Category Archives: Tiree Community Council

Tiree Community Council News

It was another long meeting, but there was plenty to talk about: the linkspan closure, an upgrade to the airport embarkation equipment, and a green light to discuss the pros and cons of taking the Scarinish public toilets into community ownership. The month had been full of meetings to report back on.

We had met Kevin Hobbs, the chief executive of CMAL, the company that owns the ferry fleet and the Tiree pier on behalf of the Scottish government. It was a chance to hear from the horse’s mouth about the shipyard delays on the Clyde, which mean the two new ferries are seriously behind schedule.

The Tiree linkspan is being replaced in February/March 2020, and we have to be prepared for the fact that we won’t be able to get cars or lorries on or off the ferry at the Gott Bay pier for four weeks. There is an important meeting on Tuesday 4th December 4-7.30 pm in An Talla, where CalMac and CMAL staff will do their best to answer our questions. The Tiree Transport Forum will make sure the engineers are aware of the big dates in the Tiree calendar so they can work round them.

We also met Michael Bratcher, who oversees air services within Transport Scotland. The contract for the flights between Tiree and Glasgow is up for renewal next year, and airlines will again be bidding. Passenger numbers are reassuringly up, and it looks as though services will continue much the way they are. Something Michael particularly likes is the ‘flight banking’ system that Tiree operates. This means that a few flights can be cut in the winter months and then used at the times of year of our choice when it’s busy. One piece of news is that a new and heavier SAAB is coming into operation, one that the Tiree runways cannot cope with. So the only planes coming to Tiree from next year will be the Twin Otter and the Kingair ambulance plane.

I also met our three local Argyll and Bute councillors last week. They had flown out from Oban to the island for the day, and were delighted with the convenience of the flight. When I pointed out that the Council had agreed to cut the subsidy of this service drastically, they were absolutely sure that the Oban- Tiree flights would be safe. Let’s hope they’re proved right!

While they were there, I took the opportunity to ask them for a bigger grant for Tiree Community Council to allow us to get to mainland meetings. They absolutely supported this. Let’s hope they’re successful!

There has been a problem over the last year with access to the Twin Otter for people who need help to get into the aircraft. The Stairclimber equipment to lift passengers up the steps is not powerful enough. The community council has been lobbying HIAL, who run the Tiree airport, as well as Loganair, to get a more powerful version, and we are delighted that HIAL have now done precisely that.

Another issue we have been chewing away at for over a year is the block of land next to Pier View in Scarinish. This was provisionally sold by HIE to MacLeod Construction, but has now come back on the market.

Finally: toilets. Every year the council cuts come closer. What has sharpened our interest recently has been the closure by Highland Council – apparently the UK’s ‘largest provider of public toilets’ – of most of their councilrun toilets in a bid to save £500,000 a year. Argyll and Bute councillors discuss the same cut every year too. We have taken the view that the Scarinish toilets, which everyone agrees are completely essential, are vulnerable, and we would be better to open a dialogue now to see if the council would consider passing them into community ownership. Community toilets are becoming more common – there are good examples in Biggar, Arisaig and the Kyle of Lochalsh. Things are at an early stage, but we have started the ball rolling. Now we will wait to see what sort of deal the council will make the community.

Councillors Dr John Holliday, Robert Trythall and Ian Gillies attended. Apologies were received from Willie Angus MacLean and Alison Clark.

Community Council News

Ferries, this year’s Armistice Day service at the War Memorial, and seaweed harvesting were some of the subjects discussed at this month’s community council meeting.

This had been delayed by a week to accommodate an important session of the Tiree Transport Forum with senior CalMac management earlier in the day. There has been a lot of frustration with the company over the last six months, with the prolonged absence of the Clansman and complaints about the booking system, centred around the weekend of the 10k. David Gibson (Director of Service Delivery for the whole company), Robert Morrison (Head of Operations North) and Finlay MacRae (Area Operations Manager North) acknowledged that the DOS-based system running ticketing was over twenty years old. An attempt several years ago to replace it had ended in failure, and a new £20 million request for its replacement was on the desks of ministers in Edinburgh. A new system was at least two years off, and in the meantime, they recommended using the website to get information about sailings.

