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Minutes June 2017

Minutes of Meeting of the Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council

In the Village Hall, Mey

On the 26th June 2017 at 7.30 p.m.


1.1       Those Present           Eric Green, Chairman

                                                Bill Mowat, Vice Chairman

                                                Tom Meikle   

                                                Barbara Hiddleston, Secretary

                                                Cllr.Willie MacKay

                                                2 Members of the Public were in attendance


1.2       Apologies. Apologies were received from Ann Shearer.

2          Minutes of Previous Meeting held 22nd May 2017.

2.1       Eric Green proposed the Minutes of the previous meeting to be accepted, which was seconded by Tom Meikle; duly adopted.

3.         Matters Arising.

3.         Change of Boundaries.

3.1.1    It would appear, so far, the change of boundaries has not affected our Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council.     

3.1.2.   On being asked if a change should happen and we are incorporated into another Community Council, what would happen to the Stroupster Wind Farm Community Fund.  Eric Green gave an assurance that there was a process in place that had been written into the Agreement of Understanding Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council had with Foundation Scotland who managed the Fund.   

3.2.1    Bus Timetables. Bill Mowat had attended the Caithness Bus users Group, and wished to confirm that the D & E coaches have a licence to carry ordinary passengers during the Summer Holidays. He also pointed out the Caithness Rural Transport provides a sterling service. After discussion it was agreed that to highlight this, it should be put onto our Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council Facebook, which Eric Green agreed to do.                                                                      Action Eric

3.2.2    After much debate on the pros and cons regarding the deteriorating bus services, it was generally agreed that we have done all we can to raise the issues. 

3.2.3    Cllr. MacKay did say that Stagecoach had been approached to provide a bus service from Wick town centre to the Library and the Swimming Pool which had now moved into the new school.  This move had unsurprisedly proved disastrous for the Library as the number of users, particularly of the elderly, had fallen drastically.  As this requires permission from the Scottish Government, Stagecoach have reluctantly agreed to make enquiries, but it could take some time.

3.3       Defibrillator. The defibrillator was awaiting delivery.   

3.4       Flooding in Mey. Tom Meikle was pleased to report that action had finally taken place.  Highland             Council came out to investigate, and following where the flooding was taking place, it was          discovered that the drains connected to the house next to his son’s had been badly damaged when   connected to the drainage system of the new housing scheme across the road.  It was now up to the builders to have them repaired. Highland Council should pursue this to ensure the work is   carried out as quickly as possible, and Eric Green agreed to continue to put pressure on the Ward Manager if required.                                                                                Action Eric

3.5       Broadband issue.  This matter was ongoing.  

3.6       Possible visit by Cyril Annal, Crofter’s Commissioner for Caithness & Orkney. It was agreed that Barbara Hiddleston would contact Mr. Annal to attend one of our meetings that would suit him best.  After discussion, it was also agreed that the meeting would be held at Seaview Hotel for suitability which ever month was chosen.  Action Barbara

3.7       Support for 20 mph default national speed limit. Eric Green confirmed he had responded to this Consultation.

3.8       Forms at Recycling Centres.  Eric Green also confirmed that the required forms which were available on line and at services was now available at Wick Recycling Centre.  Barbara Hiddleston agreed to find out if they were also available at Janet Street Recycling Centre, Thurso.                                                                                  Action Barbara

3.9       Letter of Support for the Caithness Broch Centre.  This had been duly sent.

3.10     Lidar Mapping. There didn’t appear to be any Mapping over John O’Groats but there are aerial photos available.

4.         Treasurer’s Report.

4.1       Eric Green gave notice of the resignation of Chris Hobson as Treasurer, who was leaving the County at the end of July.  After discussion, it was agreed by all those present that a letter should   be written to Chris thanking him for the good work, advice and opinion he had carried out since the beginning of Community Councils, as he was a founding member.       Action Eric & Barbara

4.2       The Balance stood at £723.18.  £450 was ring-fenced for our contribution towards the     Defibrillator, leaving the sum available of £273.18.

4.3       Barbara Hiddleston reminded those present she had sent an email to them proposing she organise  three grass cuttings at Nybster Broch, which we do each year, which was seconded by Bill Mowat, costing around £250; ring fencing this amount leaves £23.18 balance.

4.4.      She also reported we had received the Annual Grant cheque from Highland Council of £1284.44 which she had acknowledged. 

4.5.1    Eric Green then asked for a volunteer to become the next Treasurer. On being asked, Tom Meikle indicated that he would be willing.   Barbara Hiddleston then proposed Tom Meikle, which was seconded by Bill Mowat. 

4.5.2    The Annual Grant Cheque, the cheque book, along with the records from 2015-2017 and ongoing, were handed over to him.  This included a required bank form to change the name. To enable it to be complete, this Minute would be required as evidence.  The records of previous years held by Chris are now held by Barbara Hiddleston.

