Public Ordinary Meeting of Colonsay Community Council
Tuesday 5th October 2021 at 6.30pm via Video/Audio Call
Convener Alex Howard
Secretary Jane Howard
Treasurer Kevin Byrne
All councillors were present.
Councillor Alastair Redman (ABC) present.
There were approximately 20 members of the public in attendance.
2. Declarations of interest
Will be recorded at appropriate points in the meeting.
Recording of meeting was noted.
3. Minutes of public meeting held on Wed 25th Aug.
Minutes proposed to be accepted by JH, seconded by RI.
4. Matters arising
JH raised the question of whether there was an ongoing requirement for the CCC to help with the raising of concerns of some constituents with regard to the proposed Port Mhor housing development. AH asked if there was any update from Rhona Robinson (RR) or Dannie Onn (DO). DO said no and that the CCDC has said its piece. RR reported that she sent out a letter to the residents of Colonsay. About 43 people responded to her letter, the majority glad to have more background information and wished to see a survey carried out by a body independent of CCC and CCDC. RR feels that a community survey would put to bed the division in the community over the housing at Port Mhor. RR would be happy to go along with whatever the majority community view is.
AH said that it may be difficult to find an independent body to conduct the survey. KB said that it should be done by ABC. AH said that Robin Currie had made it clear the ABC could not help with conducting a survey.
From the floor it was asked if there is to be a survey about the Port Mhor housing and if there could be a survey of any planning permission granted for houses at Queens Bay.
AH declared an interest and withdrew from discussion and handed over the question to RI. RI explained that the land at Port Mhor is owned by the community through the CCDC whereas the land at Queens Bay is owned by a private individual. There is a mechanism through the planning process to object to a planning application. The issue around the Port Mhor housing is that it is on land owned by the Community.
The questioner said s/he has concerns about the planning process.
DO said that of course the Port Mhor housing has been through the planning process.
From the floor was raised the suggestion that a correction needs to be made by RR in her letter. RR said that the letter included a mistake re Jenni Minto's involvement with housing on Islay. DO suggested that an email could be sent around with the correction.
( Post meeting addendum
Action – it was agreed with Jenni Minto that it would be sufficient that Rhona Robinson could add in a retraction from Rhona's letter to the community into the CCC Minutes. The sentence to be retracted is:
“Jenni Minto MSP told us that a similarly unpopular development in Islay was moved and refunded following local objections .”)
The same questioner from the floor raised an issue over protecting the track to the Port Mhor houses. S/he said that getting WHHA to upgrade the track would be best and asked about positioning of boulders on the track? AH asked the Councillors if the “track” was an issue for the CCC or for individual landowners? RI agreed that while there are few forums for this sort of issue to be raised, he feels that the CCC is not the right forum. KB said that the issue is not for the wider public, it is a matter for the individual landowners concerned. JH agreed.
DO asked if a meeting with an independent chair with the concerned parties may be useful to try and resolve the track issues. AH thought that this sounded sensible.
5. Financial Report
MOWI has contributed another £14,000 to the Community Benefit Fund (CBF).
The bank forms have been submitted for change of signatories etc. RI and KB will be signatories and should shortly be able to make payments.
An error in the Community Fund administration has come to light that an award made to Jen MacNeill was not fully drawn down and this had not been accounted for. The sum is for £466 for her music session work prior to the pandemic. KB would like to pay this sum over once he has the facility to do so. This underlines the need to correctly Minute all awards by the CBF.
Declaring an interest, KB manages the marine litter project, and a sum of £300 pa was awarded to the project by the CBF towards the cost of the quad bike for 5 years. KB plans to claim this entire sum of £1500 from the at the end of the 5 years which falls at the end of 2022. Most costs of the marine litter project are met privately.
KB also plans to claim the cost of hosting the CCC website of £127.18 at the end of the financial year.
Although we have been slightly in arrears in the CCC current account, we no longer pay for the Minute taker and we should now be able to reimburse the website costs without going into deficit.
RI proposed that payment should be made to Jen MacNeill and AH seconded.
