Present:- IM, JM, EL, LC, AB, AD, KD, BK
Apologies:- GS, DS
Minutes of July were approved with 1 amendment.
Meeting started with a discussion of tree management, referring to GS report (attached). KD asked if Pitmain has a ‘forest plan’ – they should have, as the maintenance/clearance of the woods impacts on the local community. IM will try & find out. LC advised that KGC owns approx. 90m2 of the woodland adjoining the 14th green.
Hydro Report (AB)
Hardly any electricity generated between May & mid-September due to exceptionally dry period. From mid-Sept, when it finally rained, it started generating about 10kw. Storm Ali brought down silt, etc., which needs clearing, particularly the pile of stones deposited in front of the outflow. We think that the Pitmain flood alleviation scheme made a difference, with flow more stable through our hydro and ‘no rumbling’. IM had been up above Loch Gynack to look at the scheme & said it appeared to be working well although the overflow had already eroded some of the banks. It was suggested that a work party be arranged to move the silt, etc. LC advised that he could bits & pieces when he’s nearby, if he knows what needs doing.
Hydro finance – we need to get a revised quote from Neil Reid for moving the big stuff & dredging the channel. The new screen has been paid for. AB reported that the generator would need maintenance next year, and it would require an ‘expert’.
Financial Report (LC)
Hydro fund stands at £11,500 (£6k down). Next input will be low due to lack of generation. Paid out £2,500 grant to Caberfeidh Horizons & £3,200 for the replacement screen. Of the £11,500, £4k is the contingency fund. It was agreed that the balance in the contingency fund would not exceed £10k. There is another payment due in from SSE.
The main account stands at -£1,600, which includes £2900 of CFK funds and VAT due, so we’re in the red. The accountant’s invoice has been paid. We could alter the way this is account is maintained by paying the VAT from the hydro fund, as all VAT is incurred by the hydro anyway, not KCDC. The accountant advises that we cannot allow KCDC to go bust, so we should use the hydro monies wherever possible. LC thinks the hydro account was set up to preclude us doing this, but will check. Without the hydro, KCDC could not operate as is. Accountant has suggested an informal agreement to facilitate transfer of funds. IM said we should show a positive balance of at least £2,900 as this belongs to CFK. BK agreed & said that we need some sort of policy in place for finances. Should we increase member subscription?
IM advised that Munro has retired & sold the accountancy business to Goldwells. They have several branches, mainly in Moray, but will be keeping the Kingussie branch open. Peter Graham will remain working part time in an advisory capacity for a while.
IM thought we still owe McGowans the balance for the new bridge, even though we aren’t being chased for payment, but LC confirmed that he has been paid in full, and we don’t owe anyone anything.
Woodlands Report (GS not in attendance but had emailed report – attached, appendix 1)
Suggested actions were approved.
Tennis Club Path (IM)
KD declared an interest.
We have received a quote for improving the path. If we go ahead, we would need to get a grant application from the tennis club to the hydro fund.
EL asked what is the purpose of the path; IM explained it would give another entrance to our woodlands & also add to disabled-friendly paths network. AB said we shouldn’t spend our own money on this, and the tennis club could perhaps get grants from elsewhere, given the improvements would be disabled-friendly.
AD said we should be wary of starting new paths as they would need to be maintained, adding to the maintenance burden of the existing paths. This path would also need steps & they would have to be made non-slip. Chicken wire is no good as it wears out & becomes dangerous with sharp bits & trip hazard. Special non-slip spars are available but they are expensive.
KD advised that Highland Council has abandoned the tennis club, so they now rely on their own funding. We agreed that it may be possible for KCDC to give a grant to the tennis club rather than paying for the path.
There have been no new applications. There has been an enquiry from the gym club as to whether they can apply for another grant. Is there anything in the guidelines to say not? We agreed that, if the guidelines do not allow this, the gym club could apply for a grant for something slightly different. Maybe we should alter the guidelines so that one organisation cannot repeatedly apply for grants year on year. BK will look at amending. Ollie Bray is leaving the country so the independent grants committee will be one short. Any suggestions for a replacement? AD suggested John Russwood, so IM will talk to him.
IM reported that the idea has been discussed with local businesses & nobody is specifically against the idea. Paul Brown (Duke of Gordon Hotel) is taking the idea further. IM has told him that KCDC is keen to participate but don’t want to get physically involved in the process. We would contribute.
