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Minutes May 2019

Minutes of the Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council


St Clare Hall Auckengill

20 May 2019 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

                                                                                    Anne Shearer

                                                                        Carole Whittaker



Apologies                     Highland Councillor Raymond Bremner


There were three members of the public also present 



Ordinary Business was preceded by the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING


1.  Chairs Report


The chair reminded those present that the Community council elections would be held in November.  He noted that a number of things had been achieved in the last year and that information about what the Community Council did could be found on the website along with the minutes of previous meetings.  Of major importance would be the refreshing of a Community Development Plan. 


2.  Treasurers Report


Councillor Meikle informed the Council that the books were now in for auditing.  Once this was done the council grant could be applied for.  The account stood the same as at the previous meeting.


Councillor Green, noting that Councillor Meikle was not seeking re-election, thanked him for his work as Treasurer, noting that the role was the simple process it used to be and that Councillor Meikle had carried out his duties with diligence.


3.  Election of Office Bearers


The following councillors assumed office:


Eric Green  Chair.  Proposed by Henry Gunn, Seconded by Beatrice Farmer

Bill Mowat  Vice Chair.  Proposed by Beatrice Farmer, Seconded by Carole Whittaker

Mark Gibson  Secretary.  Proposed by Henry Gunn, Seconded by Barry Butler

Barry Butler  Treasurer.  Proposed by Mark Gibson, Seconded by Anne Shearer


4. Other Business


Councillor Mowat lead a vote of thanks to Highland Councillor Andrew Sinclair and the other Wick Highland Councillors for their help over the last year.  

It was noted that Highland Councillor Raymond Bremner would be welcomed to future meetings of the community Council.


The Annual General Meeting was concluded


Ordinary Meeting


Attendance as above.  Chair and Treasurers report as above.


5.  Minutes of the Previous Meeting


The minutes were approved and Proposed by Beatrice Farmer and Seconded by Tom Meikle.


6.  Secretaries Report


Correspondence Received


Notification of open days regarding World Heritage Status for the Flow Country. 23rd May 2019  11-7  Halkirk Youth Centre.  24th May 2019  11-7  Thurso Library


Next Bus User Group likely to be Late May/Early June.  No explanation for the delay


Information on plans for 75th Anniversary of VE day 8th May 2020 and how communities can become involved 


Short term lets consultation (end date 19th July)


Funding for Community led design Funds


Saturday 8 June 11-3pm Community Council Network Meeting


Interim progress report for Flood Risk management plans


Councillor Gibson also noted that the Development Officer for the John o'Groats Development Trust had moved on to a different role and that the Trust were now considering options for replacement.




7. Scallywags Nursery


It was raised with the Community Council that the Scallywags Nursery at Crossroads School was under threat and that parents had been told they must send their children to either Canisbay or Castletown.  However, as well as the distance issues, neither of these take children at two years old. Scallywags however is registered with the Care Inspectorate to take two year olds.  The nearest alternative provision for children in this age group is Thurso.


Communities Councillors were in agreement that the nursery had not been given sufficient time to deal with the withdrawal of their grant support or seek alternative funding.  Such changes were unacceptable in a rural community which was already facing depopulation and this would do nothing to address that.  Transport issues were already a problem for parents.  It had the potential to split families where one child has to attend at Castletown and another at Thurso.


The Community Council agreed to support Scallywags by writing to Highland Councillors and raising the issues.  At the very least there should be a years deferment to allow proper consultation.  Action: Secretary



8.  Development Plan


Councillor Green opened the discussion by commenting that a good inclusion in the development plan would be nursery provision. 


He went on to state that the previous plan was too wordy.  Any update needed to be sharper, more focussed and a list of what the community wanted achieved.  The Community Council needed someone to help us do this and we needed to prepare a brief for them to enable this. 


Councillor Green added that there were some good examples out there including those commissioned by the Ballachulish and Lochaber, Strontian, and Kyle of Sutherland areas.  He noted that councillors should come back to the next meeting with ideas. 



9.  Transport


Councillor Whittaker noted that the Bus User Group  might be in June, however she had received very little feedback from bus users.  What she had heard so far was a catalogue of missed connections, faulty buses and overlong journeys. 


Councillor Mowat added the lack of through ticketing to some destinations including Gills.


Councillor Green asked Councillors which service model  would meet needs.  It was decided that a Thurso to Wick (and Return) service using the coastal route would be a good start and also harness the growing tourist market. 


Councillor Whittaker agree to write up a possible route to put to the next meeting and then pass to Stagecoach.  Action: Councillor Whittaker



Any Other Business


Councillor Butler raised the issue of tyres being dumped around the area because of the Highland Council decision no longer to take them at recycling centres.  It was agreed to raise the matter with Highland Councillor Bremner.  Action:  Secretary


Councillor Green raised the ridiculous situation pertaining to the driving theory test where there was a three month wait in Caithness.  The wait was much shorter in Inverness where many people were being forced to go to take their test.  At the moment a mobile centre needed to come up to Caithness.  It was asked why a room at Caithness House could not be set aside for the tests and the staff there do the necessary validation of identity.  It was noted that in rural areas having a driving licence was a necessity for many people.


Councillor Mowat reported that he had attended the All Energy Conference in Glasgow.  He noted that further Meygen turbines would be emplaced in the Autumn.


Councillor Mowat also raised the opportunity of suggesting Duncansby Head as a location for the “Eurovision of Birdsong” to be held next May.




 Monday 24 June 2019  At John o'Groats Village Hall


The meeting closed

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