David has instigated a new integrated control centre, so that ferry disruptions can be handled centrally, and he promised the company would be quicker at getting a work-around for problems in future. Everyone acknowledged that the fleet, with an average age of over twenty years, was struggling to keep pace with demand, particularly after Road Equivalent Tariff boosted numbers of tourists visiting the islands.

The Tiree ferry linkspan is due to be replaced in the autumn of 2019. This will mean a month when no vehicles will be able to access the boat. This will present a serious challenge; fortunately, Coll will be going through the same process six months earlier, giving us a chance to learn from that exercise.

Another issue that came up was the uncertain ownership of the car park at the pier head. There have been issues over long term parking there, but no one seems to know which body has title to the ground, and no one is currently managing it.

Our annual request for a change for the Barra boat in summer from Wednesday back to Thursday is just not possible at the moment, although the launching of the two new ferries currently on the slipway at the moment might free up timetables eventually. These vessels, known as 801 and 802, are seriously behind schedule and over budget; we will be lucky to see them before winter service 2019-2020 and late summer service 2020 respectively.

Another issue, which Alan Millar brought up, was the November 11th service at the War Memorial. Since the 1920s, this has taken place on the Saturday afternoon. This year marks the centenary of Armistice Day, with the 11th falling on the Sunday itself. We discussed whether to change the service to the Sunday afternoon for this year only. Alan will discuss the matter with the leadership of both churches.

Phones boxes came up for discussion, too. An ambitious project by the community council to buy and renovate all but one of the public phone boxes on the island has ground to a halt after an enthusiastic start last year.

By good fortune, one of those attending the meeting had bought and renovated a phone box for his wife’s birthday. He knew from first hand how difficult and expensive it could be. One suggestion was to move all the boxes from their current locations, use the best parts from all of them to repair one or two that could then be positioned in the most useful places, selling some of the spare parts left over to finance the project. A group will meet soon to look at the problem afresh.

I took advantage of a recent visit to the Coll Homecoming to chat to some members of their Community Council. Their issues are the dreadful state of their roads, and the desire of many islanders for a door-to-door recyclables collection. Some of the ferry timetable changes they were seeking were diametrically opposed to ours.

Marine Scotland has sent Marine Bioplolymers, the company seeking permission to trawl for kelp around Tiree, back to the drawing board, to apply again area by area. We will keep a close eye on the situation.

Dr John Holliday, Robert Trythall, Ian Gillies and Alison Clark were in attendance. William Angus MacLean sent his apologies. Sadly, Andy Wright has stepped down from the council.

Tiree Community Council September Meeting

Kelp dredging around the island, a significant reduction in the support given by Argyll and Bute Council for the Tiree- Oban flight, and the state of houses at Pier View came up for discussion at amarathon two-and-a-half-hour session of Tiree Community Council, the first after a two-month summer recess.

A company called Marine Biopolymers has submitted plans to trawl for kelp around Tiree. Kelp beds are breeding grounds for small fish, and the fear is that removing them would cut the catch of the island’s fishing fleet. The beds also cushion the force of Atlantic storms on the coastline, and the worry is that trawling them could make erosion of our sandy beaches, already an issue,worse. There could be less storm-cast seaweed for crofters to use on their fields. The effects on seals, basking sharks and animals like dolphins are also unknown, having a possible knock-on effect on sea life tourism. And large quantities of discarded kelp ‘stems’ might wash up on the island’s shores as an unsightly and smelly mess. We will respond to Marine Scotland in the next week with a list of our concerns, having won an extension.
Argyll and Bute Council have decided to cut the annual subsidy for the Oban-Coll-Tiree air link by a quarter, from £735,000 to £525,000. The service is going out to tender early next year. The worry is that the sum won’t be enough to attract an operator, and the service could be cut to one day a week or even stop completely. The flights are particularly popular with patients going to Oban hospital, allowing them to return the same day. We were concerned that the figures had been hidden deep in the council budget report, and needed a lot of digging to find them. We will lobby hard to preserve this service, one of the achievements of the last community council.We also decided to ask Highlands and islands Airports to see if there was a better way for disabled passengers to access the Glasgow plane than the current Stairmaster.
The poor state of housing at ‘Tank Farm’was also raised. We will try to meet as many residents as we can to get a fuller picture, and then get back to West Highland Housing Association. We also decided to chase up Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who sold a plot of land next to Tank Farm to MacLeod Construction of Lochgilphead, over the heads of two island groups.
The next meeting of the council will be on 10 October. Alison Clark and Ian Gillies were co-opted for a two-year term. The next elections will be in 2020, when two seats will be up for grabs.
Dr John Holliday, William Angus MacLean, Robert Trythall and Andy Wright and twelve members of the public were in attendance.