Cycling Report (BK)
Bob advised that he has written a strategy for bringing communities together (cycling/walking). It’s time for a review of CFK & they want to make Kingussie more cycle-friendly. See separate document. CFK fits in with the strategy & it is better than being independent. They intend to apply to CNPA & Sustrans for funding – he is completing the application form & will need a director of KCDC to countersign – IM will sign.
Thoughts for AGM (IM)
Invite people who received grants to do presentations.
He asked if we are all happy to continue as directors. We all said yes. He said we could do with more ladies but Jan said that in her experience any meetings tend to be more concise without ladies!!!
We discussed whether, given our shortage of funds, we should increase the subscription. It was pointed out that some people made a donation in addition to the subs, and they may be less inclined to do so if the subs were increased. BK recommended that we leave as is – larger subs could be counter-productive.
AB mentioned that the hydro books are not selling very well.
GS asked for £90 for tree tubes. Approved.
AB – the people counters located at various places are a nuisance & the batteries cost a fortune. Should we bother/do we get any useful information from them.
KD asked if we could schedule meetings on certain dates as currently it takes a while to organise a date where everyone is available. Setting dates in advance, e.g. last Thursday in the month, would allow directors to manage their diaries better.
After some discussion, we agreed that the AGM should be on Tuesday 20/11 or Wednesday 21/11. IM to check availability of Tala nan Ros.
IM – mentioned the open meeting on 4th October re A9 dualling.
Next meeting 7th November.
Meeting finished at 20.45
Appendix 1 – Woodlands
I successfully applied to The Woodlands Trust for two medium tree packs - 210 trees in total.
Following the site visit by the Trust’s Officer (see separate report) I have reduced the number to one pack of 105 trees. The “Wild Wood” pack includes approx. equal numbers of hazel, crab apple, downy birch, hawthorn, holly, goat willow.
I would propose to plant all the hawthorn and holly on the slopes by the hydro with some crab apple and goat willow - say 50 trees. There is little/no roe deer activity in that area. The Trust will provide short spiral protectors - fine for rabbits and voles but insufficient for deer. The remaining trees will be planted in clearings throughout the remaining area.
I have a few tree protection tubes but would like to order a pack from the Woodland Trust . Cost £90 for 30 tubes.
Trees should arrive in November. I’ll call for some volunteers when they arrive.
A Walk in the woods with
Alan Crawford, Ancient Woodland Restoration Project Officer, Woodland Trust
Ian Baird Volunteer, Woodland Trust
Susan and Gilmour Strang
29 August 2018
The walk was both informative and advisory.
Starting at the area behind the tennis courts. This described as having a rich soil evidenced by the wood avens present. Surprise at finding honeysuckle an apparent favourite of deer and not often seen in woodland. Deer not keen on alder but like ash, rowan and hazel.
Ash, elm and sycamore form the high canopy in a wood and sycamore and hazel are good hosts to bugs in a rich woodland.
Making our way down towards “Stevenson’s” advised good to see standing and fallen dead timber. On the woodland floor dogs mercury noted. Goat willow identified at Stevenson’s. Both downy and silver birch also identified. Downy forms a more squat tighter canopy whereas silver birch has more weeping branches.
Beech also seen and advice was that this is non native and as it may take over it should not be encouraged. Its large canopy will mean it takes over from other tree seedlings which is similar to sycamore.
Bird cherry provides another, lower layer, to the woodland - aesthetically softening. Bird cherry regenerates by sending out suckers like aspen and black thorn.
Continued on way to Cross Bridge. Alder seen - their seeds are cone shaped and it is the only broadleaved tree to have cone like seeds. Evidence of woodpecker activity on standing dead wood. Many more hawthorn trees in this area than previously noted.
Noted that fir at Cross Bridge should be removed along with the one opposite Bracken Brae on Gynack Road.
Woods adjacent to Gynack Road are the main area of standing sycamore. Sycamore could be left as standing dead wood, where safe to do so. Felled sycamore which are regrowing could be coppiced every 5 years or so. Only sure way to clear sycamore is to hand pull the seedlings.
Oak trees identified. Likely they are hybrid oaks rather than pure English or Sessile oak.
