Public Meeting of Colonsay Community Council

Tuesday 9th February 2021 at 6pm via Video/Audio Call



Convenor Keith Rutherford (KR)

Vice Convener Alex Howard (AH)

Treasurer David Hobhouse (DH)

Secretary (interim) Jane Howard (JH)

Richard Buttrick (RB)

Liz McNicholl (LMN)

Helen Mann (HM)

Kevin Byrne KB)


The meeting was opened by Keith Rutherford who handed over to Alex Howard to chair.

•  Apologies

No apologies were received.

•  Declarations of Interest

Will be declared at appropriate points in the meeting.

DH said that he was still not convinced that the system for declaring interest was robust he, personally had never declared interest although his business(farming) was reliant on Calmac for whom he is CCC liaison.
AH felt it was best to declare interest if in any doubt.

•  Minutes of last meeting

Were accepted. Prop. Jane Howard. Sec. Richard Buttrick.

•  Matters arising

CTMG has revised the visitor guidelines as suggested last meeting.

KB & JH declared interest.

This topic will be further discussed under item 5.


Royal Mail

KR There is a new manager located in Oban who hopefully will be more open to dialogue with Colonsay.

RB asked if the problem of mis-directed mail had been resolved and KR replied that there was not a problem at present.

Mail service Impact on Businesses.

KB reported that he had had to terminate his contract with Amazon (Book sales) as he could not get supply to Amazon within their time stipulation for onward processing.

Gavin Clark , from the floor stated how important it was for his mail order business to be able to deliver items speedily.

Richard Irvine stated that it was essential to his proposed salmon smoking enterprise that products be inserted into the mainland mail system the day they left Colonsay. His proposed business plan, and subsequent employment opportunities is dependent on this.

CCC will write to Royal Mail making these points. Action JH


HM has appraised the visiting workmen at the pier of the re-cycling procedures

HM has spoken to “Sophie” about the proposed TV murder mystery programme. They have decided to use Gigha as the setting.


•  Community Resilience – Coronavirus update

Update from Dr Willetts

The vaccination program has gone well and he has secured authority to use “extra” doses to vaccinate less vulnerable members of the community. This should cover most of the adult population on Colonsay.

He hoped to have another session on Thursday11th Feb.

There have been quite a number of people reporting side effects from the vaccination, more than might be expected. This could be because of a higher incidence of reporting.

The timing of the second round has yet to be established.

Dannie Onn stated that the hall would be available on Thursday. Dr Willetts thanked him and remarked what an excellent facility it was.

RB asked if anyone had heard of any changes to Govt. guidelines?

No response.

DH said it was important not to drop guard. Dr Willetts agreed.

KR asked if next injection would be the same brand. Dr Willetts said almost definitely as it is the only one suitable for use on Colonsay due to storage requirements.


Visitor Guidelines –CTMG

JH. The guidelines s pell out the local guidelines regarding access to the shop/pantry/hotel and other pertinent information.

KB They are sent out with bookings and a fresh copy is available in holiday lets for each set of guests.

LMN asked if guidelines explained what to do if a visitor developed COVID?

JH Will add that information to the guidelines.

Dr Willets said official procedure is to phone 111. He is happy for patient to then phone him on 2000328 as the sooner he knows the better. (111 will initiate contact with him anyway)

RB asked that KB and JH examine the wording of the section on “quarantine” so isolation procedures were clear.

Colonsay Estate Workmen.

DH asked if the letter received from Colonsay Estate about workmen coming to do maintenance should be circulated round the Island. This was agreed.

Action DH & AH


•  Ferries – Update

Calmac are reviewing services in response to observations about the number of ferries running empty and subsequent fuel wastage.

HM stated that Colonsay is on the minimum lifeline service and no representation need be made by CCC.

HM responded to a query from DH that there is no information available about the summer service at present.

DH (declared interest) and raised awareness of government initiative to alter regulations on carrying livestock on ferries. Some of the proposed restrictions could make it impossible to ship livestock from Colonsay.


•  Broadband – Update

Callum Hay said there is no update and suggests item be dropped from agenda until he hears something.

KB reported that one of the mobile phone masts in Scalasaig is being heightened by 4m

AH (having declared an interest as landowner of the telecom mast site) asked if anyone had any objection to this. No objections.

AH will contact EE to find out when the new mast in Killchattan is going live.

Action AH


•  Camping – Subcommittee Questionnaire update

AH. The questionnaire asking residents their views on camping has had over 50 responses.

DH observed that the status quo seemed to be the consensus.

AH The sub-committee will discuss and report back.

