Minutes 8th June 2016

Strachur District Community Council

Minutes of General Meeting

Held 19:30 on Wednesday 8th June 2016, Strathlachlan Community Centre

Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), Kirstie Reid, Les Earle (Secretary)

Also in attendance: Cllr Alex McNaughton, Ian Asher (on behalf of the PPG) and one member of the public.

1. Convener’s opening remarks: Archie opened the meeting and there was a brief discussion as to whether we were quorate (we were.)

2. Apologies and declarations of interest: Apologies from CCllr Iain Wilkie. No declarations of interest.

3. Minutes: Minutes for the meeting held on 13th April 2016 were agreed as accurate.

4. Matters arising:

a. Cllr McNaughton had been in correspondence with Stuart Watson (A+B, the person now said to have responsibility for this area of activity) and Lyndis Davidson re the promised traffic assessment in Strachur. The equipment was now available and once the software was set-up the machine would be deployed.

b. Cllr McNaughton reported that scrub clearance requested by the CC [Les re the single track section of the A886] was being considered in addition clearance on the B840 was promised – though nobody was quite sure where the B840 is.

c. Cllr McNaughton has had no response from the officer looking into expanding the area of the cemetery. He will continue to try.

d. Now that the new financial year has arrived Cllr McNaughton would renew his efforts re the deteriorating church wall.

e. The lack of pavement in the Bay area (PO side of the road). Cllr McNaughton said that there was nothing to report at present but he would continue to monitor the situation.

f. Archie has been in touch with Willie Lynch to confirm that the CC wishes to continue as a member of the Cowal Caucus.

g. Les notified the PPG that there was no volunteer from the CC for the Integration Joint Board.

h. Les notified the Strachur and District Community Benefit Fund that he and Kirstie would be the CC representatives.

i. Community Partnership had, at a distant meeting, suggested that community groups might be paid to take on low-level maintenance tasks. There was no mention of this at the last meeting.

5. Police Report: There was no Police report.

6. Health Report: There was no Health Report but Ian reported that Heather had been attending the Integration Joint Board meetings.

7. Secretary’s Report: Les had nothing to add to that mentioned elsewhere on the agenda.

8. Treasurer’s report: There was no Treasurer’s Report.

9. Transport update: No report currently as the next meeting is due next Friday. At the meeting it was hoped to clarify who precisely could be excluded (and in what circumstances) from a service bus.

10. Lephinmore West Forest Plan (LWFP): Last year the CC responded to a consultation re the LWFP expressing concern that the B8000 be used for log extraction. We suggested co-ordinating with Lephinmore East and the Forestry Commission, all of whom plan to harvest in much the same time frame, to utilise/improve existing forest tracks - sadly this has been, “judged prohibitively expensive”. Les drafted a letter, shown to the meeting, voicing our objection and disappointment – a copy of this letter would be sent to A+B Roads.

Cllr McNaughton reported that Council Officers were in discussion with the Timber Transport Group over a draft plan that would allow up to six lorries a day!

11. Boundary Commission Report: Les distributed a letter of thanks to the Local Government Boundary Commission (LGBC). The LGBC had taken on board the public request to not split Strachur over two wards and to maintain the geographic/administrative integrity of the Cowal district.

Michael Russell MSP was to write to Kevin Stewart MSP (the minister to implement the new boundary arrangements) asking for the status quo to be maintained and the new proposal of the LGBC that there be a combined Bute and Cowal ward to be rejected. The meeting was of the opinion that the CC should add its voice to the call for the status quo.

12. Any Other Business:

a. Iain MacGregor reported the latest stage of the BT Openreach saga. As previously recorded the quality of the cable (aluminium instead of copper) and the way in which the telephone cables were strung along the trees at Strathlachlan and along the shoreline elsewhere were leading to poor quality connection.

Contact had been made with Alan Robbins, Openreach Manager Greenock, and he had visited Iain and inspected the run of the line. By a happy coincidence the SSE tree cutting team were undertaking their own inspection of trees likely to bring down power or BT cables. Mr Robbins was suitably shocked and has written saying that he has taken personal responsibility for the issue – he is to send a team of engineers for a full inspection with a view to replacing sections, remake joints, change poles, re-routing, etc. It was agreed that Les would take over the business of maintaining contact.

Iain was thanked for his dogged perseverance on this matter.

b. Broadband, Iain had struck up a conversation with engineers and they had expressed scepticism about improved broadband along the B8000 (irrespective of dodgy BT lines) because of the distance from kerbside (what kerbs?) green boxes.

Cllr McNaughton reported that the name of the A+B officer responsible for liaising on broadband roll-out is Gerry McDonald and gave his phone number.

c. Japanese knotweed spraying. Iain has prepared an article for the July newsletter and been in contact with Scottish Water to ensure that they remember their responsibilities for the area around Strachur tank.

d. Iain had previously reported that the Graveyard at Strathlachlan had suffered a degree of waterlogging. A few years ago an additional drainage pipe was installed this solved the problem for a time but last winter the flooding reappeared. Now that the weather is a bit drier a team from A+B has been rodding the drainage pipes but are not certain that this will alleviate the problem. Further work has been delayed by sickness in the team.

At the end of AOB Archie made the presentation of a photo montage of the Strathlachlan area to Iain as a mark of the community’s regard for the work he had put in over the years to make the Strachur district a better place in which to live. The campaigns that Iain had pursued with dogged determination are numerous but without doubt his relentless correspondence and telephone calls made Scottish water finally replace the water main in Strathlachlan. It is said that even on a calm day the Japanese knotweed trembles as he passes. It is fitting that on the day of his last CC meeting there is good news from BT – yet another corporation bows to the inevitability of Iain’s implacable will.

In responding Iain advised that most of the big corporations hope you will give up and go away, the secret is to stick at it. In this he led by example.

Iain leaves shortly for Australia and all present wished him well for the future.

13. Date of next meeting: 19:30, Wednesday 17th August 2016 at the Strathlachlan Community Centre .

Les Earle, Secretary, Strachur District Community Council

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