Tiree Community Council

On the hottest day of Tiree’s summer 21 hardy souls, in equatorial conditions,attended the June meeting.

The main topic was CalMac, and issues arising from the Clansman’ s extended dry docking and repairs.

CalMac:-

Angus Campbell formerly leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar,and Chairman of the newly formed CalMac Community Board (CB) ,held the floor for nigh on an hour and half. He outlined the role and function of the CB , its bi-monthly meetings with CallMac, his direct access to the Minister of Transport ,and attendance at two CalMac Board meetings/year. To understand the genesis of the CB, and its Remit, please go to:- https://www.calmac.co.uk/community-board

Having covered the CalMac issues that the CB was currently addressing he took Q’s from the floor. These were overwhelmingly directed at CalMac’s ‘not-fit-for-purpose’ reservation system, exacerbated by Gourock’s abysmal customer information service. Peripheral issues were (a) the lack of capital investment in ferries, (b) poor contingency planning, and (c) the poverty of response from both Humza Yousaf, then Minister of Transport ,and Robbie Drummond( CEO CalMac), to the Tiree ferry issues TCC had raised with them, at the outset of the Clansman’s protracted dry-docking.

It was decided that TCC would summarise these issues in a formal submission to the CB, to be raised /addressed at the next CB Board meeting with CalMac scheduled for the end of Aug . This would also be submitted to David Gibson, CalMac’s Director of Service Delivery, to respond to ,on CalMac’s yet to be arranged Tiree visit.

TCC expressed its gratitude to Angus Campbell for addressing the meeting, and offering detailed responses to all the questions raised .

Other Issues:-

On conclusion of this lengthy CalMac discussion, it was decided to press on with the balance of the Agenda. Due to the near universal, lack of responses from Loganair, Scottish Government, and A&B CC these were expeditiously dealt with, and rolled-over to the next TCC.

Upgrades in internet connectivity have progressed ,and cleaning issues re the Scarinish Public Toilets have been resolved.

Co-option:-

The meeting was advised that TCC has vacancies for 2 co-opted members and it is hoped that these would be filled in time for its next meeting (5th Sept ) Gratefuly, we emerged into glorious sunshine, and cool evening air .

New Tiree Community Council Takes Office

A new-look Community Council for the island formally took over last week at their first meeting, chaired by Tricia O’Neill, Argyll and Bute Council’s Central Governance Officer. Dr John Holliday (the new convenor), Robert Trythall (secretary), William Angus MacLean (vice-convenor),Andy Wright (treasurer) and Donna MacLean take over from the previous council. Sadly, Emma Rossiter has had to hand in her resignation because of family circumstances.

After the council had been set up, discussions moved onto the issues of the day. Chief amongst these was the difficulty resulting from the damage to the Clansman,which had meant a return for the smaller Lord of the Isles. This had been unable to cope with the surge in traffic over Easter and at the May bank holiday, but the biggest problem had been the online booking system, which proved far too inflexible to cope with the disruption.Many people had their travel plans affected. Businesses relying on visitors are likely to have taken a big hit. We have already written to the Cal-Mac management about this, but it must not be allowed to happen again and we will press hard on this issue.

