Board Meetings

AF board meeting 30 July 2009

Minute of meeting of Directors of Assynt Foundation held in the office at Glencanisp on Thursday 30th July 2009

Present Don Campbell (Chair), Patricia Robertson, Fergus Stewart, Alastair Macaskill, Davy Robb, Stephen Smith, Tony Usher.

In Attendance Mark Lazzeri (DM), Adam Pellant (PO), Helen Steven (from Item 4 to Item 8), Helen Pallett.

1. Apologies None

2. Minute of 14th May 09 Proposed Fergus, seconded Davy

3. Matters arising
Glencanisp Road: Meeting has been held with representatives of UBC, Church of Scotland and AF. UBC have since written to Church of Scotland.
Noted by the board that contrary to statement in UBC’s letter the drainage on the corner at the turn-off into UBC site has been much worse since the works.
Repair work by UBC will begin on 17th August.

4. Redevelopment Project
Lead-contractor tenders came in over budget. Specifically the prices for external works were much higher than those budgeted. In order to have sufficient contingency for possible further increased costs mid-project, we would need to be under budget before works start.
It was agreed that the lowest tender amount needs to be reduced by around £300,000 in order to leave sufficient contingency without risking overburdening AF in terms of loan requirement towards project costs.

Proposed that we advise funders that if we can’t resolve the £300,000 overspend we will not be able to proceed. All agreed.
[This issue has now been resolved and lead contractor has been appointed. AP]

5. Stalking
5.1 Deer Management Agreement: If all parties agree, the new agreement will allow/include:
Maintaining approximately the same deer densities on Drumrunie as at present,
Erecting a deer fence to restrict influx of deer into Drumrunie from the east,
Creating a cordon sanitaire area of high culling along a strip south of Suilven, to restrict spread of deer from north to south. Creation of additional fenced enclosures to protect areas of vulnerable regeneration. Opening up some existing exclosures with very dense sapling growth, to increase grazing and to provide additional shelter.
5.2 Drumrunie: DCS were not prepared to let us lease out the hind stalking on Drumrunie. Contract stalkers may be used but all hind stalking will be under close supervision from estate stalker.
Due to SNH concerns over tracking damage from increased extraction of hinds by ATV, increased boat extraction is being considered. One option for boat extraction on Sionascaig is using a collapsible boat to remove deer over Eisg Brachaidh ground.

6. Walled Garden
Some tools have been purchased. Weed suppressant has been laid. Don recently met with Ellie Wolf of Health and Happiness.
Polytunnel offered to AF: Aim is to begin the job of transporting this in mid-August.

7. Ledmore Forest
District Valuer has been instructed to produce valuation.
Grants have been approved from HIE and FC community seedcorn fund towards costs of progressing towards ballot and possible National Forest Land Scheme application. There are 56 days left from the District Valuer instruction to conduct ballot, produce business plan, and if ballot is in favour, to apply to NFLS.

8. Development manager’s report
Elphin School:
History: Highland Council were wanting to dispose of Elphin school building. Elphin residents met at the time and decided not to try to take the building on themselves. AF were then approached and asked if they might consider leasing the building.
HC have recently sent AF a list of draft items for a 25 year peppercorn lease, including that AF would be responsible for maintaining the building and would pay HC’s costs associated with organising the lease.
Action: Alastair, to put together ideas/plans for covering costs of maintaining the building.

9. Project Officer’s report
Two outstanding SRDP Statements of Intent, one for Ledbeg House and one for Tubeg Bothy: Agreed to submit both.
Pending grant application towards DM salary: Agreed to continue with this.

10. Finance
The situation is tight, especially given recent and future lack of income from lodge.

11. Newsletter
Agreed to wait until more is known on various projects.

12. AOCB
12.1 Housing: There is a meeting on 13th August with Rural Design, the company conducting the housing feasibility study. Patricia is to attend.
Stephen Smith left the meeting.
12.2 Request for use of AF boats:
A request has been received from Stephen for use of AF boats on Loch Veyatie and Cam Loch, which would include deer extraction on the Blackpoint grazings, following his obtaining a stalking lease for Blackpoint. They would only be used when not needed by AF. In return the boats, equipment, moorings etc would be maintained. All agreed.
Stephen returned.
Meeting closed 9.30pm.

Next meeting Thursday 10th September.