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Minutes of the Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council

Canisbay Hall

26 August 2019 at 7.30pm


Those Present

                                    Councillors                    Eric Green                     Chair    

                                                                        Bill Mowat                     Vice-Chair

                                                                        Barry Butler                   Treasurer

                                                                        Mark Gibson                 Secretary

                                                                        Ann Shearer

                                                                        Henry Gunn

                                                                        Beatrice Farmer

                                                                                    Carole Whittaker

                                                                        Thomas Meikle 

                                    Appologies                   Raymond Bremner



 1.  Minutes of the Previous Meeting

These were agreed with minor amendments.


2.  Chair's Report

2.1 Coucillor Green reminded everyone that the Community council elections were approaching.  After the election everything starts from scratch, including the appointment of officers.

2.2 Councillor Green added that It is really important that a functioning Community Council exists, especially for benefits for the community.  There needed to be a  core of five elected councillors.  Others can be co-opted if necssary beyond that.


3.  Treasurer's Report

3.1  Councillor Butler reported that there had been no change since the previous month.  A decision needed to be taken on signatories.  The exra £500 available this year had been requested and we have been notified of payment. 


4 Secretary's Report

4.1  Councillor Gibson went through several items of correspondence set to the council.  These included:

Call for nominations for the Highland Small Communities Trust and notification of annual general meeting (Councillor Mowat agreed to attend).

BT payphones issue and closure of the one at Dunnet.  It was noted that there had been little support for a campaign to retain the facility so far.  It was agreed to see what reaction there was to the CC social media post or if the community wished to repurpose the box.  One idea would be to fit a defibrilator in the box.  This is the first stage of consultation.  At the second stage we might want to take things further.

It was noted that income from the John o'Groats car park for the Development Fund was in line with that forecast and should provide a good boost to the area.   Councillor Green noted that it was very important that the money raised through this iniative was used to benefit the local community and not to maintain areas already the responsibility of Together Travel.  For example it was stated that there whould be a parking area and viewpoint at the top of the hill up from John o'Groats to showcase the view of Stroma and Orkney and form an “entrance” to John o'Groats.


5.  Infrastructure and Transport

5.1  It was noted that the bus service seems to have got worse with the 99 service now returning to the old type of bus.  It was however noted that Aarons was starting an alternative bus service

5.2 Councillor Green noted that the bus issues were serious issuesthat Highland Council often just passed to Stagecoach.  This was a matter that affected the whole of the region and Highland Councillor needed to take some ownership of the problems and the ways to solve them.  At the moment there was little value for money for the tax payer.

5.3 Councillors raised some local bus issues including the fact that bus does not match the train timetables for both Thurso and Wick.  There were also continuing problems with the 77 and the 80 not lining up properly.  It was strongly noted that the rail/bus/ferry links were really important and in terms of sustainable transport it was essential they worked well.

5.4  Councillor Whittake noted with dismay that there was still no date for the local bus users group.


6.  Contacts with the Media

6.1  The Community Council decided that a media policy was necessary in order that representatives of the Council had a clear framework within which to work and statements attributed to the council had the agreement of at least a majority of the councillors.

6.2   It was agreed by all that comments to the media by any councillors other than clearly in a personal capaicty should first be agreed by the Community council.  Any position taken needed to have been wholehearytedly agreed.  All decisions needed to be by concensus.


7.  Development Plan

7.1  Councillor Mowat stated that it was really important that this was got going.

7.2  Councillor Green stated that he would look for money to help it get going and also asked for ideas on how it should be untertaken.  It was really important that the councill had a clear idea and statement of purpose for the plan so that it could ensure delivery of a document that was useful and could be acted on.  It needed to be sharp and punchy.

7.3  Councillor Gibson agreed to write to Kyle of Sutherland Trust to see if they had capacity to help us with the plan.


8. Playparks

8.1  Councillor Farmer had reaised the problem of grass cuttings not being uplifted from play parks. Councillor Green noted that that Highland Council needed to explain its position.

8.2  Councillor Gunn noted that in the past uplifted grass could be placed in farm middens and it was a good way of recycling but that this was no longer done.  He also noted that public entettainment licences needed grass cutting and collection but it seems the council did not have to abide by this.


8.  AOB

8.1   Councillor Mowat noted that he attended the Outdoor Access Forum on behaf of the Community Council.  The John o'Groats path contnued being a contentious issue as the Highland Council prefered a new route which goes through the popular campsite.  This is not a route favoured by the campsite or the Development Trust.

8.2 Councillor Gibson added that the Trust had been working hard on an alternative which restores the original shore path and allows people to expereince the beauty of the coast and a seaside walk to the Ness.  This was surely the preferred option for many people.

8.3  Councillor Mowat stated that the issue had been sent to the planning Unit in Falkirk and might well go to a public enquiry.  Councillor Green noted that it was essential the Community Council was representated at this.

8.4  Councillor Mowat also noted that he had raised at the meeting the difficulty that our area had in obtaining grants and support.  He had also raised the issue of the old museum.  Councillor Green noted that it was about time people realised that there was life north of Inverness

8.4  It was noted that SSE could give free hire of generators for local events.

8.5  It was noted that the kissing gates on the Ness of Duncancby path were in a poor state of repair and should be looked at.

8.6  It was noted that it was good to see events in the Community Council areas including new events.  The Dunes festival, Mey Games, the Viking festival etc. 




Mey Hall  on Monday 23 September at 7.30pm


The meeting closed

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