The previous council had been inundated with complaints about the lack of reduced-fare tickets on Loganair flights to Glasgow. Roy Bogle has replied for the company. He effectively said that Loganair was facing big hikes in costs from airports and for fuel. To compensate, no further cut-price fares were being offered during the busier summer months. To be fair, Loganair’s contract with the Scottish Government does not compel them to offer discount fares, but the company has been selling some tickets at a cheaper rate to encourage people to travel. This contract is up for renewal next autumn, but the community council will begin negotiations with Transport Scotland in a few months time, and we will do our best to ensure reduced fares are back on the table.

The other big issue was the future of the Scarinish public toilets. Argyll and Bute Council have, in the past, threatened to close them, and the buildings were getting pretty run-down. As the only public toilets on the island, it is obvious that they are a fundamental part of our infrastructure.

The question is: should the island try to take them over, or should we fight to get the Council to put in some much-needed investment? This is rapidly becoming one of our top priorities, and we will work on this over the next few weeks. We are now down to five members, and we are going to ask two people to join the council. Rules for this have now been relaxed, and co-opted councillors are able to sit for two years.

We want to be as open as we can, and, with several tech-savvy new members, we hope that our website, Facebook and Twitter feeds can be developed. Our next meeting will be at the end of June. Let us know if there are issues you think we can help with (contact our new secretary Robert Trythall on rob@tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk).

Dr John Holliday (doc.holliday@tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk)

Loganair Respond to Communities Fare Concerns

Over the last few months, Tiree Community Council has received copious amounts of comments and letters from members of the community, concerned about growing fare prices on the Tiree – Glasgow route, introduction of lower weight restrictions and lack of promotional deals available to Tiree customers.

Tiree Community Council have been actively communicating with Loganair representatives to get a response to the above complaints and Roy Bogel has now issued us with an update with regards to the pricing structure:

Thank you for your note. On every Loganair flight throughout our network, pricing relates to the expected levels of demand for the service. We continually adjust pricing in an effort to achieve sustainable route economics.

Although the Tiree service is a PSO, if our revenue falls short of the forecast we have submitted as part of our bid to fly the route over the four-year bid period, it is exclusively Loganair’s issue and we have no recourse to Transport Scotland for any such shortfall. As you may also be aware, the PSO provides for a £1 increase per year in the price of each of the five fare “buckets” we have available. This is wholly insufficient to keep pace with increases like Glasgow Airport and HIAL fees and charges, increases in maintenance costs on the Twin Otter aircraft and ground handling costs, before we even get to considering any cost of living increases for our own employees.

The increase in landing and per-passenger charges this year at Glasgow and Tiree airports amount to £1.43 per passenger before any other issues come into the equation. The result of this is that we are selling slightly fewer seats at the two lowest fares this summer than we did last year. Frankly, to cover the costs of the provision of the service, we can’t avoid it; and it is not something for which we should apologise.

With a limited increase of £1 per fare per year, it’s impossible to keep pace with the inflation of airport maintenance and ground handling costs that are an unavoidable consequence of providing the service. As already mentioned, airport charges amount to a £1.43 increase and the sum of the other costs is broadly similar. The PSO only regulates the maximum fare that can be charged, and it does not oblige any operator to offer a lower fare, let alone the range of lower fares that Loganair continues to provide.

To put this into context, we see a position where average fares paid by customers are around £3 higher than last year as a result of the changes – i.e. recovery of the extra costs but not a penny more. One could be forgiven for thinking that this had morphed into the Great Plane Robbery given the level of contention, but an average increase of £3 is the reality of what the change amounts to. We have kept a number of the cheaper fares available but the seats at those fares have now sold out for the summer ahead, and those seats remaining are at higher prices (but still well within the maximum permitted under the PSO).

