Category Archives: Community Announcements

Tiree Community Council – Oct. Meetings

This was delayed a week because of the school holidays.

There was therefore plenty to talk about, including a discussion about Island Bonds, whether we should get back to face-to-face meetings, future improvements in broadband, and a planning application at Vaul.

But first, the monthly report from our local police station highlighted two significant thefts: in one, a power saw was taken from a site in Crossapol; in another, a substantial amount of cash was taken from a car. Thefts like these are unusual on Tiree, and Steph asked the community to be vigilant over the next few weeks.

The Scottish Government has promised to give out 100 Island Bonds of up to £50,000 to encourage young people to live and set up businesses on islands where population numbers are going down – like Tiree. We have been asked to comment on this idea. While we obviously welcome the idea in general terms, we have some issues with the detail. First, the scheme has to stretch to almost 100 inhabited islands, so it doesn’t go nearly far enough. We also felt that the priority needs to be retaining our own young people.

Argyll and Bute Council is now asking the question: should the community council get back to face-to-face meetings in An Talla? There are a number of people who definitely prefer the old way. There are others who aren’t able to get out in the evenings or who just find it more convenient to watch from their living rooms. We councillors certainly like the new digital democracy. Numbers attending our Zoom meetings have gone up, the chat function allows members of the public to make comments throughout the meeting, while screen sharing allows us to show photographs and plans. Mull Community Council even puts recordings of their meetings online for people to watch later, but there wasn’t much enthusiasm for that idea here. Another big plus of Zoom meetings is that they will allow people to listen in Gaelic (of which, more below). The ‘hybrid meeting’ – where the councillors meet in public in the hall but where people can also join the meeting online – sounds like the best of both worlds but is technically quite tricky. Let us know what you think. We will put out a SurveyMonkey poll, but you can contact us in all the usual ways too. Or you can write direct to Melissa Stewart, Community Council Liaison Officer, Kilmory, Lochgilphead, PA31 8RT or at communitycouncils@argyllbute. gov.uk.

An update to the broadband improvement programmes R100 and gigabyte was given. In their current format, it looks as if they will leave quite a lot of homes and businesses below the promised 30Mbps. There are ongoing discussions with interested parties to see if this can be improved. In the meantime, if anyone is thinking of applying for a voucher under these schemes, could they please contact the community council or Tiree Broadband as one option being considered is the pooling of vouchers.

We also discussed a planning application at Vaul. A number of parties have expressed concerns about how the proposed long access track could affect the grazing above the shoreline. It may be that another shorter track to the site from the south might be better. We also noted that part of the proposed site is in the protected ‘Countryside’ area. We will write to the planner with our views.

Following our letter to the Hebridean Trust, we have had two meetings with their trustees and local organisations about a possible way forward for the Hynish complex. Our hope is to keep these historic buildings – currently providing housing and holiday accommodation – under some sort of community control. It’s early days, but we have made some progress in the last few weeks. A number of experts will be surveying the buildings and asking the question of what businesses could flourish there. Fingers crossed!

We got word that the next community council elections will be in October 2022. And finally, this year’s Remembrance Day service at the Scarinish war memorial will be on Saturday November 13 at 2pm.

Dr John Holliday chaired the meeting, and Phyl Meyer, Gerard McGoogan and John Patience were in attendance. As always, do contact if you think we can help: 220385, doc.holliday@tireecommunitycouncil.c o.uk, via our website or Facebook page. – Dr John Holliday

GAELIC COMMUNITY COUNCIL

The November public meeting of Tiree Community Council will break new ground by becoming the first Scottish council to have its meetings simultaneously translated into Gaelic. Those tuning in to the meeting on Wednesday November 10 will have a choice of buttons: English or Gaelic. Proceedings will be translated by Iain MacIlleChiar. Iain hails from Rannoch in Perthshire, and has spent his life teaching Gaelic in a number of schools and colleges. The three month initiative, funded by Argyll and Bute Council, will suit native speakers and learners who would like to hear the language being used for everyday business. As such, it is expected to attract interest from outside the island as well as from islanders. At the end of the pilot, the project will be evaluated to see how well it has gone. Go to our website nearer the time for details.

Tiree Ranger Updates

cattle grid Isle of Tiree

Hiya folks, How are we all doing?

The seasons are certainly changing and the last few days have had a bit of a winter twinge to them with the light in the morning and evenings. It does also feel like the island is getting a bit quieter and it’s time to start thinking of winter tasks and what needs repaired and replaced over the coming months.

Last weekend I helped marshal at the Tiree ultramarathon. It was great to see events like this starting again on Tiree but there was one activity linked to this event that really stood out for me. I had spoken to Iain MacArthur recently about his track that he put in at Balephuil to allow folk to access the beach here. In the conversation, he mentioned the cattle grid gets filled up with sand and the cows then get out and about. I offered to get a team together to dig it out but our first attempt to do so was called off by the weather.

It was a few weeks before it came to mind again, however the previous volunteers all had work commitments and couldn’t come this time. After having a chat with some friends who were over for the Ultra I put a shout out on the Ultra Facebook group. I headed out to do an Otter Walk and came home to find the broadband had gone down across the island and I had no way of checking the Facebook group to see if anyone had volunteered.

