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Initiative At The Edge - Meetings

South East Caithness Development Group

Minutes of meeting
Dunbeath Community Hall
7th March 2006



Iain Gunn (Chair)
Ian Hargrave (HC)
Eann Sinclair (CASE)
Niall Smith (CVG)
Douglas Henderson (Food for Thought)
Paul Worthington (Rumster Outdoor Centre)
Chris Nixon (Forestry Commission)
Stephen Fraser (Forestry Commission)
Neil Buchanan
Elizabeth Cameron
Margaret Irvine
Patty Niemann
Cath Whittles
Eric Larnach (IatE) 

Alison Gunn
Carole Darmady
Gladys Lyon
Emma Sanderson 

Previous Minutes:

Minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as a true record

Proposed: N Buchanan Seconded: M Irvine

Matters Arising:


Food for Thought Presentation by Douglas Henderson
Douglas gave an introduction to polytunnels, their costs approximately 3,500 to 15,000 for ones similar to those at Spittal, which he erected himself. Douglas indicated that some funding may be available for the purchase of a polytunnel. He also discussed a possible co-operative approach to buying and selling vegetables, and a possible box scheme. A bag of fresh vegetables picked earlier that day was passed around.
For further information Douglas can be contacted at:
Food for Thought
Telford House
Williamson Street
Work tel: 01955609965
Home tel: 01955603453
Email: douglas@cvg.org.uk

Youth at Dunbeath
Draft constitution supplied to Neil Buchanan.
Funding for a youth leader at Lybster has been agreed with HC for 5 hours per week for 40 weeks. This post is to be advertised.

Dunbeath and Lybster - Steel band participation event took place in Lybster Community Centre on Friday 24th February. All who took part thoroughly enjoyed the event and would look forward to a follow up event.

Indoor golf project was postponed on Friday 3rd March due to the bad weather. A new date has not yet been agreed.

A beauty and hairdressing session for Dunbeath youth and Lybster Youth Club is to be held in Lybster on Friday 17th March at 7.00pm.

A meeting is to be arranged to see if there is interest in forming a youth club within Dunbeath. A committee and youth leaders need to be identified.

Transport It was agreed a working group be formed to progress this project: Gladys Lyon, Eann Sinclair (CASE), Alison Gunn and LDO.

Several issues were discussed including no public transport available out of Wick travelling South after 5.30pm. It was agreed this would disadvantage job opportunities for South East Caithness residents at the new Argos and Homebase stores and in the near future the proposed Tesco store.
Ian Hargrave to look into Highland Council position on subsidised transport.
Caithness Rural Transport - Coreen Campbell - to be contacted to discuss transport availability/information.

We are awaiting outcome of application by Rapsons Bus Company for two additional services. It is hoped to start the two new runs around 20th March 06.
1. Depart Dunbeath 6pm arrive Wick approx 6.50pm (Monday Saturday)
2. Depart Wick 8.15pm arrive Dunbeath approx 9.05pm (Monday Saturday)

Meeting held with Caithness Rural Transport (CRT). As CRT will have a vehicle available in April 06, a 1 year pilot scheme has been agreed and will be available from late April 06 in the Dunbeath area. The vehicle will be located in Dunbeath.
Gladys Lyon has identified 6 volunteer drivers.
Funding issues were discussed - SECDG are to provide 500 and Billy Mowat HC will provide 200 towards the funding package.
Dunbeath have enlisted five voluntary drivers who were to attend a MIDAS training event in CVS offices in Wick on Saturday 4th March but had to be rescheduled for Saturday 18th March due to the bad weather. Rapsons start date to be confirmed.

Tennis Court Dunbeath
Funding for tennis court approved by CASE.
Funding for tennis court approve by Awards for All.
Funding for Portormin Road fence approved by CASE.
Building application now with HC for erection of the fence at Portormin Road.

Lybster Playgroup Premises / Drop In Centre for the Youth options have been established, sketches now with Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) for relocation of electric poles and transformer. Letter sent to SSE regarding funding. Quotes received from Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) (5,000 - 7,000). Shena Macbeath Community Centre is to arrange a meeting with the Playgroup and Youth Club to discuss funding. This will be discussed at the Community Centre AGM.
Ian Hargrave confirmed that the poor quality of accommodation for Lybster Playgroup has been flagged up to Highland Council and a solution is currently being investigated.
Local land owner has give consent to relocate poles/transformer into adjacent field.
It is the 50th anniversary of Lybster Gala this year (2006) and a lot of effort will be going into making this a success. As a result the hall extension is on hold.
The committee are looking into the purchase of an ISO container that would be used to store hall equipment. The ISO container would be located at the rear of the hall.
Ian Hargrave to provide update on Highland Council playschools investigation now with Graham Nicols and Lindsay Gunn to resolve.

Day Care Centre Dunbeath
The tables and chairs are now at Portland Hall Berriedale.
Awaiting information from Day Care Centre for further furniture requirements etc, possible Awards for All application.

Meeting held with Caithness Rural Transport (CRT). As CRT will have a vehicle available in April 06, a 1 year pilot scheme has been agreed and will be available from late April 06 in the Dunbeath area. The vehicle will be located in Dunbeath.
Gladys Lyon has identified 6 volunteer drivers.
Funding issues were discussed - SECDG are to provide 500 and Billy Mowat HC will provide 200 towards the funding package

Footpaths Andrew Gunn is to do feasibility study for paths in the Lybster Community Council area after discussions with David Barclay Access Officer and Marina Swanson Ranger. Marina to contact Andrew re small project clearing path at Lybster/Forse coastal route - requires volunteers. Project to take place in October/November. Andrew supplied with insurance information.
Andrew Gunn confirmed the costal path clearing project had been successfully completed, and gave special mention to Marina Swanson and her volunteers.