AH approved reimbursement of KB's website costs
6. Coronavirus update
The doctor sent out a bulletin stating that booster vaccines for over 50s should be carried out in the next month or so. KB asked that we confirm that people returning or visiting the island should take a lateral flow test.
JH said that there has been a lot of concern in the community re the poor resilience of the ferry service recently. JH said that this is not Calmac's fault as it is due to the lack of investment by government in new ferries. However, JH does write to complain to our Calmac area manager, Don McKillop, whenever there is a loss of Colonsay service.
JH wondered if we should lobby for more compensation for customers and businesses to try and incentivise the government to invest in the ferries. KB thought it unlikely to have much impact and would be very difficult to manage. AH thought we could ask the community if any action is required.
8. Royal Mail
Nothing to report, we still have no response which is frustrating. AH suggested that the CCC writes to our MSP highlighting this issue.
9. Use of Calmac Ferry Car park and EV charging point
JH reported that Scott Goodwill of Calmac has responded to say that as soon as the workmen return to finish the pier, the EV charging point will be made accessible and will be available if it works. JH has forwarded the email to Andrew Abrahams. JH has got a call booked with Don McKillop on Wednesday to discuss the use of the car park.
JH has written an email to ABC regarding the roads and to point out that the recent repairs are already disintegrating and present a hazard to cyclists especially. No response yet.
11. Community Benefit Fund
RI said nothing to report. He suggested that we tighten up on governance. He also suggested that we now form a bigger and longer serving awards committee and keep the applications rolling in and have them assessed as they come in. The applications would be assessed within a reasonable time frame. AH suggested that RI drafts a new protocol for the application process.
From the floor it was suggested that a committee was appointed for around 6 months to enable the applications to be assessed in a timely way. RI also thought that a committee of around 10 may be helpful so that there is always a sufficient number of committee members to meet and be quorate.
No planning applications.
JH said that she had been asked by a member of the community to bring up the school roll. The party in question said that s/he does not have a specific question but wanted to raise it as an issue. S/he said there is the risk of the school shutting and also existing families leaving the island because it is not viable any longer. JH said that what we are always trying to do on the CCC is to ensure our public services are good enough to make the island an attractive place to live whether that is looking at broadband, ferry services, school, employment opportunities and the high school hostel situation etc. The CCC will continue to bring to the attention of the local authority and other public bodies anything that the Colonsay community wishes us to address. We do need a specific issue to raise however.
From the floor was raised the point that the community should work together to build more houses in Scalasaig to bring more families to Colonsay rather than fighting over the proposed Port Mhor houses. S/he asked could someone else conduct a community survey re the Port Mhor houses. AH responded that the CCC has done what it can to help facilitate the discussion but if the community does not want the CCC to conduct the survey then those concerned constituents have to find someone else to do it. KB suggested the University of the Highlands and Islands, UHI.
DO said the CCDC is working to ensure the sustainability of the island. They are conducting “community profiling” to determine what will make a sustainable community and bring enough children to keep the school viable. The CCDC will present its findings to the community and the CCC in 1 year.
From the floor: it is important that young families can rent properties.
From the floor: s/he hopes that some young families will move into the houses at Scalasaig as it is important.
AH agreed that there is a lot of hope in the Scalasaig houses bringing more families.
From the floor: the new houses will be filled by people on the island and we need other houses to rent for families to move here.
Alastair Redman said that we need to work hard to keep the primary school open as it is so important to a small rural community.
From the floor it was reported that s/he has had eggs stolen from the croft twice.
KB said that incidents of theft and anti social behaviour should be reported to the police. AH and KB both spoke to our policeman, Jeremy Moore, who said that nothing had been reported to the police as far as he, Jeremy, was aware with regard to any of the incidents that have been raised in recent CCC meetings. AH said that sometimes incidents may be reported to the police but may not have been passed on to Jeremy Moore in Oban.
KB stressed that it is really important to report incidents to the police and preferably to Jeremy Moore.
14. Date of next meeting
Tuesday December 7th .
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