Draft Minutes of KCDC AGM, Weds 24/03/21 @ 19.00, via Zoom

Present:- Directors – Ian Moffett, Len Cruickshank, Gilmour Strang, Bob Kinnaird, Kenny Dean, Alistair Bell, Eileen Stuart, Jan Morse, Eric Lawther

Members – Mark Tate, Jinty Moffett, Gus Mitchell, Susan Strang, Janet Kinnaird, Ailsa Schofield, Catriona Morrison, Iain Dyce, Clare Lawther, Sandy Maxwell, Judy Buckingham, Bruan Dziennok, Mr & Mrs Martin Stanford, Andy & Jen Dunn

Apologies:- John Patchet, Dick Webster, Ann Cruickshank, Alan Hunt

IM opened the meeting by welcoming attendees. 

The minutes of the previous AGM were approved.

Chairman’s Report (IM)

The Report should really cover the year to 31st August 2020 but I propose to add in an update.

Each household in the Town will have recently received a copy of our Newsletter and I do not intend to repeat what is included there. I would however encourage you all to renew your membership. If you have lost the membership form, please let one of the directors know and another will be supplied.

The Hydro has come through the winter well (assuming we are in fact through the winter). Running maintenance will be carried out when the water is low but basically all is going well. Thank you to Alastair and Gilmour.

The woodlands continue to be more used with work, repairs and the installation of an all abilities picnic bench being carried out. As ever we would welcome volunteers to help in the woodlands. Thanks to Gilmour and Susan.

Picnic benches, including an all abilities one, have been placed at the Jubilee Walk which is also being well used.

Work parties have now recommenced on our path network.  Again we would welcome volunteers. It is good fun and we are improving the paths. Thank you to Sandy Maxwell for his leadership and expertise.

We have a new website which is www.kcdc.co.uk (all lower case) and are endeavouring to keep it up to date. Thanks to Gus Mitchell.

Cycle Friendly Kingussie is going strong even with social distancing. There is a bike hub at the Gynack Gardens with much bike equipment. Electric bikes can be borrowed to try. Speak to Bob Kinnaird.

The Gynack Gardens Project has now very nearly completed. The statue project Bob will deal with separately. The reports I have received on the Gardens are very positive with in particular the safe route to school through the Gardens being popular. The cherry trees have been installed and an all abilities picnic table together with 2 other picnic tables either being there or about to appear. In particular the lighting of the Gardens at night I think is a great improvement.  The Gardens Project has been mostly paid for by Sustrans and the Town Centre Fund through Highland Council . Our thanks to them and to our Committee of Kenny Deans, Bob Kinnaird and Gilmour Strang for their extremely hard work on this.

Bob will report on the next redevelopment phases being the redesign of the Spey Street/Ruthven Road junction, the cycle track from Newtonmore and the Statue , and Len Cruickshank on the Hydro Grants Scheme later but we should now turn to the formal business of the meeting.

Finance Report (LC)

To receive and if approved, adopt the Financial Report. Peter Graham of Goldwells was not present so LC referred everyone to the draft accounts [available to view/download at the foot of this page], particularly page 11 of which he gave a detailed explanation – any questions, please ask. LC explained that the Hydro account is separate from the KCDC account & within the KCDC account there are separate sections for paths, CFK, gardens, etc.

Funding received from the Co-op & from Cairngorms Trust have enabled us to improve paths.

There have been significant funding schemes & expenditure.

Draft accounts approved.

Proposed by IM to appoint Goldwells as the independent Accountant. Approved.

To elect Directors (IM)

Eric Lawther has decided to stand down- but I am delighted to say he has promised to continue with his active volunteering in our work parties. Dick Webster has also decided to stand down. Many thanks to both Eric & Dick.

In these unusual times the Board thought it best to approach likely candidates who can strengthen delivery.  The Board is entitled to appoint 3 directors and we are fortunate that the following have agreed to join;

Sandy Maxwell

Gus Mitchell

Catriona Morrison

and all have agreed to come on board.

For the elected office bearers

Kenny Deans

Bob Kinnaird

Jan Morse

Gilmour Strang

and Ian Moffett

retire in rotation and all have agreed to stand again. Is the election of those 5 agreed by the meeting? All agreed. Thank you.

We next require to fix the annual subscription. This was fixed at £2 many years ago. What often happens is that people pay an extra sum which is treated as a donation for Gift Aid. IM’s view is that we should continue with this arrangement but he welcomed discussion.  All agreed the current system works. Approved.

Hydro Grants report (LC)

The hydro system continues to be a success & has earned c.£13k over the period; approx £7k in grants awarded over period. LC listed grants already awarded & ongoing applications.

IM explained how the grant system works.

Gynack Gardens report (KD)

KD gave the background to the project – the original idea for the development came from the Aecom survey led by Cycle Friendly Kingussie when they were looking at active travel for better and safer routes for people and bikes in the town. The successful bid by KCDC to the TCFunding and with fantastic support from Sustrans enabled the project to be funded.

