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Minutes January 2023

Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council

30 January 2023
Seaview Hotel

In Attendance:

Eric Green (Chair)
Mark Gibson (Secretary)
Barry Butler (Treasurer)
Henry Gunn
Carole Whittaker
Bill Mowat

The following attempted to attend via Zoom but due to technical difficulties were unable to be

Rob James
Beatrice Farmer
Willie Mackay
Stephen Todd

1) Minutes of previous Meeting and Matters Arising
The minutes were agreed. Proposed: Carole Whittaker. Seconded: Barry Butler.
2) Chairs Report
The Chair reported that he had been in touch with the Caithness Voluntary Group who had
informed him that due to changes at CVG a different development officer would be taking
forward the work on the Dunnet and Canisbay Plan. It was hoped that the new officer would
attend the next meeting of the Community council.

3) Treasurers Report
Councillor Butler reported that the change of bank was completed and that a cheque had been
authorised to move the balance from the old account to the new one.
It was noted that £1737.90 had been received from Foundation Scotland to purchase IT kit and
that the current account stood at £3807.27. This included £1000 from the village officer fund.
Councillor Butler and councillor James would take forward the sourcing and purchase of
equipment according to the Foundation Scotland Grant requirements as soon as possible and if
necessary the Community Council would add some reserves to this.
Councillor Green noted that it would be very good for all village halls to have Wi-Fi capability.
The problem with this was not the initial installation costs but the ongoing charge for service. It
was suggested that this would be a good use of grant money and would open up all sorts of
possibilities including access to remote tuition for example.

4) Secretaries Report
It was noted that a micro grant system was being introduced with a discretionary fund of £8000
to the Community Council so that it could distribute grants of up to £250.
It was noted that other examples of help that could be provided included energy advice,
including £6000 to directly help people reduce energy costs. In rural areas such as ours, fuel
poverty could be a real problem.
It was noted that we needed to get someone to look at and manage our social media for us. A
lot of stuff was being done around the area and it would be good to publicise it.
It was noted that ideally all the Wind Farm funds should use the Foundation Scotland model.

5) Transport and Infrastructure
Councillor Whittaker gave an update and shared the minutes of the previous Caithness
Transport Forum
There were a number of issues that we were keeping a watching brief on including road, rail, air
and ferry improvements.
It was noticed that during the recent cold period some of the main roads in the area had been in
a very bad state, and it appeared in a worst state than in previous cold weather.
It was also noted that there should be a strong push at various levels to get the Kirkwall to
Edinburgh flight to stop off at Wick. This would add only a small time to the journey but make
the airport far more useful.
Power Lines
It was noted that the Community Council had not been approached with objections at this time.
The Council did however note that such infrastructure is best placed underground rather than
Power Grid Vulnerabilities
In the absence of Councillor Farmer this was remitted to the next meeting. However the it was
noted that with a storm coming over the next few days it would be interesting to see if there
were any further power outages. It was also noted that there had been some upgrade to the
infrastructure in the John O’Groats area in the last week.
Shetland Link
Councillor Mowat updated the council on what he knew about this issue and would keep the
council up to date on matters. The council gave its support to the matter.
Traffic Speed Dunnet
Councillor Gibson noted that he had raised this with Stephen Todd. It was also noted that the
Community council had previous agreed that a moveable sign (which could be placed in
different villages at different times) would be supported rather than a permanent one at
Dunnet. There were also concerns about the liabilities and responsibilities of the Community

Council if we were required to take responsibility for the sign and ongoing costs. Councillor
Gunn offered to have some conversations to take this forward, regarding a mobile speed
indicator sign.
It was also noted that many councillors did not feel that the proposed speed limit reductions
from 30mph to 20mph in some areas were justified.

6) Dunnet Church
Councillor Mowat noted that Dunnet Church had been on a list of churches within Caithness to
close. He was proposing a use of the church to house an exhibition to showcase the work of its
most famous minister, Timothy Pont the mapmaker.
Councillor Gunn noted that there was now a temporary moratorium on the closures. However
the Community Council formally noted that should this situation change then it would endorse
the exhibition proposal.

7) AOB
The Community Council acknowledged local concern over healthcare issues. Anecdotally this
seemed to be having an impact on some people’s willingness to seek help when ill. The Council
had approached NHS Highland who were very responsive to these issues and have asked us to
detail them in a letter so that they can look into the matter. One point to examine is the
availability of pharmacy dispensing services. The contract requires a 5 day a week service from
8.30 until 6pm. Is this was not the case then it would be something NHS Highland could look
Councillors were asked to send all the issues they had heard about to the Secretary so
that a list of them could be compiled and formally sent to NHS Highland after discussion
at the next meeting.

It was agreed to check on how the Lochend windfarm community benefit would operate and if it
would use the Foundation Scotland model.
Councillor Mowat noted that the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration fund had been
renamed Focus North. Councillor Whittaker noted that this seemed to be another example of
where the traditional county names were being eroded. It was wondered what areas “the North
of Mainland Scotland” would not include.
An even would be held of Focus North in February at Thurso hosted by Nicky Marr and with
Michael Matheson giving the keynote speech. It would be good if a D&CCC representative
could attend.
Councillor Butler noted that the Lyth Road end at Upper Gills was dangerous and there had
been several accidents with cars not realising there was a T Junction. Better markings, road
surface and a give way sign was urgently needed. This matter had been raised with Raymond
Bremner but no action had been taken yet.

Date of Next Meeting 27th March


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