ring-fence this sum.

3.6.      Flooding in Mey.  Tom Meikle reminded Cllr. Riess nothing as yet had been done, and that the   house in Mey was flooded again through the sewage tank.     Action Cllr Reiss.

4.         Treasurer’s Report. Chris Hobson reported the balance in the D & C CC was £750.

5.         Secretary’s Report. 

5.1       Barbara Hiddleston reported that he Highland Council were not adopting the improvement of the enlarged turning area in Barrock.  After discussion, she agreed to ask the Ward Manager why they had refused.                                                                        Action Barbara

6.         Planning. These had been noted.

7.         Highland Council Report.

7.1       Cllr Reiss said the Council Leader, himself and other Independent Councillors were continuing to press for the local control room of the Fire and Police to be retained.  

7.2.      The Highland Council will fix the budget on February 16th.

7.3       On asking who had objected to the erection of the electricity pylons from Gills Bay by Bill Mowat as  the cost would be added to our bills, Cllr. Reiss said backed by him, Cllr. Coghill  had, on the grounds that the cables should be laid underground as had happened over in the East of the County.

8.         A.O.B

8.1       Broadband issue.  Barbara Hiddleston asked if there was any progress regarding setting up a Community Broadband Scheme.

8.2.      Eric Green replied saying that the Sarah Marshall, Adviser of Community Broadband Scotland, was  investigating the matter to see if the funding announced by the Scottish Government to provide service to rural areas would cover John O’Groats.

8.3       Gills Bay. Bill Mowat informed those present that the ship just off Gills Bay was the Olympic Ares.  She is working for Atlantis Resources Lt. installing the third (out of four in Phase 1A) tidal stream turbine. She will be returning to do the installation + 'hook up' of the fourth turbine during an early neap (locally 'dead') tide. She is operated by Bibby Offshore of Liverpool who have an Aberdeen base. Atlantis are going right ahead with Phase 1B, also of four 1.5 MW tidal turbines, that its managers anticipate will be installed in Inner Sound by early next year 2018.

9.         Date of Next Meeting. The date of the next meeting is Monday 20th February 2017 in the Village Hall in Freswick at 7.30 p.m.


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