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Minutes May 2018

Minutes of the Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council


St. Clair Village Hall, Auckengill


21 May 2018 at 7.30pm


  1. Those Present


                                    Councillors                    Eric Green                     Chair

                                                                        Bill Mowat                     Vice-Chair

                                                                        Thomas Meikle              Treasurer

                                                                        Mark Gibson                 Secretary

                                                                        Barry Butler      

                                                                        Henry Gunn

                                                                        Carole Whittaker


                                    Apologies         Councillors                    Beatrice Farmer

                                                                        Ann Shearer     


There was one member of the public in attendance.


2.  Minutes of the Previous Meeting held on 23 April 2018 at Canisbay Village Hall


2.1 Secretary Position

it was noted that Councillor Farmer had indicated her intention to stand down as secretary.  Councillor Gibson  offered to fill the vacancy.  Agreed


2.2   Amendments to Minutes

Some minor amendments were proposed to the minutes:

Amend “Carole Gibson” to “Carole Whittaker”

Add to item 19 “and to repair the unmade road to Duncansby Ness”

Add Item “County Councillor Mackay to invite Roy Kirk to hold a public meeting in the Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council area”

The amendments were agreed and Councillor Gibson would incorporate them into the minutes.  ACTION Mark Gibson

Agreed minutes are to be published on the website and a copy sent to the ward manager, Alex McManus.


3.  Matters Arising


3.1 Defibrillator  (Item 15 and item 16)

Councillor Green reported that the defibrillator was to be affixed to the outside of John o'Groats Village Hall and would be available 24 hours per day.  Training in its use had been arranged at the Hall for 28th May at 7pm.  Training was open to anyone who wished to take part.

Councillors were asked to consider if further defibrillators would be needed in the Dunnet and Canisbay area, most notably Gills and Canisbay.  Councillor Green agreed to approach the John o'Groats Development Trust on this.  ACTION  Eric Green


3.2  Website

Councillor Butler had agreed to manage the Community Council website website at a previous meeting.  He asked for details to enable him to access the page as an administrator.  Councillor Green agreed to obtain this information for him.  ACTION Eric Green


4.  Chair's Report


4.1  E-mail Address

The Community Council joint e-mail address has been activated and councillors have been sent instructions on how to access it.


4.2 Correspondence

A charity has been in touch with the Community Council asking if a welcoming committee can be arranged in John o'Groats for their cyclists.


4.3 Rubbish Collection

Alex McManus has supplied contact details for refuse collection where litter picking has taken place.  This arose from an issue raised at a previous meeting where public spirited individuals had encountered difficulties in disposing of rubbish they had collected from the beach.  Rubbish can be collected by the council or it can be taken to the refuse centre.  Mr McManus will speak to the refuse centre to ensure that there will be no difficulties.


4.4 Bus Services

There was no further report.  However Councillor Mowat raised an issue whereby through tickets from Inverness to Gills could no longer be booked.  This was a strange situation in light of the importance of Gills as a major ferry terminal for Orkney.  Councillor Green agreed to raise the matter with Stagecoach.  ACTION  Eric Green


4.5 Caithness Community Council Issues

The next meeting of the Association of Community Councils was to take place in the Ross Institute, Halkirk on 4 June.  Councillor Butler would attend on behalf of Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council.

It was noted that Castletown and District Community Council had gone into abeyance.  An interim election is due to be held on 28th June 2018.


4.6 Community Broadband Scheme

Agreement had been reached with British Telecommunications and Highland Wireless Networks. The connection had been ordered.  The connection date was likely to be the end of June / first week in July.  A public meeting would be arranged in the next four weeks.  Thirty households were needed to make connection viable but that was thought not to be a problem.


4.7  Football Pitch at John o'Groats

It was noted that work on renewing the football pitch at John o'Groats was well underway.


4.8  John o'Groats Development Trust

Job descriptions were being finalised for a Community Development Officer.  


4.9  Health Service Redesign

A meeting was to take place on the 22 May 2018.  The matters were now at a stage where options could be tabled. 


5. Treasurers Report

5.1  Councillor Meikle reported that the closing balance was £1454.  However it was noted that most of this money was accounted for in agreed expenditure.

5.2  It was noted that future allocations to the Community Council would be lower.

5.3  Councillor Green agreed to provide the treasurer with with name of a person who could formally audit the accounts before submission.  ACTION Eric Green

5.4  It was noted that the cost of renting the St Clair Hall at Auckengill was significantly more than the rental of any other Hall for Community Council Meetings.  It was reluctantly noted that Community Council Meetings at Auckengill might need to be reduced to one per year given these costs.


6.  Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan


6.1 It was noted that some of the D&C CC comments on the plan had been taken up by the reporters. Notably the Gills adopted as a  Offshore Renewables Zone.  However the request that Canisbay be included as a Growing Community had not been taken up.

6.2  Concern was raised that there was nothing in the plan to limit or restrict onshore development of receiving stations for tidal power.  Although cable work should be underground there was a need to ensure any development was minimal and sympathetic to the surroundings given the importance of the coastline to tourism and wildlife.  Unsympathetic development of power infrastructure might have a serious impact on local business as well as the natural beauty of the area.  It was agreed to keep a close watch on future developments in this regard.

6.3  It was noted that there was no further opportunity to influence the Development Plan which was likely to be formally adopted in the early Autumn 2018.


7.  Local Community Plan


7.1 There were significant overlaps between the local community plan and the work of the John o'Groats Development Trust.  It was therefore decided to wait until the Community Development Officer was in place before having further discussion on this.   External funding might be required for public consultation on a local plan.


8. Any Other Business


8.1 Road Repairs

Councillor Butler raised a query on behalf of Councillor Shearer in regard to the methods used to repair the roads in the area.   Workmen had been observed dropping tar into the potholes and using the tyres of their vehicles to compact it rather than a proper machine (which was on the back of their truck).  Councillor Green agreed to raise this with Alex McManus.  ACTION Eric Green


8.2 Memorial Garden

Councillor Gunn raised the possibility of a memorial garden for still born babies in Canisbay.  A site had been identified by the Kirk.  The charity responsible for the idea had explained that this was too near the sea and the memorials would suffer from salt corrosion.  A new site was being identified and Councillor Green agreed to put the charity representatives in touch with Councillor Gunn.  ACTION Eric Green and Henry Gunn.


8.3  Gills Harbour

Councillor Mowat informed the meeting that Mackay Consultants had completed their report on Gills Harbour and it would be issued in the next few weeks.  The report recommends public investment in the harbour to support three strands, local business users, leisure use and to support the renewable energy sector.  Meetings have been held with a contractor who has confirmed that initial estimates of cost for the  development are in the right area.  It is proposed to move forward on the developments in a phased manner.


8.4  Information Boards

Councillor Mowat raised the idea, first discussed the previous year, about information boards placed around the Community Council Area to inform about and celebrate prominent local people and events.  Councillor Green suggested that this idea might be a good one to raise with the John o'Groats Development Trust.  Councillor Gibson asked Councillor Mowat to send him further details and he would raise the matter with the Trust.  ACTION  Bill Mowat and Mark Gibson


There was no further business


9. Date Time and Location of Next Meeting


25 June at 7.30pm.  Freswick Village Hall.


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