Public Meeting of Colonsay Community Council

Tuesday 28th July 2020 at 6pm via Video/Audio Call


Convenor Keith Rutherford

Vice Convener Alex Howard

Treasurer David Hobhouse

Secretary (interim) Jane Howard

Richard Buttrick

Liz McNicholl

Helen Mann

Kevin Byrne


All present except Helen Mann, plus Donald MacNeill and approximately 20 members of the public.

Convenor Keith Rutherford opened the meeting and handed over to Alex Howard to chair as Keith joins by phone.


•  Apologies were received from Helen Mann

•  Declarations of Interest.

AH explained that these were declared at appropriate times during meetings. He also explained that this item had been left off the agenda during the emergency zoom meetings but prior to that was always on agendas.

Claire Hay intervened to stress that for the meetings to comply with ‘Community Council rules' declarations of interest must be stated.

AH repeated that this was the normal procedure and that their omission was an oversight.


•  The Minutes of the last meeting were adopted, proposed by Kevin Byrne and seconded by Keith Rutherford.

•  There were no ‘Matters arising' from previous minutes not dealt with elsewhere.

•  Community Resilience – Coronavirus

Community Hub

LMN reported that the hub was being used; usage slightly less now than at its peak. There were still funds available to continue, including the funds which had been allocated for ‘advice' which was not so heavily used. LMN had regular meetings with the managers and HIE, the last being last week.

Submission of Jen MacNeill's petition to SG

The petition was received by the Scottish Government and a final response received by David Hobhouse. The response is appended at the end of the minute.

•  Air Service and ferries – updates

•  JH. Argyll and Bute Council will run Sunday flights to facilitate school childrens' travel back to school. These will be by request, as usual following the winter procedure.

CALMAC have indicated they intend to re-introduce the Sunday evening ferry service. It is timetabled to run from 16th August until Sunday 18th October.

LMN will ask parents which service they would prefer to transport schoolchildren. It is not clear what the council action will be in light of the restored Sunday ferry.


•  DH had enquired of Calmac about the possibility of a ‘lie over' to allow essential maintenance. This had met with little enthusiasm but he will approach them again.

DH will e –mail round to see what uptake there might be of this service, and compile a list.

Suggestions were Scottish Power, septic tank emptying and farrier.


•  There was a discussion on the merits of asking for reinstatement of the Wednesday Islay ferry but it was decided that the present, Oban service was preferable and did not invite the possibility of day trippers.

•  KR mentioned that ‘wild campers' had been seen on the Island. Both Richard Irvine and Colonsay estate had had enquiries from people wishing to camp and had discouraged these. JH stated that there was nothing could be done to stop wild camping.

•  Colonsay & Oronsay Community Fund – Extension to current Round

DH offered to chair from now on which will be treated as an extension of present round. This was agreed by council.

An e-mail will be sent round advising the public that the fund is open. (DH)


•  Head teacher and other public service vacancies – update

The new head teacher will be moving to Colonsay shortly and KB advises that accommodation has been found in the Church of Scotland manse for three months, thereafter the schoolhouse will be ready.

RB reported that a new Doctor, Dr Willett, has been appointed and will take up post on 1 st October.


•  Septic tanks

LMN and DH will liaise with Calum Hay, who has been involved in trying to get his tank serviced and who has agreed to investigate procedure.

AH pointed out that the islands are entitled to the same service as mainland Argyll and Bute.


LMN. Some people have a contract with Scottish Water, others have approached the contractors (MBC) privately. She has a contract with Scottish Water and will make further enquiries.


•  MOWI mooring in Balnahard Bay .

DH had circulated a map showing the proposed site. There was slight confusion as to the exact location of the proposed mooring so clarification will be sought. (DH)


JH had a strong opinion that having an unsightly mooring on an otherwise pristine seascape was not desirable particularly as it would only be used for a maximum of 6 days pa.

DH wondered if it was possible to use a less visible buoy.


•  Planning applications

There were no planning applications that the council were aware of.

KB pointed out that it was important to look at Argyll and Bute website as we might not be aware of submissions.

JH receives a weekly e-mail for region which she scrutinises.

Dannie Onn was asked about procedures but was unsure.

(Dannie subsequently enquired and has advised the council)


•  Any Other Business.

•  EE Mast.

Richard Irvine asked if there was any update on EE mast at the Lookout Hut.

AH declared an interest and reported that an agreement had been signed between EE and Colonsay Estate and that a surveyor was coming from Scottish power to check how a mains power supply would be delivered.

KB asked if the cable would be underground.

AH replied that there would be poles from Port M ó r cottage to the corner (gravel) then underground thereafter.


•  Recording of Customers in bars and restaurants.

KB stressed how important it is that this information is available to enable accurate test and trace.

JH said there was a phone app that made the procedure relatively simple.


•  Visitor Guidance.

KB will update on website and on notices.

•  Procedure for people who have Covid 19 symptoms.

