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Minutes October 2018

Minutes of the Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council

Mey Village Hall

29 October 2018 at 7.30pm


Those Present


                                    Councillors                    Eric Green                     Chair

                                                                        Bill Mowat                     Vice-Chair

                                                                        Thomas Meikle              Treasurer

                                                                        Mark Gibson                 Secretary

                                                                        Barry Butler

                                                                        Beatrice Farmer

                                                                        Henry Gunn

                                                                        Carole Whittaker

                                                                        Ann Shearer

                                    Highland Councillor       Andrew Sinclair

                                                                        Andrew Jarvie

                                                                        Struan Mackie


The meeting was dealt with in two halves.  The first half formed part of public consultation on Health Service changes in Caithness.  Three members of NHS Highland were in attendance.  Bullet points from this discussion were minuted and will be published separately.


1.  Minutes of the Previous Meeting held in September 2018 at Mey Village Hall


            1.1  Agreement of Minutes

            The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed


            1.2  Matters Arising

            Matters arising would be picked up in the agenda items


2.  Chair's Report

            Items to be picked up in the other agenda items


3. Treasurers Report

3.1 Invoices:   It was noted that invoices from some village halls were very late in coming in.  Councillor Gunn agreed to obtain a list of current keyholders and secretaries of Hall committees to make the process of booking and paying for the halls for council meetings easier.  ACTION: Councillor Gunn

3.2 A request had been received from Auckengill Hall for a contribution to the Halloween party there.  The matter went to general debate and it was noted that the unfortunate reduction in grants to the Community council meant that no support had been able to be given to any other Hall for Halloween parties and so regretfully no support could be given to Auckengill Hall this year.


3.3  The treasurer agreed to send the annual subscription to the Association of community Councils in the hope that this could release some additional funds.  Any money received could only be spent in limited ways and councillors were asked to consider projects of merit for the next meeting.


4 Secretary's Report


4.1 Correspondence Received

Planning:   The Highland Council no longer send out details of planning applications to each Community council.  We now have to manually search the website.  There were two  applications this month.  They were discussed and no objections raised.

Bus Service:  The bus item would be picked up under a later agenda item.


5.  Transport and Infrastructure

5.1  Transport

Councillor Mowat reported that the very bus from Inverness that he had caught that day had arrived in Wick after the last connection to Gills had gone.  Consequently he, and some people heading for Orkney, had been forced to hire a taxi.  This once again highlighted the poor connectivity between services.  It should also be possible to book a through ticket from Inverness to Orkney via Gills.

Councillor Whittaker reported that she had noted that the actions list arising from the Bus Users Forum had not covered all the actions that were actually demanded at the meeting, many of them connected with the 77 service.  Councillor Whittaker would take this matter up with the forum secretariat.

Councillor Green addressed the three Highland Councillors in attendance and stated that the service was unreliable and had a lot of problems.  Stagecoach does not make it easy to travel in the Highlands.  There was no easy link for instance between John o'Groats Airport and John  o'Groats itself.  The route from Wick to  John o'Groats and along the North Coast was a prime candidate for subsidy, even if just from a tourist position

Councillor Gibson had sent a letter to Highland Council on behalf of the Community Council asking for the 77 service to be classed as a public service obligation. Councillor Gibson to forward reply to Highland Councillor Mackie.   ACTION:  Councillor Gibson

Highland Councillor Mackie noted that he had been collecting FOI information and showing how the services were not joined up.  A lot of pressure was being brought to bear on Stagecoach.  There needed to be a Caithness wide plan.  There were too few accessible buses.  There was no rail-bus ticketing.

Councillor Gibson suggested that it made sense for a single service running from Thurso to Wick via the North Coast.  This would alleviate many of the current problems, improve the service for locals and might prove very popular with tourists in the main season.

Councillor Green noted that it was a constant battle with Stagecoach and everything seemed to be about cuts to service.  The Highland Council should facilitate a real consultation between stagecoach and the people.  Highland Councillor Mackie agreed to take this away as an action point.


5.2  Infrastructure

It was noted that some of these issues would be picked up in the next agenda item.  However Councillors would consider suitable projects for small infrastructure improvements.

It was noted that Beatrice Farmer would take the lead on considering defibrillator provision in the Community Council area.


6. Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund


6.1  Councillor Mowat attended a meeting in Wick on behalf of the Community Council.  He reported that it was an excellent fund but one that had been very poorly advertised. Councillor Mowat had submitted an outline application for a grant to restore the coastal path from the last house in John o'Groats towards the Ness of Duncansby.  It was noted that the John o'Groats Development Trust would become involved in this.

Councillor Green noted that it was a disgrace that the Community Council had not been told of this fund before.



7.1  It was noted that the plan was being adopted and that Gills  was also an Economic Development Zone.


9.  Any Other Business

9.1 Highland Councillor Sinclair stated that the Highland Council had been approached with  proposals by Natural Retreats about changes to the car park at the end of the road and about a fund for raising money for local projects.  Councillor Green noted that any schemes would need to be discussed with the local community and that Natural Retreats did not have a good track record of engaging with the community. 

9.2  John o'Groats Museum  Councillor Mowat noted the museum should be back in the community and it was hoped this could be taken forward.

9.3   Councillor Farmer raised the need for ditch clearing to take place in Skarfskerry.


There was no further business.



26 November 2018 at 7.30 pm.   Canisbay Hall


The meeting closed









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