10 September 2008
Minutes of the Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council meeting held in Canisbay Hall on Wednesday 10 September 2008 at 7.30pm.
John Green – Chair
Chris Hobson - Vice Chair
Irene Hendrie – Secretary
Keith Muir – Treasurer
Willie MacKay - Cllr
Alex Macmanus – Ward Mgr’s Team
Lesley Cranna SNH
Sandy Kerr EMEC
David Flear - Cllr
1. SNH Extension of Special Protection Areas
Lesley Cranna gave a short talk on the proposed extension of the special protection areas. Razorbill, guillemot fulmar and puffin were said to be in decline and extending the protection area might address this by providing a zone at the foot of cliffs where birds could preen, loaf etc. A period of consultation ending on 22 September 2008 was taking place and it would hopefully ascertain if the proposed boundaries were right. Sandy Kerr explained his role in advising SNH and working as a consultant to the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. He stressed that commercial development of marine energy was some way off and that little was known about the possible effects of such operations. SNH was working with the industry to identify and mitigate any possible environmental issues. The following points were raised and were not resolved during questions from members and the public:
· No evidence existed to explain the decline in bird numbers
· Two of the four species mentioned were not in decline
· It was unclear what benefit there would be to the general environment and to birds in particular. The extension might not bring about an increase in bird numbers.
· SNH was already a consultee in any Environment Impact Assessment making the proposed extension unnecessary
· A large area of the Caithness coastline would be affected compared to Orkney. This could create difficult business environment for commercial operations such as fishing, tourism or marine energy.
· There were no assurances that existing activities such as fishing could continue in the future as SNH would be able to stop such activity under the extension
Action Secretary to write to SNH re objections
2. Minutes of the last meeting were adopted
Proposed Eric Green Seconded John Green
3. Treasurers report
The balance at the Clydesdale bank was £174.47. The members agreed to transfer the bank account to the Bank of Scotland where it would be easier to get statements and interest would be paid on the balance. Proposed Eric Green
Seconded Irene Hendrie
4. Freswick Post Box
Royal Mail had agreed to move the Freswick post box off the main road and reposition in beside the bus shelter.
5. Gate at St Johns
A letter had been received form the Crofters Commission requesting the gate be removed. Action Secretary to arrange removal
Chris Hobson to inform access officer
6. John O Groats developments
Roy Kirk had not forwarded a project plan and timeline for the above development as agreed at the June meeting Action Secretary to write to Roy Kirk
7. Any other business
· ScottishPower Renewables Scoping document
The scoping document covered all the areas of interest to the community. It highlighted two possible sites for a demonstration array - South Ronaldsay and Stroma. Stroma might be less attractive for investment if it were the subject of a SPA extension. No such designations existed in Orkney. The proposal was broadly welcomed.
Action Secretary to invite Dr Becker to a meeting to discuss in more detail
· Leasing of seabed
The Crown Estate would begin the process of leasing the seabed in the Pentland Firth in the next few weeks.
Action Secretary to write to Crown Estate and request meeting
· Post office services
Confirmation has been received of the mobile services in Canisbay.
Action Secretary to check the ongoing reliability of service
· Broch Centre, Freswick
Work would begin in September on the refurbishment of the Broch Centre in Auckengill
HIE had confirmed that the John O’ Groats exchange had been upgrade to provide a full ADSL service. Six residents who had registered their inability to receive broadband due to the distanced from the exchange would have the service provided by Avanti
· Gaelic Signs
The Highland Council was planning to replace tourist signs for Dunnet forest with bilingual signs. There had been assurances that Gaelic signs would only be introduced as existing signs became old and needed replacement. The existing signs were in good condition.
Action Alex MacManus to look into this
· Durran Wind Farm
Dunnet residents were concerned about the proposed wind farm at Durran. SSE Generations Ltd had lodged a planning application. The members agreed to write to planning as they had done before in the case of the Spittal Hill wind farm. The next meeting would be held in Dunnet Hall to better gauge the feeling of Dunnet residents prior making representations. Cllr Willie MacKay took no part in planning discussions
· Paths of All
Funding was available for creating paths that would encourage people to walk instead of using transport
· Data Protection
The community council had registered with the Information Commissioner the fee being £35
· Association of Caithness Community Councils
The annual membership fee was due
Action Treasurer to send £20 to Jean Lipa
8. The next meeting would take place on Wednesday 8 October 2008 at 7.30 in Dunnet hall.