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Board Meetings

Board Meeting 21 November 2007

Minute of board meeting of Assynt Foundation held at AF office, Glencanisp, on Thursday 21st November 2007 at 7.00pm

Present: Claire Belshaw (Chair), Robbie Mackenzie, Agnes Dickson, Don Campbell, Patricia Robertson, Ted Matheson, Davy Robb, Claire Ford.

In attendance: Bill Ritchie (Assynt.Biz chair), Mark Lazzeri (Development Manager), Adam Pellant (Project/Marketing Officer), Brenda Gibson, Sharon Bartram, Dorothy Callus.

1. Apologies: Patricia Filmer-Sankey.

2. Minute of meeting 11th October 2007: Proposed Don Campbell; seconded Ted Matheson.

3. Matters arising
3.1 Sport for all: Application form for a grant to purchase sailing dinghies and trailer is nearly ready to send.
3.2 Landfill Tax Credit Scheme Application: The application for a grant for the South Loch Assynt Woodland Restoration Project has been recommended for approval by Highland Council.
3.3 Woodcock: A statement has been written by Mark in support of the board’s previously agreed position in favour of allowing woodcock shooting.
3.4 Inveruplan: The community postal ballot has been held and counted on the question, “Do you support the Assynt Foundation’s aim to buy and manage Inveruplan, near Lochinver if the Scottish Government grants a Community Right to Buy (subject to funding)?” 441 valid papers were returned of 818 issued, meaning a percentage return of 53.9%. The result was 276 votes in support and 165 votes against (62.6% in favour and 37.4% against).
A letter has been sent very recently to the Scottish Government requesting consent for a community right to buy. If consent is granted and if the purchase and management of Inveruplan by AF was deemed to be feasible, we would have until mid February to raise £220,000.
A site visit to Inveruplan was undertaken today by some directors and the DM.
3.5 Estate Plan: We are still awaiting feedback from SNH on the recent draft of the Estate Plan.
3.6 Housing: A seminar on sustainable housing was attended by Pat Robertson, who acted as a speaker at the seminar. Report to follow. Thanks to Pat.
3.7 Trainee Stalkers: Joseph MacKay has joined us as a trainee stalker. Welcome to Joseph.
3.8 Open Day: The open day at Glencanisp Lodge was a great success. Thanks to Agnes and everyone else who helped or attended. All agreed to moneys raised at open days to be ring-fenced for using to improve communications.
4.0 Development Manager’s Report
4.1 Housing: Pat Robertson has kindly agreed to be acting chair of the housing sub-group. A meeting of the sub-group is to be arranged soon. It has been suggested that another HSCHT surgery be held. It is important to demonstrate significant need for housing at Glen Canisp.
Ronnie Macrae of HSCHT has encouraged us to meet with the policy department of Albyn Housing, to discuss possible options. Agreed.
4.2 Stalking: The stag cull totalled 134 beasts. This was 14 beasts over our target, 10 of which were the additional 10 beasts which SNH had requested that we take off Drumrunie. We have discovered since that the agreement which we and representatives of SNH believed to be in place, regarding payment by SNH for this extra effort, was not the case. The actual amount which is now being offered by SNH for the extra effort on Drumrunie is based upon cost calculations which we feel do not reflect the real costs associated with the taking of beasts from Drumrunie.
4.3 JMT: We have now received the payment of £15,000 for this year’s land management grant.
Following a meeting with JMT representatives, it has been agreed to continue with their representative aiding AF from a non-board position. Nigel Hawkins has agreed to write an article for the next newsletter.
4.4 Inveruplan: A submission has been sent to SEERAD for permission for a community purchase of Inveruplan.
4.5 Pigs / Landfill Tax Credit Scheme Application: We have a form from EB Scotland, to proceed with this application. Mick Blunt has agreed to complete this.
The effect of the pigs on the regeneration of woodland on the south side of Loch Assynt is initially looking very good.
4.6 Education / Research: Mark has received various requests for undertaking research projects based on the AF estate. AF would be able to influence the topics that research could address. Agreed to proceed towards this and cooperate.
Mark has also been asked to lecture ecology MSc for one week a year at Aberdeen University. Agreed to allow this.
4.7 Adverts for part-time admin assistant and expressions of interest in woodchip supply chain opportunity have been placed in the Assynt News. Agreed to look into price of advertising woodchip supply chain opportunity in Northern Times.

5.0 Project Officer’s Report:
(See report.)
5.1 Lodge redevelopment: Agreed to postponement of internal lodge work until Autumn 2008, due to timescale pressures caused by delayed expected funding confirmation dates coupled with the time take up by the tender and building warrant stages.
5.2 HICEC Application: Agreed to look into paying somebody to help complete this application.
5.3 Communications: Agreed to ask local trades-people regarding making noticeboards.
Action: To contact them.

6.0 20-20 Summer School: Claire Ford gave a report of the experience at this event. Claire is working with Clive Sheppard and Niall Robertson towards setting up workshops to encourage and develop social enterprise. Mark has agreed to speak at these, on how AF can potentially help people with such ventures. These workshops are likely to begin around the end of February 08.

7.0 Conflict of interests: An AF director is likely to be interested in paid work as part of the redevelopment project of Glencanisp Lodge. Due to this, the director is to step down from the Lodge Redevelopment sub-group, to avoid a conflict of interest.
Action: Agreed Agnes and Mark to work towards preparing a clear policy to act on in advance of cases of possible conflict of interest.

8.0 Windfall Timber: Robbie MacKenzie has submitted a written request for permission to take windfall timber from the hill at the back of Glencanisp. The problem of the cost of extracting this timber has been examined before. Agreed to explore this request further. Action: Mark.

9.0 Peace and Quiet at the Lodge: Following on from a previous discussion, the following was agreed by the board:
In future as activities at Glencanisp develop, non-lodge guests will be discouraged from driving round the lodge. Walkers will be asked to continue to use car parking at the Cnocnaneach track end rather than to use new parking built at Glencanisp as part of the upgrade. This additional parking will be for users of the lodge and activities at Glencanisp.

10.0 Finance: Draft accounts for 06/07, as sent around board, approved by directors. Proposed by Don Campbell, seconded by Claire Belshaw. These are to be put on the AF website. When we receive the non-draft audited version of accounts from our auditors as appointed at the EGM, these will be placed on the website. At the AGM, a resolution to approve the audited accounts will be voted upon.
10.1 A financial statement will be produced by the end of the month.

11.0 AGM: AGM is now set for 18th December, in Glencanisp Lodge. Volunteers requested to help with mail-out of AGM papers.
Ailsa has recently informed us of her decision to step down from the board.
Ted and Patricia Filmer-Sankey as longest serving directors are to step down but can be re-nominated.
Claire Belshaw offered to continue as acting chair from the AGM until the first board meeting following the AGM, at which office bearers will be appointed.

12.0 AOCB
12.1 Financial statement – should be available at every board meeting.
12.2 Bill announced that he is to step down as chairperson and director of Assynt.Biz. He offered to help push forward AF’s croft creation plans, and continue helping with other things.
12.3 Lodge bookings: Discussion of options for evening only or one night only bookings of the lodge. Agreed to request Assynt.Biz to explore options for policy/procedure regarding such bookings. Until a set procedure is established, any requests for hire are examined on a case by case basis.

Meeting closed 9.30 pm