RB had spoken with locum doctor Dr Binnie who advised procedure was to call 111, as before.



25th August 2020 @ 6pm by ZOOM.


Response from the Scottish Government to petition by Jen MacNeill.









SLR : Rural Economy and Communities




David Hobhouse



Our Reference: 202000054331

Your Reference: Submission from Colonsay Community Council to SG


24 July 2020

Dear David Hobhouse,

Further to your correspondence to the Scottish Government on 28 June 2020 in relation to a submission from Colonsay Community Council about an Islands petition. As one of the officials currently responsible for implementing the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, part of the portfolio covered by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, I am happy to provide a response to the important concerns you have raised in your email.

Firstly, please accept my sincere apologies for not replying to your email before now. I would also like to state that the Scottish Government are extremely grateful to all our island communities for their support and resilience during these difficult times. We know the restrictions and other measures put in place to protect communities from the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been difficult for everyone, but they are necessary to save lives.

As we continue to move out of lockdown, it is critical that we keep transmission of the virus as low as possible, and that includes transmission from high to low-risk areas. Scotland has in place enhanced surveillance to identify those risks, and has long-established powers, enhanced by recent coronavirus legislation, to manage them.

People across Scotland are doing the right thing and because of that we are continuing to make real and sustained progress. This has given us the confidence to lift some restrictions but these are fine judgements that we have had to make to deal with unprecedented challenges brought about by a pandemic. Therefore, we will continue to consider any measures that might be necessary to protect against the risk of imported cases of the virus from any location.

Above all, we want to come out of lockdown sustainably. To maintain safe progress, there is a collective requirement of all of us, wherever we live, to help one another by following the latest public health guidance. The majority of people will do the right thing but enacted legislation will mean that if people don't follow the rules in place at any particular time then the police have the powers to enforce them.

In your letter you raised a number of key points which relate to how vitally important it is that we give special consideration to arrangements that relate to and affect our unique island communities. Unified by the biggest challenge we have faced in our lifetime, Local Authority Officers, Scottish Government Officials and Ministers have worked, and will continue to work, tirelessly together with our resilient communities to ensure that the specific challenges of our islands are understood.

The Scottish Government's overarching priority is to protect the health of individuals and to minimise the loss of life caused by the pandemic. We share the ambition of business to get back to work as soon as possible but this must be done with public health and safety as the first priority. Please be assured that implementation of all published and emerging guidance does and will continue to take account of Scotland's distinct legal, geographic, industrial and economic context.

I can reassure you that the restoration of tourism is conditional on supportive scientific and public health evidence and must be compliant with sector and public health guidance, including physical distancing and suitable hygiene measures. The opening date of the July 15th date recognises the exceptional circumstances faced by the sector and specific business circumstances, including the long lead-in times for bookings, seasonality and the limited time left within the 2020 season. However, if rules are not adhered to, the progress we have made could be reversed.

I would like to note that the Scottish Government Islands Team have been working closely with Exit Strategy Team colleagues to develop Island Communities Impact Assessments (ICIAs) for the different phases of the COVID-19 Route Map. Additionally, Sectoral Leads have been informed of their responsibility to consider islands in all recovery, renewal and restart guidance. This is to ensure the Scottish Government is operating within the spirit of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 as we transition through and out of lockdown.

Further to the above, a range of approaches have helped to ensure that islands are carefully considered in all response and development work. This has included contributions from the Islands Partnership Working Group and Islands Strategic Group, which consist of Local Authority Officers, Chief Executives and Elected Members. Separately, The Scottish Islands Federation, which has representation from across our inhabited islands has consistently acted as a conduit for community feedback.

Perhaps most importantly, and further to the links developed through the extensive consultation exercise for the National Islands Plan in 2019, Island Team Officials have received contributions on a daily basis from across island geographies and sectors from key island stakeholders and communities. This has contributed a clear sense of the effect of “place” on islands issues resulting from the COVID pandemic and have provided us with close to ‘real-time' information on problems concerning issues such as food supply chains, geographical isolation, mental health, access to lifeline services and the impact of the outbreak on island economies.

Scottish Government recognise that the current restrictions, although they are now reducing significantly in number and scope, continue to have impacts and that the crisis is impacting differentially across the population and in different parts of the country, including Scotland's islands. We know the virus continues to pose real risks and there is absolutely no room for complacency. However, people across Scotland are doing the right thing and following the rules, including new rules on wearing face coverings in settings like retail and public transport, and we are continuing to make real and sustained progress. Maintaining that progress means we all need to abide by public health guidance, which matters now more than ever.

I trust that this response meets your satisfaction.

Yours sincerely

Don Morrison

REC : Islands Policy and Communities

St Andrew's House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG


In case you have stumbled upon this page by accident, Colonsay is a beautiful island in the Hebrides with about 130 inhabitants. Just search online to find out more or use the "Links" facility at the foot of this page.

Site Map and Links