I’d like to reiterate that the Saturday night stay requirements have not changed and have been in place on the lower fares for over 25 years, based on our archive of Loganair historic pricing information. It is not, contrary to opinion, a new or indeed recent change and it may well date back to policies in place well before 1992. It’s necessary to keep pace with the increases in cost of provision of the service and I can assure you that we’re only doing what we see as absolutely essential. Indeed, if we over-recover (and we’re not doing!) then any excess generated by Loganair is passed straight back to Transport Scotland under the PSO mechanism, so we have no incentive nor motivation to increase fares unduly as we stand to gain no benefit – and plenty of adverse comment – from doing so.

We remain firmly committed to providing the very best value that we can and firmly believe that we’re doing so this year.

To sum up the letter, Loganair have failed to acknowledge any sympathy towards increased fare prices and have explained that they are operating within their current PSO agreement.

The letter confirms that all cheaper fare brackets have now sold out for the summer ahead, suggesting to us that there are very limited ‘just fly’ tickets allocated to each flight.

Tiree Community Council is currently undertaking its handover period with the new Tiree Community Councillors and it is understood that the PSO document is due to be confirmed later on this year.

TCC will work on ensuring the next PSO agreement is more variable for the Tiree community and includes stipulations such that will address the current issues.

Tiree Community Council

At our November meeting, we welcomed Jamie McGrigor, one of our new Argyll and Bute councillors. We talked about the cuts that the Council were threatening to make. Sir James said that the Council would not know the exact figure until early December, but the situation was unlikely to be as bad as recent newspaper headlines had suggested. There were unlikely to be any compulsory redundancies. We made the point that Tiree had had more than its fair share of cuts recently, and that we were not going to accept any further ones.

There have been rumours about the Council closing many of its public toilets; toilets are something that Councils do not legally have to provide. We had previously registered an interest in investigating taking the Scarinish toilets into community ownership. We needed to see the fine print, however, in particular whether there would be any funds to renovate them and keep them serviced. We also need to find an organisation on the island that would be happy to run them.

We had been sent a letter from someone concerned that police cover had not been sufficient while our regular policeman was away. We had been very concerned by the description of the incident and had contacted senior police management. We had been impressed that we had been put through straightaway to speak to the Divisional Chief Superintendent. She and her deputy have arranged to come to the island at the beginning of December to discuss the incidents with the Community Council in person.

We have been concerned with the length of time taken by the opening of the new public library. We contacted the organisation that now runs libraries, LiveArgyll. The manager of the service apologised for the delay, telling us that he had been unable to authorise the painting and new shelving for the Old Police Station until the school had reported that they were satisfied with their own move into the room that had housed the school library. Pat McCann, the Business Operations Manager told us that he “was confident that we can have the library operational by the end of [October].”

We have been nagging the Council for twelve months to replace the rusted railings at the War Memorial in Scarinish. After ignoring repeated requests from us, we have now got a reply from a Council officer, who told us he had been let down by a contractor, but that the Council was now going to use its own staff.

There have been a number of further requests to reinstate the recycling and rubbish bins outside the dump, for those occasions when the dump is closed. The bins were removed after asbestos and other unsuitable items were stuffed into them earlier in the year. We still want to talk to the Council officials involved, and Jamie promised that he would put us in touch.

We talked again about the sale of land at Pier View to MacLeod Construction, rather than to the community groups that had put in offers. We had written to HIE, and their Argyll manager had promised to visit the island so that we could put our points in person.

A number of people had contacted us telling us how disappointed they had been in the recent visit by Brendan O’Hara, our MP. His mailing arrived the day before his arrival, and his surgery had only been scheduled to last one hour. We have written to Mr O’Hara, but so far have not received a reply.

We have been trying to get to the bottom of why Loganair is not able to schedule the larger SAAB aircraft if the number of passengers is too high for the Twin Otter. This is still work in progress.

We agreed to appoint a (non-voting) Advisory Member to boost our numbers.

Dr John Holliday, Ian Gillies, Jessie Gray and John MacCaskill were present. Rosemary Omand and Aisling Milne sent their apologies.

If you want to raise any points with us, please get in touch at doc.holliday@tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk

Tiree Community Council Meetings

Following a very short summer recess, the Tiree Community Council Meetings will resume as of September.

