Board Meetings

Board Meeting May 2011

Draft Minutes of Assynt Foundation Board Meeting
5 p.m. 12th May 2011
Glencanisp Office, Lochinver


Mark Lazzeri, Development Officer
Patricia Robertson, Chair
Jacqui Yates, Director
Andy Summers, Director
Stephen Smith, Director,
Fergus Stewart, Director
Helen Steven, Director

In attendance: Alex Dickson
Bill and Val Badger

1. Apologies:
Agnes Dickson, Director

Meeting began 5.05 p.m.

Declaration of interests: None

(Agenda items were taken in a different order)

November Minutes: It was agreed that the Board has previously approved the minutes from 11th Nov. 2010 as sent round by Adam earlier this week, but to avoid confusion they were approved again. Proposed by Stephen, seconded by Patricia.

Staff Contracts, Salaries and Line Management:
Helen has kindly agreed to line manage for Mark, Adam and Jane with help and advice from other Directors as necessary and the Board expressed their thanks to her for agreeing to do this.

Financial Report:
Stephen said there was nothing significant to report.

Policies and Procedures:
Russell Robertson is well on with compiling these and handbooks will be available soon.

Notice Boards:
Agnes has undertaken to work on notice boards to be put at the car park and Mark has been looking into the options for increasing the car-parking space for walkers.
A letter has been received from Sarah Nelson of the University of Edinburgh drawing attention to the shortage of parking space and requesting information boards regarding mountain safety. Helen has agreed to write back informing them of our plans, but we agreed not to be too prescriptive about safety. Mark and Patricia will look into passing place signs and Agnes will arrange for a donations box to be installed. An information brochure was also suggested for the future.

Walled Garden:
Fergus reported that the top half of the garden has now been gone over with a digger and work is about to start on the raised beds. Stuart Belshaw will reframe the gate. Fergus is to go ahead and order a larch garden shed and tools and we will invite people to participate in a community garden. We would also hope to rebuild the wall.

Sporting Sub-group:
Stephen Smith attended an interesting meeting of the West Sutherland Fisheries Group. He also reported on a project to train local people to trap mink. Andy Summers has a note of where the mink rafts are situated.

Minutes of last meeting:
Approved by Helen Steven, seconded by Jacqui Yates.

Matters arising:
Patricia Robertson has been in contact with Clive Sheppard about the TLC accounts which will be available on the Companies’ House web-site.
Clive is still waiting for a meeting with Richard Heggie about Lochinver development plans.
There was some discussion about whether to have paintings for sale at the Lodge. It was agreed in principle to allow artists to display their work, but they would have to arrange their own insurance. As we were unclear about the insurance position it was agreed to defer the decision. Alex will bring Angus Macdonald’s paintings down to the Lodge.
Forest Plan: Mark has material from Robin Noble and Donna. A forestry graduate student could be available to work on placement. Andy will see Robin about it.
NFU insurance: Negotiations are underway. At present we are protected based on an estimated valuation. We need to have an up-to-date valuation. It was agreed to wait until Ledbeg House was being valued.
Machinery removal is ongoing.
Andy reported that the eagles haven’t nested in front of the cameras.

Staff Report:
LEADER enquiry form has been submitted, in regard to a possible application for grant towards redeveloping uninhabitable buildings including Ledbeg House and Stalker’s Bothy, and developing ruins of Tubeg House into a Bothy, in partnership with MBA.
Possible land management funding sources were discussed.

Micro-hydro scheme:
Mott Macdonald have given a more detailed costing. The closer schemes seem to be the more attractive option. Achiltibuie is also looking into a similar project. A voltage regulator would be required and it might be possible to share the cost. An environmental impact assessment will be discussed with SNH.

Lodge snagging has been carried out. Problems with the sewage pump and the solar panels have been fixed. The lighting is to be put onto a time switch or a PIR system.

Report on the fire:
Mark gave a detailed account of the fire and attempts to control it from the first report on Sunday 1st May until it was finally brought under control on Wednesday 4th. From an early stage it was obvious that a helicopter was required, and Mark spent most of Monday 2nd raising the required £10K. AF, John Muir Trust, Scottish Wildlife Trust, local landowners and Scottish Natural Heritage all contributed. However, in spite of enormous effort about 1,000 hectares of land has been damaged. A contingency fund is now being set up to enable a quick response to any future events of this kind, and discussions are being held to look into prevention measures. Andy described a scheme to spread lime to create a fire barrier of richer grass and thus attract deer away from re-forestation.

Including the VAT the total bill will be £11,145 and the long-term damage to wildlife is very serious.

The Board expressed a huge thank you to Mark, Adam and all the others who worked so hard to deal with the emergency.

Next Meeting ; Thursday 9th June at 5.00 p.m. Glencanisp Office