Witch elm trees found by the lay-by in Gynack Road. these can be identified in the spring by their papery seeds.
In the area behind the lay-by a fallen birch tree had a black growth which was like hard coal which we were told would make a health giving tea and also wood nettle which looked like a stinging nettle but did not seem to sting.
By the river gorge Douglas fir and silver fir found. Silver fir should be removed as they create a lot is seedlings but safety an issue to removal of some. Noticed here that the soil is less rich and more acid evidenced by the blaeberries. Moss and wood sorrel also in evidence.
Beech identified opposite the hospital should be removed. Also snowberry opposite hospital entrance should be removed. This can be done by cutting repeatedly. Risk of re-rooting from cut stems therefor requires careful disposal.
On the roadside between the hospital entrance and the Hydro the alder could be thinned. Would be good to protect some aspen runners with tubing in this area.
Risk of oak branch fall near hydro bench. May be a good idea to remove those that are dead to limit risk.
Discussion around new planting. Area at hydro dam would lend itself to hawthorn/blackthorn maybe planted like a hedge.
While there is a lot of good structure in the wood it would be good to take out some timber and plant new to create age differences. Large sycamores are the obvious candidate.
Taking the path behind Lorien it was noted that the boggy bit would provide a good location for alder, downy birch and goat willow.
Elm and ash noted at the rear of Spindlestone which could be tubed. Noted these species are vulnerable at this time from disease.
Overall impression was that the view was of a wood in a good condition and very different from other woods in our area of the Cairngorms National Park making it special. Current woodland management considered generally positive.
There was a discussion about increasing access opportunities. And the pros and cons of this for example encouraging forest school and other community activities and others out for a “wee” walk or to explore more closely what lives in the woods. The balance being managing the paths and the litter etc. and the ongoing availability of a voluntary workforce.
Susan and Gilmour Strang
Appendix 2 – cycling/bringing communities together
Present:- IM, GS, AD, AB, JM, LC, BK
Apologies:- EL, KD, DS
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
- AB stated that about 50 copies of the ‘hydro book’ have been sold, 32ish by Caberfeidh Horizons in their bookshop. We haven’t received the proceeds from Caberfeidh’s sales yet.
- IM broached the subject of letters of support requested by Am Fasgadh Regeneration Company (ARC) and Caberfeidh Horizons (CH).
- CH are looking for funding to buy the old police station to start a 2nd shop & convert the first floor into a flat for disadvantaged people. They urgently need to lodge their application with Scottish Land Fund (by 2nd August). The purchase would include the garages & ground to the rear. They would continue to run the shop across the road. They are good at getting funding, e.g. the R S McDonald Trust gave them, about 30 years ago) a grant of £30k which pays for staff, and the have just received another grant of a further £30k from this trust. Letter of support approved – IM to write.
- The money from their previous successful application to the KCDC Hydro Community Fund has not been handed over yet – they don’t need it until later this year. We need a PR photo of the handover when it happens.
- ARC, having previously agreed the purchase of the land from Highland Council for £1, now need to raise funds for the development. They also need to lodge their application with SLF by 2nd August. They have other funding promised. We discussed their request for a letter of support and we are a bit concerned about the politics involved. BK asked if we could support the application in principle, and we agreed that IM would write a suitable letter supporting the project in principle as regards development of the area & retention of the historic buildings.
- IM has asked Peter Munro Accountants if there are any tax implications in moving monies from the Hydro funds to KCDC to help with admin costs. They haven’t replied yet.
- LC said that Munros should be asked to itemize their invoices, as we feel we are paying over the odds. LC reckons he could do some of the work, e.g. VAT returns, himself and save on accountant’s fees.
- Bridge funding shortfall. LC has asked McGowans to separate the costs of the bridge v. the costs of finishing the approaches. He has also asked Jim Padgett to quote for installing lights.
- Ann Traill of VABS (who is one of the ‘independents’ on the Hydro grants committee) says that KCDC can give itself grants from the Hydro fund, and in fact she encourages it. We would need to change the Constitution.
- AD said that their work in lopping the bracken around the Circular Path has been successful.
- Jubilee Path – there have apparently been no internal applicants for the post of project manager so it will be advertised externally.