The first one will take place on Wednesday the 6th of September, following on from the usual pattern as the first Wednesday of the month. The start time is 7:30pm in An Talla and all are welcome. The agenda for the meeting is detailed below. Please also note the  Tiree Community Council took the decision earlier in the year to remove AOCB from the meeting agenda, this however doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear from you and would encourage all members of the community to let them know about any issues of concern. You can do so in a number of ways, email, written letter or having a chat with a community councillor. Please visit www.tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk for more information

MEETING ON WEDNESDAY 6th September 2017 7.30pm @ An Talla ALL MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WELCOME

1. Welcome and Apologies

2. Correspondence

3. Minutes of 7th June 2017 and matters arising

4. Tiree Community Council Elections, co-options and forward planning

5. Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL), Pier-head proposals

6. Tiree – Glasgow Air Service, implications following removal of security

7. Scottish Government, meetings during July/August, update.

8. Transportation updates

9. Public Library

10. Tiree Flag, verbal update

Please note. Tiree Community Council holds a monthly pre-agenda private meeting, which normally takes place approximately ten days following the public meeting. The meeting is solely to agree agenda items for inclusion and discussion at the following month’s public meeting. No decisions, other than these, are taken.

Tiree Community Council

The well-attended June meeting of Tiree Community Council was also its AGM, and I gave a run-down of the campaigns with which we have been involved over the year.

These included facilities for the disabled on the ferry, the withdrawal of security at the airport, proposals for a cash machine for the bank, a scheme to create a Marine Protected Area around the island, organising the Remembrance Day service, the loss of the school library service, abandoned trailers in three locations, an area next to Pier View in Scarinish where builders’ waste was lying, buying the old phone boxes from BT and setting up the project to design a flag for Tiree.

We also set up a ballot concerning the beach huts at Gott and Balevullin, and presented the results to the planning officials of Argyll and Bute Council. It has been a busy year, and it is hard now to imagine life on the island without a community council.

I told the meeting about the resignation of John MacCaskill from TCC. John it was who first had the idea of re-forming the council, and his energy brought together the first group of us to stand for election. Since then he was Vice-Convenor for several years, and has also chaired the Tiree Transport Forum. John’s major success was to persuade the authorities that Tiree needed two planes a day, something long taken for granted by Campbeltown and Barra. He also fought hard to improve signage on the roads. John has now decided that his new job managing the airport has made it impossible to devote enough time to TCC matters, and he is reluctantly standing down for the moment.We would all like to thank him for his considerable political achievements.

We discussed the triangle of land to the west of Pier View,which belongs to Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Both the Tiree Trust and Tiree Community Business had made an offer to buy the land in the past few years for use as a play park and community garden. We have learned recently that the ground is now under offer from MacLeod Construction of Lochgilphead. MacLeod’s, the builders of the original ‘Tank Farm’, have proposed three further houses with workshops attached. The way that this process was handled has raised questions about how HIE negotiates with communities, and we have written to them to ask them to come to the island to explain how this decision was taken. Under Part 4 of the Community Empowerment Act (2015), community bodies have a right to buy land that is “neglected”.

We remain concerned about the pier head, which struggles to cope during peak season. The car park is often full and cars have to find space where they can on the surrounding ground. CMAL, who own and manage the land, have written to the Community Council detailing their investment plans for the pier and surrounding area. These amount to over £8 million pounds between 2013 and 2022, including the replacement of much of the link span deck. While this is extremely welcome, we still feel that congestion and parking at the pier head is not getting the priority it deserves. There have also seen worrying reports about corrosion affecting the columns supporting the pier itself. We have asked for a meeting with CMAL and will persevere with these two important concerns.

Efforts to design a flag for Tiree took an important step forward recently with a visit from an expert from the Flag Institute. Philip Tibbetts told us how to organise a successful competition, how long it would take and how much it would cost. We now know how to proceed, and hope to have the official unveiling next summer.

We discussed the state of the police mortuary at the airport. This has no running water and is powered by a generator. While needing a considerable amount of work, we decided that, as it was used solely by the professionals involved, this was a matter that was outside our remit.

