Public Meeting of Colonsay Community Council

Tuesday 8th September 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 Alex Howard and Jane Howard, and minute taker Donald MacNeill (Minutes by Richard Buttrick in Pedie's absence) Members of the public Jan Binnie, Callum Hay, Clare Hay, Jen MacNeill, Dannie Onn.

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

•  Apologies were received from Alex Howard, Jane Howard, and Donald MacNeill.

•  Declarations of Interest.

DH noted the CCC's usual practicing of declaring interests at appropriate times during meetings. No Declarations were made during the meeting.

•  Minutes of the last meeting were adopted, proposed by Richard Buttrick and seconded by Kevin Byrne.

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

•  Community Resilience – Coronavirus

Community Hub

LMN reported that the hub was still being used, and some deliveries were continuing from the hub. Existing, non-returnable, SG funding is intended to run to end of September when there will be a review of remaining funds and a decision on next steps, including possibly continued funding of Shop deliveries.


NHS Testing

Jan Binnie confirmed that practice is unchanged and if you have COVID symptoms you should call NHS Helpline (Call 119).

KR advised that Colonsay Post Office cannot accept COVID-19 home tests, as these need to be delivered to a special post box and the nearest one of these is at Connell. Only option for home tests at the moment is to have a completed home test hand delivered to the special post box at Connell. Jan Binnie suggested that an eye should be kept on developments around home testing over the autumn.


Compliance with COVID-19 Rules

There was a discussion about the general perception of compliance with COVID-19 Rules on Social Distancing etc., and it was agreed that generally compliance was reasonably good both amongst the community and visitors, notably at the Shop, Pop-up-Shop and Post Office.


•  Air Service and ferries – updates

•  Ferry layover on 31 August was discussed and agreed to have been generally successful. Callum Hay reported that limited capacity of the waste tanker meant that only 6 sceptic tanks were cleared, and that with some new additions at least 9 remain to be done. DH thanked Callum Hay for co-ordinating this round of septic tank emptying, and the meeting concurred.

•  Action: DH to contact to CalMac to seek further layover/double ferry before changeover to winter timetable

•  HM confirmed that the Sunday scholar flight has been discontinued until CalMac's winter timetable starts.

•  KR reported that Royal Mail had retimed its Glasgow mail van from Oban to Glasgow to leave Oban at 5pm rather than 6pm, with the consequence that mail on afternoon ferries now arrives too late to reach Glasgow on the same day and has to wait in Oban for 24hours. After discussion it was agreed that a letter should go to Royal Mail expressing CCC's concern and disappointment with the change in operating practice, and seeking a return to the previous timing.

•  Action: JH to write to Royal Mail (KR & RB to provide further briefing as needed)


•  Colonsay & Oronsay Community Fund – Extension to current Round

DH reported that no new applications had been received.

RB requested a discussion about use of the Community Fund to support local groups which have reduced income due to lack of ceilidhs, etc., and it was agreed to have this on the agenda for the next meeting.

Action: HM to circulate list of Colonsay groups.


•  Broadband

Callum Hay gave a brief overview of SG plans for nationwide high-speed broadband and in particular the R100 program. The part of the R100 program covering Colonsay had been delayed due to contractual issues, which are now resolved, though in the absence of a finalised plan it is still unclear if R100 will cover Colonsay. Various voucher schemes are available where R100 coverage is not available or is delayed. Callum, who has experience in getting fibre broadband in the Borders, strongly advocated Colonsay seeking a community wide, fibre solution rather than piecemeal fixes. After discussion, with contributions from around the table on previous attempted broadband solutions, it was agreed to set up a subgroup to investigate the best route to getting R100 coverage on Colonsay. Callum Hay to chair subgroup, with support from Kevin Byrne, Alex Howard (co-opted in absentia because of experience with GigaPlus), David Hobhouse and Richard Buttrick, and a representative from CCDC to be named.


•  Planning Applications

No new planning applications have been received

Discussion of MOWI proposal for mooring buoy in Balnahard Bay was continued from last meeting. JH's strong objection to the buoy was noted. However, on a vote, those present unanimously agreed to accept MOWI's proposal. A question was raised as to whether the public would be allowed to use the MOWI buoy.

Action: DH to check with MOWI if public use of the Balnahard Bay buoy might be possible.


•  Any Other Business

•  Camping outwith “Wild Camping”

Jen MacNeill had previously raised with the CCC her concerns about people camping out with the rules of “Wild Camping” and she shared these concerns with the meeting. Discussion of the issue revealed a distinction between those properly “Wild Camping”, who follow the rules and appear to be present in generally the same numbers as usual, and others, seemingly new to Colonsay, who typically use a vehicle to travel, park on private land without permission and set up camp in prime locations, for example in and around Machrins beach, and then leave rubbish, including human waste. KB stressed his support for those “Wild Camping” particularly seeing youngsters as future visitors, and his concern about other opportunist campers. Discussion about a different mix of visitors this year, presumably due to COVID-19, noted that some new visitors seem not to be well informed about or are not in tune with following common practices on Colonsay, eg road etiquette, respect for use of private land, etc., and the loss of the usual handout to arriving visitors was noted as a possible contributing factor. How to provide arriving visitors with information during COVID was discussed and options explored including advertising on CalMac boats. The benefit of extra on-island signage was discussed, with concern about the visual impact if too widely used. Dannie Onn said CCDC plans for a campsite were currently on hold. Jan Binnie suggested approaching the problem of fly-parking in a different way, eg provide centralised, designated parking for those wishing to “Wild Camp”. Concern was noted about the absence of toilets and other facilities, particularly for those not following good “Wild Camping” practices.

After an extensive discussion it was agreed to carry this topic over to the next meeting to allow Alex Howard and Jane Howard to participate in the discussion as major land owners on Colonsay, and particularly as JH had previously expressed her serious concern about unauthorised camping of this type.


•  CCDC strategic review of CCDC business development plans

Dannie Onn reported that CCDC has engaged a consult, David Gass, to help establish an economic baseline for Colonsay to support future CCDC work. It is understood David Gass is already scheduled to speak to some CCC members, and RB volunteered to be added to the list.


•  Change of use of private properties

KB noted his concern at the ease of change of use of private properties, which might lead to an increase in the number of houses on Colonsay not being used as principle residences, ie this might lead to more second homes or holiday homes.

DONM: Tuesday 13 th October 2020 @ 6pm by ZOOM.

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