- BK - Cycling Report. Bikeathon was very successful and it will be run again next year in the same format. Approx. £3k was raised for KHS. The 5 year review of CFK is due later this year.
- LC – Finance Report. The main account holds £3,864 but this includes the transfer of £5k from Hydro & £2,984 belongs to cycling so we’re in the red. The Hydro fund stands at £17,411 which includes payments in of £2,986 from Scottish power & £365 from KGC. KGC have agreed to pay £1k towards the bridge.
- AB – Hydro Report. See appendix attached.
- Following damage/vandalism to the picnic bench by the Hydro, it is to be bolted down.
- The previous application to the Hydro fund from KHS re electric cars has not progressed.
Meeting ended 20.50.
Very poor since early May. For most of the time the water level has been too low to run the turbine. It has restarted after the occasional rainfall but the amount of income generated has been negligible. For example last Friday 6 kWh was generated – approx.. £1.50.
a. It has been suspected for some time that there was growth of organic material in the Coanda screen that was restricting output. The low water level allowed a section of the screen to be removed and the underside inspected by a couple of rather wet volunteers. There was significant growth as shown in the photo below. The screen was then pressure washed from both sides.
b. The settling chamber was inspected and a small amount of sediment swept out.
c. Improvements to the flow at the outlet chamber were made and the level is now at or below its design level. However we are awaiting a spate to shift some of the mound that has reappeared.
Some of the intake concrete has been badly eroded by the sediment load in the river. In particular the platform on the west side had been reduced to about 60% of its original thickness in places. A metal frame embedded in concrete has been mounted over the most vulnerable parts. The picture below shows the frame before the concrete was cast.
It remains to be seen whether this will be successful. It may be necessary in future to cast a thicker slab across the whole of the platform.
4. Future remedial work.
Most of the 6 Coanda screen sections have acceleration plates (the top part) that are bowed in the middle. This is a legacy of Hurricane Bertha and subsequent spates and is contributing to a reduction in output. A price of £1600 has been given by Dulas for a replacement strengthened screen section and around £200 for an acceleration plate. We are considering replacing the worst section next year and repairing it with a new, stronger acceleration plate (by Davie Cameron?).
It should be noted that screen section replacement was anticipated in the 2014 Business Plan (one every 5 years).
A group of about 15 veterinary students from Edinburgh University on an environmental summer school happened to be passing last week and were given a talk by JGS.
Donnie received a survey request on operating costs from Local Energy Scotland. I have filled some of the form in and will need to return it by the end of July.
About 50 copies have been sold so far.
Present:- IM, LC, AD, BK, JM, EL, AB, KD
IM opened the meeting by welcoming EL to his first directors’ meeting.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved with one small adjustment.
Financial Report (LC)
£6713 main account balance, of which c.£3k belongs to cycling club. £607 cheques still to be cashed.
Pitmain have paid the ‘fishing money’ over for the bridge - £1,020.
Subscriptions have been paid. LC asked if these monies were to continue to go into the bridge fund. Yes.
£14,299 in hydro fund, with some outstanding cheques, so £14k net. £3,390 has been received from SSE and £664 has been received from KGC.
Grants paid out - £350 to Badenoch Chorale & £500 to St Vincent’s.
£5k was moved to the main account to cover bridge.
£4k of the hydro fund is now separately accounted for as the Contingency Fund.
Main account is not sufficient to cover all professional expenses. It was agreed to move some more funds from the hydro account into the main account to cover professional fees which are, after all, incurred by the hydro scheme.
Still c.£5k short.
Peter Graham says that we can’t have a VAT refund on the bridge as our charity VAT status only applies to the hydro scheme. There is a possible loophole which would involve McGowan’s cooperation – HMRC give exemption to projects with disabled access and we could couch as ongoing footpaths development/changing access to disabled. We would need a VAT-less invoice from McGowan’s but they may not want to – LC to talk to them.
Tesco tokens – closes today & it looks as though (Aviemore Tesco only) we’re possibly in 2nd place. This rather depends on the results from the Fort William Tesco though. We will however get a minimum of £1k.
KGC may donate balance or will at least donate something.
Could possibly apply for a further grant from the hydro fund but this would have to be as a new project of making approach paths disabled-accessible, not for the bridge.
