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Board Meetings

Board Meeting 19 August 2010

Minutes of Meeting of Directors of Assynt Foundation held in Glencanisp Lodge
on Thursday 19th August 2010

Meeting began 10.00am.
Present: Don Campbell, Patricia Robertson, Agnes Dickson, Alastair MacAskill, Tony Usher (to item 11.3), Helen Steven, Davy Robb, Jackie Yates, Mandy Haggith.
In Attendance: Mark Lazzeri, Adam Pellant, Russell Robertson, Clive Sheppard.
1. Apologies: Stephen Smith, Fergus Stewart, George Farlow.
2. Declaration of Interests: None.
3. Minutes of 8th July: Proposed Alastair, seconded Helen.
4. Matters arising:
4.1 Ledmore Forest: Is rumoured to have been sold.
4.2 Timber clearance and vehicle access: Local individual will meet to discuss in advance of any further clearance and removal of timber.
Once heavy vehicle traffic associated with redevelopment project has stopped, we will hopefully do some road repairs, then will limit heavy vehicle access, with signage on road at water treatment works corner.
Thanks to Helen for putting piece in Assynt News about access.
4.3 Sola of Lochs: Mark has written to our solicitor who will get back to us regarding various related issues.
5. Finance: New spreadsheets made in conjunction with new accountant. Action: Adam to circulate to board.
Need to organise a first claim of new HIE DM salary grant. Action: Adam.
Several big unknowns in the budget for the coming year, including post-redevelopment lodge running costs, and several large costs including salary, vehicles and loan repayments, so we need to limit spending as much as possible.
6. Assynt Development Initiative: Clive Sheppard, recently appointed Assynt Development Officer, spoke to the board. Two main topics discussed were housing, and log building for arts and crafts use. Clive suggested AF consider becoming a housing association in advance of planned housing construction. Clive offered to help with creating a business plan and seeking funding for the planned log building. While AF still aim to progress log building project, the board agreed that land would be available if the Assynt Arts Forum were to progress the log building project themselves. Clive’s post is for an 18 month period. The main projects to progress have not yet been selected, so at present Clive is working on various projects as they come up.
7. Lodge Redevelopment: Solar panels now sorted out. Some snagging, including kitchen floor repair, to be done either on Saturdays during changeovers or in empty weeks later in the low season. Remaining capital expenditure will include road repairs, water treatment equipment and any landscaping. Negotiations are ongoing regarding main contractor’s list of extra costs. Our QS has requested justification for many items.
8. Lodge Opening: There will be an opening event on Monday 27th October, to allow representatives of funders and other organisations to attend on a weekday, and a further opening event on Saturday 2nd October.
Mandy requested a reading of part of Norman MacCaig’s ‘A Man in Assynt’. Alastair’s dissent was recorded regarding any possible Sunday arrival of guests for the Monday event.
9. Staff Reports: See report.
9.1 Strategic Deer Fence SRDP proposal submission is awaiting a visit to an electric deer fence in Angus.
9.2 Tubeg Bothy Creation SRDP proposal has been submitted, but a ministerial decision that non-agriculture/forestry proposals will be postponed to Spring RPAC meeting has meant that if the project goes ahead it will need to be in 2012 rather than 2011.
9.3 Strategic Forest Plan SRDP proposal has been submitted and will soon be committed. A decision should be relatively quick, as it does not require an RPAC meeting.
10. Communications:
10.1 Helen has spoken with Clive about using the Assynt Centre to hold monthly surgeries where AF directors could be approached by community members. Agreed to hold first surgery at 1.30-2.30 on Tuesday 21st September.
10.2 Helen to write article on opening event for next Assynt News. Action: Helen.
11. AOCB:
11.1 Increased clarity was requested regarding decision making in board meetings. Agreed that in future, alongside meeting minutes, a separate actions list be circulated to directors, to increase clarity of actions and responsibilities. Action: Adam.
11.2 Agreed Davy bring progress report to next board meeting regarding log building. Action: Davy.
11.3 Walled Garden: Dorothy has submitted plans for top half of walled garden. Board all in favour of Dorothy continuing the work with David Cook in the walled garden. Action: Adam to circulate her plans to the board.
11.4 Hydro-Energy Feasibility Studies: 3 companies were interviewed following tendering period, and one company, Mott MacDonald, has now been appointed, subject to funding being approved, to produce feasibility studies examining potential hydro-energy options on the AF estates. Phase 1 of the studies will be a less detailed examination of the potential of different sites; then phase 2 will examine viable options in more detail, with ecological assessments etc. Phase 3 will detail how to progress sites AF wish to try to develop.
While opinions are welcome at any time, a wider community consultation will happen later, in relation to detailed proposals then being considered for progressing to the stage of planning permission.
It is planned that income generated from any future hydro-energy schemes will go to AF in the first instance, towards organisation costs including costs of charitable activities.
12.0 A director-only item followed regarding employment matters.

Meeting closed 1.30pm.
Next meeting: 3pm Thursday 9th September.