 5.        Chairman’s Report

5.1       Eric Green brought to the attention of those present that there had been events organised for the  public by Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd. regarding Phase 3 (2018 to Interim End State) of their decommissioning programme to provide public feedback.  Although the dates had passed, we shall be able to give feedback when their planning application is submitted in late 2017.  Any queries to be made to June.love@dounreay.com

5.2       Merchant Navy Day to be held on 3rd September this year, is an annual event to honour the men and woman who served in the Merchant Navy during World War I and II.  Anyone can fly the Red Ensign that day.  Further information on how to take part can be obtained from https://merchantnavyfund.org.  Eric Green proposed to put this onto Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council Facebook.                                         Action Eric

5.3       SiMBA Charity request. Henry Gunn, who was present, reported he had land which he understood would a suitable for a Memory Garden, which would have a metal Tree of Tranquillity placed within it. After much discussion it was agreed it could be Community Council led project and any necessary funding could be obtained when required. Eric Green proposed we pursued this which was  unanimously seconded.   www.simbacharity.org           (Sent email message 27th June 2017 )                                                                                                                                                          Action Barbara

5.4       MSP Ed Mountain proposed visit.  Eric Green had received a letter from our Highlands and Islands Member of the Scottish Parliament asking if he could attend one of our meetings and proposed he replied welcoming the idea and settle a date, which was seconded by Bill Mowat.            Action Eric

5.5       Eric Green expressed concern that Bill Mowat had attended the Ferries Review Pentland Firth representing both the Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council, and Gills Harbour Ltd as he could be compromised and suggested Bill ensures he has our Mandate to represent us to protect him.

6.         Secretary’s Report.

6.1       Barbara Hiddleston read out a letter from Scottish Community Development Centre who is currently working with What Works Scotland with support from Scottish Government to explore how Community Councils can be even more relevant in Scotland’s evolving policy context. Their first meeting is to be held end July/beginning of August, to which Community Councillors are invited.  Eric Green agreed to have his name put down, which Barbara Hiddleston will put forward to paul.nelis@scdc.org.uk before the end of June.      

Action Barbara

7.         Planning. These had been noted.

8.         Highland Council Report. 

8.1       Cllr. MacKay enquired if we had received a monthly Police Report. Eric Green replied we had not received one recently. But that we were all aware of how short staffed they are and understood the knock-on effect of not supplying regular reports.  He felt we had a good relationship with the Police, and if we had any issues, we could ask them to attend. Cllr. MacKay suggested we contact Nick Clasper, the local Area Inspector to ask for a report                                            Action Barbara

8.2     He also said there was a meeting to be held in the Castle of Mey Tearooms on Friday 30th June 2017 held by the Chamber of Commerce, for local Businesses on how best to make use of the North Coast 500 Route. If interested, David Swanson, Naver House, Thurso was the contact for an invitation. 

9.         A.O.B.

9.1.      Report on the recent Caithness Transport Forum given by Tom Meikle

9.1.1    The Kilminster Moss Road will be closed in September for 3 weeks for resurfacing and an alternative route for the bus service was being considered. 

9.1.2    Serco North Link Ferries who manage and operate The Orkney Ferry Service on behalf of the Scottish Government, will be extended until next year.

9.1.3    They reported that the effect of the North Coast 500 that the cars and motorhomes numbers are up by 12%, but freight was down by 1%.

9.1.4    A proposal to introduce an overnight sleeper to London was discussed, but it seemed highly unlikely that this would materialise.

9.1.5    Direct Rail, the long range freight, has had no takers from the commercial side. 

9.1.6    Flybe and Easter Lines are due to be working together, which could have a detrimental effect on flight services.

9.1.7.   Overall it would appear that public transport for Caithness has gone downhill over the past two years.   

9.2       First & Last House Museum Artefacts & Natural Retreats

9.2.1    Bill Mowat read a letter out from Natural Retreats regarding using the old Museum as a Visitor Centre and they intimated they intend to incorporate the artefacts from the Museum.  These artefacts are held in a steel storage container by Colin MacKenzie, Removals and Storage, Upper Thrumster.   This suggestion has been put forward for several years, with no definite date in sight. After discussion concern was raised regarding the state of these artefacts, so it was agreed that a letter be written to Natural Retreats asking for information on their condition.    

Action Barbara

10.       Date of Next Meeting.  The dates for the next three months were then agreed. 

Monday 28th August 2017 In St. Clare Village Hall, Aukengill.  

Monday 25th September 2017 in Freswick Village Hall,

Monday 23rd October and 27th November in Canisbay Village Hall.

The location would be decided depending on our speakers







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