Graham Mabon of Pitmain has said he will organise a barrier at the road end of the bridge to stop people parking there (the rocks aren’t sufficient as they can be moved aside).
IM mentioned that the tennis club is going to do some work and have enquired as to whether they could apply for a grant. We are investigating costs in dealing with their path to DDA standard and will then discuss further with them.
Hydro Fund Grants
New applications for small grants:-
- STEM, via KHS have asked for £300 to purchase materials for electric car controls. They have already received some materials from other sources. We need more information – AB to go & see what they are doing & make a decision. STEM also suggested they could charge the cars from the hydro scheme shed, giving ‘free’ electricity to the community.
- Louise @ Drill Hall conversion asked for a grant to help with the cost of re-pointing part of the building (which is of historical significance). Not approved – doesn’t fit criteria.
- KHS have, they appear to think, applied for funds towards the Bikeathon which is to be a fundraiser for KHS & other local charities. Entry fees go to KHS, other local charities benefit from individual sponsorship. We have not received the application – BK will ask them to submit one.
- Donnie Grant has made an initial enquiry regarding help with setting up an initial meeting to look into the viability of establishing a health group for dementia care. This is only in the initial stages; there is no group yet, but he would like the hydro fund to pay the hire fee for Talla nan Ross for the initial meeting - £65. Approved. AD will submit an application.
Possible applications for large grants – bridge paths and tennis club path.
Hydro Book (IM)
Book has been published & distributed. If copies are bought via KCDC, KCDC gets all the money. If copies are bought from Caberfeidh Horizons bookshop, they get 30% of the proceeds.
AB has paid Ian Grover for the printing.
AB proposed that we get title & synopsis on a publisher’s website so book sellers know it exists.
AB said we ought to tell the KCDC members that book is available.
AB asked to whom we should give complementary copies – it was agreed that definitely Adrian Laycock & Ecowave because they helped a lot. Copies should go to all major funders.
IM offered congratulations to AB on the success of the project.
LC asked if we should get a plaque for the bridge. Normally it is a Peoples Postcode Lottery condition that they are mentioned in projects & they usually provide a plaque – we will contact them about this. Alternatively we could get one done ourselves listing all contributors.
Hydro Report (AB)
Nothing to report.
Following the distribution of this year’s newsletter, we now know there are 725 properties in Kingussie.
100 copies have gone to Caberfeidh Horizons as they are the local ‘tourist info office’. If/when they need further copies they should ask us so they are not using their own money/equipment.
Distribution of 2019 newsletter – we’ll all help.
IM mentioned that on Saturday 26th May @ 14.00, we are all invited to the official opening of the new dugout at the shinty pitch.
BK handed out copies of the new Cycling Around Kingussie leaflet which is being given to accommodation providers.
AD mentioned the Jubilee end of the Speyside Way which still needs to be upgraded. There is a meeting about it tomorrow.
KD asked if anyone new about forestry plans, specifically Pitmain’s. All forestry owners in Scotland are supposed to have drawn up management plans and sight of Pitmain’s would hopefully give us an idea of their plans for, e.g. Tom Baraidh.
Meeting ended @ 21.05.
Next meeting TBA.
Minutes of KCDC Meeting 7th March 2018 @ St Giles
Apologies:- BK, EL
Guest:- Michelle, Chair of Kingussie Business Forum (KBF)
IM introduced Michelle, who had come to discuss the matter of a Kingussie website; the subject had been raised at the KCDC AGM. KCDC is keen to progress this; KBF members are unanimous in their support. Michelle has spoken to Karen Derrick of VABS who has experience in this. Michelle asked if KCDC would be interested in participating in a group of interested parties, e.g. golf club, shinty, etc. The current website fails at the moment due to lack of maintenance. It is also on a very old platform, easily hacked. We therefore really need a modern website, and Michelle knows someone who could set it up. She suggested, and KCDC agreed, that it should be called ‘visitkingussie’ to fit in with similar website, e.g. visitscotland, visitaviemore. AB asked if the same person would develop the website, but the answer was no – an experienced IT person would have to do that. LC suggested this should be put out to tender & AB said it shouldn’t be too difficult to find someone suitable as there are lots of them out there. Michelle said that it needs someone independent to run it as nobody in the Kingussie business community has time. The website needs to be flexible. Websites are now all about marketing, rather than just information. IM advised that KCDC would put some money in to get it going, but other people need to buy into it too. The A9 is going to be a ‘digital highway’ and there is already an app - we should be on it as more people download apps nowadays than visit websites. It was agreed that an open meeting should be held soon but a ballpark figure needs to be identified first. Michelle said she would have further discussions with KBF& VABS. She then left the meeting.
