Minutes, 12 March 2018

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 12th March 2018 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 14/05/2018

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Secretary/Treasurer (MT), Andy Wright (AW), Rob Pope (RP)

Also present: Highland Councillor Linda Munro (LM)

Police Scotland: PC Angus Morrison
Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Apologies: Leslie Pope (LP), Buster Crabb (BC)

Items 1/2. Welcome/Apologies (as above)/ Police report (Item 5). Chair Betty Wright welcomed everyone, then invited the police officer to give his report. This was very brief with the only calls received in the recent period were all weather related. Nothing else of note.

Item 3. Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the February meeting were approved as a true and accurate record, proposed: Rob Pope; seconded: Andy Wright.

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Ardgay/Bonar straight. Prices for seats have been circulated; quotes are awaited for the concrete bases. Nothing new regarding the proposal to amend the speed limit. LM Action. Chair will forward to LM the signatures collected by The Hub in favour of amending the limit. BW Action. (2) Plant tubs. An item is included in the newest edition of the Newsletter encouraging volunteers to take on the setting up and maintenance of the floral displays. A meeting will be held on March 27th at 5pm in Ardgay Hall for all those interested to find out more. If interested but unable to attend volunteers can email BW on betty.wright555@gmail.com or phone 01863 755316. (3) Defibrillators. Funding application to Beinn Tharsuinn submitted. If approved the project is ready to go ahead. The Culrain phone box has been cleaned but not yet repainted. (4). Mobile banks. Royal Bank of Scotland has responded saying there are no plans to include a scheduled stop in Ardgay.

Item 5. Police report. After the departure of PC Morrison, the issue of ‘invisible’ pedestrians was raised. Incidents have occurred with drivers at night only becoming aware of pedestrians or animals at the last minute, owing to the lack of hi-vis clothing/attachments, especially concerning on the many poorly/unlit roads which are often also without pavements. Highlight this matter to the Police; perhaps also in the Newsletter. Police Action/SM Action.

Item 6. Chairperson’s report. All relevant points covered during the meeting.

Item 7. Secretary’s report. All relevant email correspondence has been circulated. (1) Information received via LM that it is hoped that electronic signs may be installed at Ardgay and Culrain stations. Awaiting follow up. LM Action.

Item 8. Treasurer’s report. The 9th February 2018 balance at the bank shows no change from the report last month when the balance was £21,545.77 of which £20,667.04 are restricted funds. The Admin/General Fund has £ 878.73 available to carry out the business of the CC. The balances of the restricted funds are: Toilet Caretaking – £29.76, BTWF – Community Projects – £5,098.15, Newsletter – £3,013.00, BnO – £11,855.73, EON Path – £670.40. No statement was issued by the bank due to there being no transactions recorded.

Item 9. Correspondence/Matters raised by local residents. (1) All received emails have been circulated. (2) Kincardine Hill road surface. A letter has been received on behalf of residents on Kincardine Hill regarding the resurfacing of the road in preparation for the timber extraction due at Garvary Forest.  The new surface is very smooth and in icy conditions becomes dangerously slippy. During the recent bad weather there have been six accidents and three near-misses, many of which could have been far more serious if traffic had been present on the main road. Local residents have had to grit the road each morning as the gritter has not arrived before most people leave for work. As there are no pavements, the problem makes it impossible for pedestrians to walk on the road. Residents are calling for an urgent review of the surface and have contacted THC accordingly. CC will also write to Graham MacKenzie, Head of Roads Dept seeking urgent action. MT Action.

Item 10. Regular updates:

(1) Planning. No issues raised.

(2) Newsletter. The Spring Edition #39 is now in circulation. Thirty-two pages with the main article announcing the winners of the 2nd Ardgay & District Community Council Newsletter Children’s Art Competition. An exhibition and prize-giving event will be held in Ardgay Public Hall on Wednesday 28th March from 1pm – 3pm. Entry is free and all welcome.

(3) Broadband. Nothing to report this month.

(4) Windfarms. (1) Braemore. Reply from developers states they are not yet ready to discuss possible community benefit. (2) Coriolis proposals at Garvary now at scoping stage.

(6) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. Nil of note.

Item 11. Highland Council. (1) THC Budget Cuts. All CCs registered their feelings of being insulted and undervalued by THC. The sweeping cuts will make it impossible to meet the statutory duties. All members are volunteers with no-one claiming expenses, although they are allowed to do so. The new grant will not cover the CC to run the statutory number of meetings per year. If operating on a reduced number of meetings, many consultation deadlines will not be met nor will the views of the community have a vehicle through which to approach THC. LM explained the cuts to both CC grants and the Ward Discretionary Budget, reduced from £64,000 in 2007 to £15,000 in this budget. Possibly a new model needs to be found. There are eleven community councils in this Ward. If these can work together perhaps change can be brought about. LM is giving the situation urgent consideration and is willing to work with any/all CCs to find a way through these difficult times. Secretary will write to the Ward Manager seeking guidance as to how THC believes the CC can go forward in these circumstances. The removal of funding to run public toilets is also a major issue which LM will fight against. In an area where tourism provides such a high proportion of income it is inconceivable that facilities are to be removed. If any grant is forthcoming for the provision of the public toilets in Ardgay this season it will already be a month late by the time it is received resulting in the late opening of the facility.

Item 12. AOCB. None raised.

Item 13.  Date and time of next meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday 14th May 2018 at 7pm in Ardgay Public Hall. BW/AW submitted apologies. SM to draw up agenda and chair the meeting.SM Action.

Private Session. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. Application by Sutherland Agricultural Society was rejected. Application by Gearrchoille Community Wood Association received an award of £900 towards running costs. Application by A&DCC for £1,880 was approved towards the costs of installing two defibrillators locally in Ardgay and Culrain. Applicants and Alex Macmanus will be advised. MG Action.

Meeting closed 8.55pm

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