We had also set up an online survey about setting up a cash machine on the island. 96%of those who responded said they would use one, with comments like: “I am often asked if there is an ATM on the island. It would be very handy to access cash without having to make a purchase to get cash back, and I am sure it would benefit local businesses and increase transactions on the island generally.” It was pointed out that post offices were another useful way to access one’s account.

The bins outside the gates of the waste facility in Gott, which had been removed by Argyll and Bute Council because of indiscriminate dumping, have now been reinstated after representations by TCC.

We decided that, due to the hectic Tiree summer-fest, our next public meeting would be in September. The Council would still be working behind the scenes, however, and if there were pressing matters, we could still call a meeting in the next two months.

Dr John Holliday (chair), Rhoda Meek, Ian Gillies, Aisling Milne and Jessie Gray were present.

Tiree Community Council Report

Ideas about a new housing development in Scarinish, a presentation from the new Ranger Stephanie Cope, and disappointing news about an ATM cash machine: these were some of the topics discussed at the April meeting of Tiree Community Council.

The April meeting was delayed by a week because a combination of travel setbacks had meant that the Council no longer had a quorum. The meeting went ahead a week later with one loyal member of the public in attendance (thank you Robert!). TCC had been notified that unaccompanied young people would no longer be allowed on flights to Glasgow because all airline staff did not have the necessary clearance.We agreed to write to Loganair for clarification.We had received a letter suggesting that the lorry drivers’ rest room on the vessel – a facility required by law – should also be available for disabled travellers, and that the disabled toilet door should bemade easier to open.CalMac had responded positively to these ideas. The suggestion that an afternoon sailing should be part of a future winter timetable was thought by John MacCaskill, chair of the Tiree Transport Forum, to be unlikely: they had been asking for this for years with no success.

TCC had recently met Councillor Roddy McCuish. He showed us draft proposals to build three house/workshops on the triangle of land between Pier View and the road. This provoked some discussion as TCB and the Trust had both had offers to buy this land from HIE turned down. We decided to look into this. After months of pressure, the corner of land cluttered with rubbish left over from the building of Pier View has substantially been cleared. The electrical box and cable, however, are still there, and we would continue to press for this to be removed.

Councillor McCuish also told us about discussions concerning the transference of the West Highland Housing Association Housing stock to the Tiree Trust. He advised us that this might be too large a task for the Trust, but that a management agreement might make more sense. We also discussed taking the Scarinish public toilets under community control, and would see how much interest there was in the island for this. The next day we met with our MSP Mike Russell. TCC has hopes tomeet the Transport and Islands Minister,Humza Yousaf, on Tiree, and have asked Mike Russell to keep the matter in the minister’s diary.

We passed on a number of complaints about the long time some customers on Tiree had to wait for a BT connection.Mike Russell asked us to pass on complaints at an early stage as he had good contacts with the company.

We expressed our disappointment with the decision to keep the proceeds of the Crown Estate – principally rights arising from the coastal seabed – in Edinburgh. Russell said he was sympathetic to the view that Tiree should get its fair share of profits and has written to the minister involved.

Stephanie Cope gave a very interesting talk about how she is developing her job as Ranger. Erosion at beach access points in Crossapol, Balevullin and Balephuil is a concern. She is continuing the programme of guided walks during the summer and is initiating a series of welcome evenings, including talks about the environment, history and culture, during the main summer holiday period. We had asked the Royal Bank of Scotland about the possibility of installing an ATM cash machine at its Scarinish branch. They have now written to us to say that this will not be going ahead. We were disappointed and will pursue this matter. It was suggested that ATMs are often placed in places other than banks, and this may be a way forward.

The Tiree flag subcommittee is making progress in setting up a flag competition, and is currently waiting for a decision from the Windfall Fund.

The meeting closed at 9.30pm. Dr John Holiday, Rhoda Meek, Ian Gillies, John MacCaskill, Jessie Gray and Aisling Milne were in attendance.

1 2 3