Councillor Robin Currie said that A & B council were anticipating large numbers of visitors to the area this summer and would be happy to assist with needs identified by local businesses as a consequence of this.

KR asked if we could “police” wild campers.

KB No.


•  Website update

Claire Hay has produced a discussion paper and suggests the formation of a working group to investigate her suggestions.

She has identified some legislative issues that need to be addressed.

She pointed out that present websites, CCC and CCDC were not updated regularly

KB stated that the CCC website which was purely a home for the CCC minutes was in fact regularly updated. This was accepted.

DH Said there was a need to discuss if CCC needed it's own website or just a presence on the CCDC site.

Caitlin McNeill, on behalf of CCDC, requested that users who have a presence on the CCDC site need to police their own sections and submit items for updating.

AH asked that this request be mentioned in the next CCC circular. Action DH

RB suggested councillors read discussion paper and put it on the agenda for the next meeting.


•  Planning applications

JH reported that planning has been applied for the byre at No 3 Glassard and for an agricultural shed at Kilchattan.

Dannie Onn reported that the planner had visited the Island and looked at all the various applications in the pipeline including ones not yet formally submitted.


•  Any Other Business


Jenny Radford. Brought up the problem of Rat infestation.

There followed a wide ranging discussion.

Wheelie Bins were identified as an attraction as they are now plentiful and irregularly emptied. The rats have learned how to eat into the plastic ones.

New legislation makes it harder to obtain effective poison.

JH asked what was the council responsibility?

Robin Currie replied that the council do not carry out pest control anymore but still have responsibilities.

AH (Declared interest) said that when he queried the inability of the council to fulfil the weekly rubbish collection contract which the Hotel had entered into their solution was to issue more bins but empty them less frequently.

Gavin Clark raised the problem of the smell generated by the rubbish, particularly near eating establishments such as the Pantry.

AH and Gavin will present a report to Robin Currie .(A & B council) Action AH



JH will write another letter, with photographs, to A & B council highlighting the appalling condition of the roads. Action JH

Dannie Onn said there would be new roads required for the new housing project and perhaps the machinery could be utilised for both purposes.

Robin Currie wondered when last the Colonsay roads were properly maintained. Donald MacNeill, from the floor, thought it would have been in the mid eighties after the water mains was installed when the whole road was resurfaced.



Community Engagement.

Caitlin McNeill reported that CCDC were about to embark on a major project to increase community involvement and engagement with the development company and to try and find agreement on the way forward.

Caitlin will work with HM (for CCC) and are exploring various ideas.

Caitlin would be very grateful to hear from anyone who has ideas as to how best to progress this initiative.


Future of this Council

RB Introduced the topic by reviewing what has been a very difficult year for the council. The pandemic posed some substantial challenges to the council and resulted in a very heavy workload at times. He posed the following questions.

•  What is the Island perception of the council, and what do they perceive as the functions of the council?

•  Do council have energy to finish their elected term?

•  What should be the council's focus?

Sheena Nisbet from the floor thanked the council for their hard work during the year and emphasised that while it seems that their work is not appreciated there are many residents who hold a contrary viewpoint.

JH said that standing for the council was not taken lightly and councillors had to work hard to reconcile all the differing viewpoints. She suggested that a council should be re-active rather than pro-active as the council is representing issues as raised by members of the community.

Caitlin McNeill felt that there were lessons to be learned from the CCC conduct of the survey early summer 2020 regarding attitudes to visitors coming to the Island. She felt the episode had created division on the Island which had not been fully resolved.

Gavin Clark thanked CCC for their work, as did Dannie Onn who suggested it was “good to reflect”

Robin Currie said how pleased he was to be able to attend the CCC meetings by zoom as to physically attend was not practicable. He felt the council worked well and had held them up as an example of good practice on more than one occasion.

AH wondered if it might be possible to have hybrid meetings in the future.

AH suggested CCC meet “in camera” to discuss the topic but RB was uncomfortable with this as as he had received complaints about previous private meetings.

LMN suggested a staff development meeting.

RB Asked that the topic be put on the agenda for the next meeting, having asked for comment from the community.

Caitlin McNeill asked if anonymous input would be accepted.

The council agreed it would.

DH and RB will consult on the wording of a letter to the community . Action RB & DH

Donald MacNeill stated that concillors could resign at any time and that the public could pass judgement on them at the election next year .


Keith Rutherford resignation as convenor.

Keith resigned as convenor due to the difficulty of attending meetings by phone and not having access to zoom. (This was not accepted, or otherwise and will presumably be discussed at the next meeting)

The meeting closed.

•  Date of next meeting: 9th March 2021

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