David Shaw from SNH, Marina Swanson HC and LDO attended a site visit to the Brethren Well on Tuesday 21st February 06. This was followed by a meeting with David Shaw, Andrew Gunn, Marina Swanson and LDO to discuss the path and possible funding. Andrew and Marina are to progress this application.

Mobile Sheep Dipper & Mobile Cattle Crush meeting to be arranged with Magnus Henderson and existing buying group.
Magnus Henderson is to arrange a meeting of local crofters to progress this project. He confirmed he would be requiring support to progress this project in early 2006.

Lybster Outdoor Bowling Club to replace the outdated heating system with a more efficient system and to provide loft insulation. Funding approved from Awards for All.
Contractor is to supply further information on proposed heating system.

Housing Survey A housing survey is to be carried out by Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT). A press release was co-ordinated with the issue of the surveys. A draft report for both community council areas was produced by the end of December 2005.
It was agreed to review the documents prior to Di being invited to attend the next meeting on 7th February 06.
Di Alexander and Ronnie Macrae from Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) and Alan Paul from Pentland Housing Association (PHA) attended the meeting on 7th Feb 06.
Di gave his report highlighting a few key areas:
The very dramatic decline in the number of children attending Dunbeath School over the last 30 years. Also a decline at Lybster School.
Need for affordable housing.
Decline in rented accommodation available.
Large number of houses needing repair.
Di indicated the survey was a good indicator, but potentially there is a greater need as only 25% - 35% return on the survey.
Di had presented the report to the Caithness Housing Forum on 3rd February in Wick and the response from all present appeared to be very favourable.
HSCHT are to contact Highland Council regarding conducting an external survey of the area, and it was agreed that they contact Dunbeath Estate and Berriedale Estate regarding land and housing.

Di Alexander and Ronnie Macrae from HSCHT and Alan Paul from Pentland Housing Association attended our development group meeting on 7th February 06 where it was agreed they would arrange a meeting with Ian Hargrave from Highland Council to discuss the way forward with the findings from the housing survey. A meeting has been arranged for 15th March. Housing Clinics are to be held in the local community, but will not take place until after the above meeting on the 15th March.

Renewable Energy
Steering Group

A steering group was formed to progress renewable energy/wind farms:
Iain Gunn, Kelvin Worth, Alex Calder, Andrew Gunn, Niall Smith, Neil Buchanan, Miles Greenford, Eric Larnach.
A meeting was held with Elizabeth Marshall to discuss the heat and power scheme in Wick and any interest she may have in Rumster Forest. The heat and power scheme is due to be operational by December 2006, initially supplying up to 600 houses. When fully operational the scheme will require approximately 32,000 tons of woodchip. Approximately 6,000 tons of trees can be felled annually from Rumster Forest. The Heat and Power scheme hope that Rumster will be able to provide woodchip in the near future.
Site visits are to be arranged with Anna Macconnell and Sandy Murray at Borgie & Forsinard Forests who are part of the North Sutherland Community Forestry Trust. Forsinard have recently purchased a wood chipper and a saw mill. Two full time and one part jobs have been created with no jobs losses to Forestry Commission staff.
A meeting was held with Jon Priddy HIE Community Energy Unit on Monday 24th October in Lybster Community Centre. Jon provided information about Community Owned Wind Farms. Jon was optimistic about our proposal, and indicated he would be happy to be involved.
Jon also gave us an introduction to Forest Management.
He has recommended we set up a company to progress any renewable energy projects.
Iain Gunn gave a review or the work done to date of the Renewable Energy Working Group. The possibility of buying Rumster Forest was discussed and it was agreed that this could be of a real benefit to the local community and should be thoroughly investigated. It was agreed that a company should be formed with the intention of Management of Rumster Forest. CASE is to be contacted regarding support for a Feasibility Study and thorough Consultation. Niall Smith is to prepare a draft Memorandum & Articles.
Iain Gunn gave a report on our recent visits to Forsinard, Borgie and Abriachan Forests.
LDO gave feedback from the Biodiversity Seminar he attended in Elgin, where concerns were expressed regarding the value of wood chip.
A feasibility study is to start in January 06.
Funding for Consultation process is being investigated.
It was agreed by all present to progress this project.
Monday 13th Feb 06 Meeting held with renewable energy working group and Forestry Commission staff and management.
Monday 27th Feb 06 Received Rumster Forest feasibility study from ROCLPlus Ltd.
The renewable energy working group gave its recommendations from the preliminary feasibility study to the group which were as follows:
To purchase a suitable piece of land from the Forestry Commission for a small community owned wind farm under 5 mega watts in total.
A management agreement on the rest of the forest.
To set up a group to include all interested parties in the recreational aspects of the forest.
Both Forestry Commission representatives Chris Nixon and Stephen Fraser who attended the meeting indicated they were pleased with the working group recommendations. They invited the development group for a site visit to be arranged with LDO.
A meeting to discuss the recommendations by the renewable energy working group is to be arranged with the Forestry Commission.

All agreed that the press release about the progress to date was good.

It was agreed a new project be added to our project plan Dunbeath Strath Pathway phase 1.

Local Development Plan
It was agreed to progress projects wherever possible. We may need to prioritise projects at a later date.

Next Meeting
4th April 2006
Clyth Community Hall

Eric Larnach
Tel: 01593731455