The minutes of the last meeting were approved with one amendment.
The minutes of the AGM were approved.
Appointment of Chair – IM confirmed that he is willing to stand for another year. Proposed GS, seconded AD.
Financial Report (LM)
Account balances: KCDC Main at £13132.08
Hydro account t £19702.06 ( recent inputs of £3390 from SSE FITS and KGC £773.20)
Recent professional services expenditure:
P Munro ( 2014-16) £1674
P Munro (2017) £951
PM Fee Protection £164
Legal expenses/land registry £638
Insurance (2017) £372
Insurance renewal (2018) £494 ( includes new bridge)
Director insurance £185.
LC noted his concern about the balance between running costs & income. Income from 60 members & some donations = c.£1000. A large cost is the professional fees & services charged by Peter Munro & Co, accountants. The idea was put forward that we could do the accounts ourselves, but it was agreed that we need the accountants for such things as VAT returns. LC will revisit Peter Graham re income v. outgoings. KCDC is not insolvent, as some of the Hydro fund is used to pay fees.
LC then asked for our views on whether we want to effect a Fee Protection Service as recommended by Peter Graham. It would cost £164 per annum and we decided we do not need this.
We also pay £185 per annum got directors’ liability insurance. We discussed what we are likely to be liable for as individuals and decided this cover should continue.
The ordinary insurance used to be about £100 per annum but is now £372 and, with the addition of the new bridge, would rise to about £500. This includes the insurance of the Hydro scheme. Kingussie Golf Club was prepared to include the new bridge on their insurance but the land is leased to KCDC not KGC & KGC don’t have an insurable interest. Perhaps the bridge could be passed to KGC once finished. AB said that insuring the Hydro scheme is a waste of money; we’re self-insuring & most things that could go wrong couldn’t be claimed for. Therefore we agreed to remove the Hydro but include the 2 bridges. There is still Public Liability on the Hydro which will cover everything that should be covered. We agreed to transfer the insurance from the Hydro bridge to the KGC bridge, which would save some money.
GS asked if there should be a separate bank account for the sinking fund, but LC said he could just keep the figures separate on his spreadsheet.
To help with the balance, some money could be transferred from the Hydro scheme to KCDC every year but this would need to be approved at an AGM.
It’s all still working, apart from when it froze.
The remote monitoring problem has been fixed.
The Hydro booklet in is final draft. Still needs a foreword, but maybe do without & just use a picture of Donnie.
The weather is holding up completion but the end is in sight. The civil engineer’s certificate is on its way. Total cost is £14,281 + VAT, of which we have £11000. IM to remind Pitmain re fishing monies. Tesco Bags of Help money will to come – minimum of £1000, but could possibly be £2200. KGC contribution is to finish off the all abilities access. We will have to borrow money from the Hydro fund to pay McGowans.
AD expressed concern about possible parking at the roadside. We will place boulders or fence posts.
Only one new application – Badenoch Chorale asking for £350 towards £500 cost of purchase of a film for a presentation. Approved.
Speyside Way funding approved for Inshriach to Ruthven section. It appears that the people responsible for the sections have decided that the section from Ruthven Barracks to Kingussie should just be along the side of the road. We unanimously thought this was absolutely ridiculous & that is a dangerous, narrow road to walk along. Even aside from the narrow road, the speed limit is 60mph.
AD is going to do an inventory of the paths re maintenance etc.
AB will modify the Paths Network map to include the new bridge.
Cycling – there was no report as BK did not attend the meeting. His short email report was noted.
KD is going to the GDPR meeting.
GS has an invoice for tree guards.
The Aspen Group is donating 10 aspens.
GS has planted loads of willow.
EL & GS have removed a great many sycamores near the Hydro.
LC – newsletter. Please send articles/info/suggestions to him. Are we going to get them printed same as last year – agreed as cost-effective. We agreed the paths map should be included.
Meeting ended @ 21.40. Next meeting TBA.