The work over the year with the designers; the contractor; the Council and with the consultants is not to be underestimated – a huge commitment in time and the energy. 

Covid interfered with the timing and eventually the Highland winter also played a part but we are very nearly there. There is an additional second successful bid for further monies from TCF also in play currently.

Extended bench seating; a surface for the bus stop; some seeding; completion of the planting beds; the interpretative boards and further paving and planting will see the current job completed in the next week or two.

What did we set out to do? We wanted to transform the space to ‘invite’ everyone into the garden; we wanted to offer more seating and more access. We wanted to have people in the gardens. We wanted to be able to hold events and activities in the gardens. We have created nearly 300 square meters of hard standing for pipe bands; for dancers; for tents; for gatherings, e.g. KD met last week with a representative from the Cairngorm Farmers Market who are delighted with the venue and are applying to the Council to host markets here over the summer starting on the 3rd Sunday in May.

Back in the gardens we wanted to expose the river and feel that it is part of the open space. We have cut back the undergrowth but have planted 4 designated nature areas and have planted a selection of hedging which is designed to support wildlife at both bridges and at other strategic situations. We have added further bulbs including 500 aconites under the new weeping cherry behind the new bike shelter. The fence has been and will be further re-routed to soften the Eastern edge of the garden. The existing bushes at the south end have been replaced by Columnar flowering Cherry trees with aromatic spring double flowering heads and vibrant autumn colour. Retaining the symmetry of the garden and the theatre of the avenue of trees to the memorial which has now been provided with new LED lighting – including the facility to turn red when required. Also in position is an electrical supply for future Xmas tree lights.

The access to the Primary School has made it more attractive to bike; scooter; roller blade or even Segway to travel to school and to avoid the narrow pavement round by the Osprey Hotel. We have yet to analyse the usage but compared to our surveys done last year but anecdotal evidence is incredibly positive.

We will have a formal opening at some suitable juncture to acknowledge the various funders and contributions but KD would like to formally say that without the expertise and sanity of Bob Kinnaird and Gilmour Strang we would not have achieved what we have. KD would also like to put on record that we have been very impressed with the work done by the contractor McGowans; and in particular to Daren Hendry and his team led on the ground by Graeme Gillfillan.

We very much hope that this is the beginning for greater community engagement and there is more to be done and Bob will talk about the art installation and also the Spey Street Development at the south end of the garden.

In conclusion, KD understands a small group have stepped up and have undertaken to recruit a new ‘garden’ team to bring the garden to life with the annual show of colour.

Questions – Ailsa asked from where the plants would be sourced & KD advised they are grown by HC in Nairn. BK said the plants are being supplied by HC but they will no longer be providing staff for planting.

IM thanked KD for all his hard work on the project.

Spey Street junction & Sustrans project (BK)

Sustrans projects – In addition to the Gynack gardens project , SUSTRANS have provided 100% funding to  develop two further project plans.

Firstly improvements to the B970 / Spey Street junction and surrounding streetscape adjacent to the Silverfjord Hotel, including improved links into the Gynack Gardens and safer crossings for pedestrian movements. The latest plans are now being submitted to Highland Council and we hope that work can commence on this project in the next financial year, subject to confirming a funding package from Sustrans and The Safe Routes to School fund.

The second project is to improve the link westwards between the Newtonmore path towards the centre of the town and Gynack gardens. The initial intention was to build a shared use path on the southern side of the A86. This is a possibility up to McCormacks garage, but beyond this the pavement is too narrow. Alternative solutions are being discussed and will almost certainly involve traffic calming between McCormacks garage and the centre of the town. Once we have further information this will be shared with the wider community for consideration and feedback. It will also be necessary to find funding for this work.  

Public art project – As part of the redevelopment of the gardens KCDC have proposed a public art feature based on a thistle design. We recently ran a survey to gauge community support. Generally, there was strong support for a new art installation in the gardens, many had views on different types of art or amendments to the proposal but the biggest portion (40%) fully supporting the indicative design for the sculpture. 

Art projects, by their very nature, create debate, discussion and can be contentious. That is why we are keen to create something that can cause people to stop, think and discuss. 

Given the level of support, KCDC will continue with the current planning application for an indicative design, and then take time to continue the community consultation process before finalising a design. It will also be necessary to get permission from Highland Council as they own the Gynack Gardens . Finally we will need to raise the funds for this project. if we get a straight run we may see a public art feature in place sometime in 2022. 

There were no questions.

IM thanked BK for all his hard work on all projects in which he’s involved, he also thanked AB for all his work on the hydro and added thanks to all members of the Board.

AOCB

None.

Meeting ended @ 19.40.

The Draft Accounts for the year ending 31st August 2020 can be downloaded from the link below: