Minutes 13 May 2016

Minutes approved 13/06/2016

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Minutes of meeting held on Monday, 9th May 2016 in Ardgay Public Hall at 7.00pm

Present: Elected, co-opted and associated members: Betty Wright, Chair (BW),

Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Treasurer (MT), Leslie Pope, Secretary (LP),

Andy Wright (AW), Sheila Lall (SL), Rob Pope (RP)          Apologies: None

Also present: Highland Councillor George Farlow (GF)

Police Scotland: PCs Dave Thompson, Paul Whitehead             Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1/2. Welcome/Apologies (as above). Chair Betty Wright welcomed everyone to this meeting of the CC and expressed thanks to AW for setting up the computer and screen to be used for the first time at this meeting as an aid to discussions.

Item 3. Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the April meeting were approved as a true and accurate record, proposed: Marion Turner; seconded: Sheila Lall. It was agreed that the draft minutes procedure will remain unchanged with the Chair and Treasurer approving them prior to circulation to other members with final amendments if required being made at the following meeting prior to approval.

Item 4. Matters arising/Updates.

(a)     Bank of Scotland, Bonar Bridge.  The date of 26th May has been set for a meeting of Bank of Scotland officials with MP Paul Monaghan and all other interested parties. The meeting will be in Bonar Bridge hall but the time is not yet confirmed.

(b)     WifFi Ardgay Hall. The Hall Committee is currently submitting applications for funding.

(c)     Ardgay Toilets. The facility is now open thanks to the good efforts of Jeanie and Gordon Sparling. THC annual grant for maintenance has been received. The account deficit has been cleared due to the later opening of the facility.

(d)     Broadband. An update had been circulated. Delay to next stage while awaiting BT’s new plans for roll out areas thanks to it receiving further government funding.

(e)     NC500 route. LP attended the recent Lairg CC meeting at which Douglas Gibson from Visit Wester Ross, on behalf of North Highland Initiative, outlined the background and present position with progress establishing the tourism route. He was at great pains to convey that NHI is keen to work with local ‘off route’ communities which should work in setting up smaller routes to entice travellers into the central areas encompassed by the main route. It is hoped that a ‘local’ group can be established, made up from interested businesses, to produce a guide which can be incorporated within the larger NC500 route package. A meeting has been set for June 14th at 7.30pm in Lairg Community Centre at which local businesses would have the opportunity to talk further with NC 500 reps and to take the next steps forward. So far KOSDT and Business Gateway are very keen to work with such a local group, others should be encouraged to become involved. Advertising/membership fees will be needed support costs. LP will provide an article for the newsletter to bring the project to wider public attention. She will also contact the Kyle of Sutherland Heritage Society with a view to linking with clan organisations in North America/Canada and adding more information to the NC500 leaflet.  SM and BW/AW hope to attend the meeting on 14th June. LP/SM/BW/AW Action.

(f)      Home insurance. SEPA has provided details of its flood area map and has confirmed that this information is not to be used for business purposes e.g. assessing properties for insurance cover. Overlapping post codes in rural areas could be a cause for confusion. People must remain vigilant when dealing with insurance companies and report any such difficulties experienced.

Item 5. Police report. PC Thompson advised of eleven incidents in the last month of which six were road traffic related including speeding, two advice calls, one neighbour dispute, one person search and one false call of good intent. CCs reported that a local resident repeatedly causes an obstruction by parking badly outside his house near to the school. This often blocks line of sight and can cause traffic to be on the wrong side of the road. School children have to cross the road close to this point as the position of the pavement shifts from one side of the road to the other placing them at great risk. The PCs left the meeting planning to call on the resident to discuss the matter. (7.30pm).

Item 6. Secretary’s report. (LP) (a) Correspondence. All relevant incoming mail had been circulated to members.

Item 7. Treasurer’s report. (MT) The April 2016 balance at the bank is £15,584.82 of which £15,063.10 is restricted funds. The Admin/General Fund has £521.72 available to carry out the business of the CC. The balances of the restricted funds are: Toilet Caretaking: £1464; BTWF Community Projects: £695.26; Newsletter: £2828.84; BnO: £9,275; E.ON Path Fund: £800.

Item 8. Planning issues. (a) BT cabinet. Apparently the recently submitted planning application has been withdrawn. The proposed siting of the cabinet would not have been acceptable and several alternative sites are vastly preferable. The main piece of local history, the Clash Eteag, must not be compromised by the positioning of the cabinet in the centre of the village. MT will continue to monitor THC Planning on the website. MT Action.

Item 9. Newsletter. (SM) Copy date for next issue is 25th May with distribution planned for second week in June. A photo shoot took place to include up to date pictures of current CC members and the next issue will also carry a letter of thanks from BW to the outgoing CC members. Other items under consideration include an update on both the Kyle of Sutherland Hub and the Falls of Shin developments. £2,000 funding award has been received from the Beinn Tharsuinn Fund; the supporters’ logos on the back page of the newsletter will be amended in line with current funders. CC members were again encouraged to spread the word far and wide regarding the advertising opportunities.

Item 10. Website & Facebook. The CC Facebook page is up and running and after a slow start currently has fifty-two followers from within the Ardgay district. SL is now an Editor along with LP. An article regarding the Facebook page will be submitted to the newsletter. Providing another opportunity for community contact with the CC, surgeries will start in Ardgay Store this Saturday 14th May, 1-4pm, and will continue on the second Saturday each month except June. Phil Olson will continue to maintain the CC website, updating whenever time allows.

Item 11. Flower tubs. (BW) The local growers group had questions regarding how watering can be done and also what budget is available for plants, etc. The previous watering device may/may not still be available. This will be checked out as will the facility at the garage to fill it up there. An application could be made to Beinn nan Oighrean if a new watering device is required. £50 is available from CC for plants for eight tubs. A rota could be established to cover the watering through the season, each volunteer taking a week. BW/RP Action.

Item 12. A&DCC laptop. Not currently being used, the laptop will be kept with a view to being a part of the planned computer/screen/projector package. BW will discuss with Hall Committee a proposal to apply to BTWF for next month. BW Action.

Item 13.Playpark bins & dog bag dispensers. The waste bins at the playpark are not being emptied; this will be reported to Waste Management Manager Andy Shaw. It is understood that THC is no longer providing bags for dog waste but an approach will be made regarding a supply for the Gearrchoille Wood dispensers. Dog fouling now carries an £80 fine. Ardgay Store carries a supply of bags for purchase locally. An application could be made to BTWF to buy in a stock of bags for GWCA. SM will enter an article in the newsletter highlighting the problem and the increased fine. SM Action. GF was asked to make THC aware that the CC’s opinion is that provision of dog waste bags should be funded by the Council. GF Action.

Item 14. Christmas lights. Forward planning dictates that this issue needs to be addressed in good time to be prepared for the Christmas season. An item will be placed in the newsletter seeking volunteers to help and also to try to ascertain just what type of illuminated display the community wants. A plan should be made, with accurate costings for lower maintenance attractions, such as LED lights on a central tree with easier access lights, if required, at other locations.  The 7pm public slot at the August meeting will be allocated for discussion and publicised at the surgeries, and through the newsletter and Facebook. SM/LP Action. (August agenda item)

Item 15. Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust report. All projects are ongoing as before. New ScotGrad placement will start at the beginning of June. The next Kyle Live event is in Bonar Bridge Hall on Tuesday 31st May at 8pm when internationally renowned multi-instrumentalist Bruce Molsky will be in concert. Details available on local posters and in the Northern Times.

Item 16. Highland Council. GF advised on the ongoing restructuring at THC. The costs of voluntary redundancies will take about three years to reclaim, assuming that there are no re-appointments to the withdrawn posts. Flexible staffing should help to improve efficiency with employees being upskilled appropriately.  Scottish Government funding should see an increase in the building of affordable housing. Highland Leader funding was launched today with £600,000 available in Sutherland. This can be match funded where possible and cross-border funding within the local area is also available. Asked if any THC schools are affected by the ‘bad build’ issues occurring further south GF replied that due to different practices, no Highland Region schools are affected. The serious lack of white lining on roads in the area is causing concern locally. Secretary will write to THC. LP Action. With so many posts deleted and many people leaving THC, the public is left not knowing whom to contact when their emails bounce. An ‘Out of Office’ type of message should be generated by each department affected to direct people to a relevant person in post. GF Action.

Item 15. Windfarms. No Government decisions can be expected for some months. The small training grant from the proposed Caplich windfarm has been administered by the Lairg Learning Centre and has delivered several courses in the area.

Item 16. Any other competent business. (1) MT has been approached by Creich CC which has undertaken to buy for the three local primary schools, the commemorative Queen’s 90th birthday medal. Creich CC has checked with the Head Teachers involved who have expressed the wish that the children should be presented with this medal. The cost to A&DCC for the twenty-seven medals required for Gledfield Primary School will be approximately £67. It was agreed that this can be taken from the Community Project Fund. MT Action. (2) GF advised that the meeting to decide awards from the Participatory Budget Scheme will be held in Lairg on 28th May from 10am-2pm at which applicants will make their presentations and votes will be taken to allocate awards. (3) SM pointed out that the sign indicating that the Invershin Viaduct walkway is not suitable for cyclists is still in situ. This is a Sustrans sign and it is thought that it will be altered in due course.

Item 17. Date and time of next/future meeting/s. The next meeting will be the AGM and held on Monday 13th June at 7pm in the Ardgay Public Hall.

Beinn Tharsuinn Community Benefit awards.

At the private meeting following the CC’s monthly meeting the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust was awarded £2,000 towards an Enterprise Assistant Post; Kyle of Sutherland Angling Association was awarded £1,375 towards costs of a boat upgrade; Ardgay Public Hall Committee was awarded £496 towards the installation and first year rental of Broadband; Kyle of Sutherland Gala Week was awarded £87.50 towards costs of games events provision. MG Action.

Meeting closed 10pm.

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