I got up on the Tuesday morning thinking I was going to have a busy day of digging ahead before managing to get onto Facebook on my phone and saw that some folk had offered to help. However, because I hadn’t been able to reply to the comments I was unsure if they would make it.

Off I headed and I needn’t have worried as volunteer after volunteer arrived at Balephuil including three folk staying on one of the Croft Sites who I had jokingly asked to come and help. We also had a delivery of extra spades from Claire Jones. Iain and his team arrived and lifted out the cattle grid and boom the folk all got stuck in. I didn’t even get a chance to grab a spade as they were all taken so resulted in being the photographer. Within an hour it was all done and the grid was put back in place.

I’m very grateful for the volunteers’ time, especially as most of them had ran 35 miles around the island only two days before. Hopefully more work parties like this can happen at future events.

That’s all for now. My contact details are as follows:

email ranger@tireetrust.org.uk or phone on 07391239502 as the Trust staff are still home working

Until next time…

Hayley Douglas – Tiree Ranger Service

Tiree Community Council Update

Coastal erosion, planning and rubbish were three important issues that came up at this month’s community council meeting.

This was held using Zoom, although a return to face-to face meetings may be on the cards in future depending on a future Argyll and Bute Council consultation. Unfortunately, a slipup meant that there had been little advertising for the meeting and our audience was much smaller than usual.

The Dynamic Coast project is funded by the Scottish Government and involves a wide range of bodies from the University of Glasgow to the Ordnance Survey. Its goal is to pinpoint lengths of the Scottish coastline that are particularly vulnerable to erosion over the next generation. Running since 2015, researchers have compared 1890 and 1970 high water marks marked on old Ordnance Survey maps with modern models of the landscape to make predictions of the what the 2050 coastline might look like. (See www.dynamiccoast.com and go to the map section). For example, while sand has been deposited at the two ends of Gott Bay’s An Tràigh Mhòr, sections in the middle have receded up to 25 m between 1975 and 2006. By 2050, it is predicted that 1.3 km of the road here will be lost. On Cladach a’ Crògain or Balephetrish Beach, both ends of the beach have receded by 26 m over the same time, and lengths of the road here too are likely to disappear by 2050.

The second phase of this research will be published this week. It focusses on the most vulnerable stretches of coastline – and Tiree has several – and seeks to put forward solutions. One researcher keen to take this further is Julian Sartorius, a geographer at the University of Dundee. He is coming to the island in September, and would like to make contact with a representative group of us to help him research what people who live in these at-risk areas think about coastal erosion. He will be advertising for volunteers soon.

There was another discussion of the Community Council’s latest draft of the Planning Policy. Following two public meetings, an online survey and some feedback, we have refined the document. If a planning application generates eleven or more comments from island residents (which can be made in confidence to the community council); departs significantly from Argyll and Bute’s current Local Development Plan; raises important matters of principle for the island; might reasonably be predicted to have an impact on the broader community of Tiree; or impacts on a Listed Building as designated by Historic Environment Scotland, we will discuss in public whether to send a response to Argyll and Bute’s Planning Department. Having gone back over the last one hundred application, we think that this would have been the case four times over the last four years. The latest draft is on our website, and we welcome final comments before the September meeting.

We have had some correspondence about bags of rubbish left beside bins. The final public bin – one at the pier – has been removed by the Council after nondomestic rubbish was left in it. It was pointed out that rubbish is a year-round issue for the island, and that we all have a part to play in keeping the island tidy. Part of the problem is that a number of owners of rented houses do not pay for a weekly commercial uplift. Part of the solution is to make greater use of the dump, open six days a week. We decided that we would write to the Council to ask for more facilities. Finally, concern has been expressed about police cover for the island, particularly at the height of the tourist season. Marlene Baillie, the Area Commander, wrote back promptly to our enquiry to say: ‘I can advise that wherever possible we will continue to provide cover by sending an officer over from the mainland … As I am sure you will appreciate, I cannot guarantee cover on every occasion as sometimes the requirement to cover can be at short notice with insufficient time to identify staff and secure accommodation on the island. However, every effort will be made to send an officer over at the earliest opportunity if required.’

Dr John Holliday, Iona Campbell, Gerard McGoogan, Phyl Meyer, John Patience and Stewart Carr were in attendance. Please send us any comments and questions. Our next meeting will be on the second Wednesday of September.

Fuel Station Update

Since our last update TCE Ltd are pleased to announce that we have now obtained our planning permission and have instructed the contractor to proceed with the construction works.

The programme is now finalised and the work will commence on 6th September and last for approximately 14 weeks, with handover on 7th December – all going well.

Three local businesses have been successful in securing portions of the work for the contract. We understand that Mr David Gunn is to be appointed to provide quality control consultancy services to Adler & Allen, our main contractor, with I A MacKinnon Haulage Ltd providing logistics, storage and materials while John Mackinnon (Builders) Ltd will be undertaking the civil engineering works.

It has always been our intention to install an electric vehicle charging station. The infrastructure required to achieve this is being installed under the contract and it is hoped that the charging unit will be likewise. However, we have been forced to seek additional funding for this item and await the outcome of the grant application which has already been made. It is possible that the charging unit may have to be fitted after the main contract is completed.

TCE Ltd have decided to run two competitions, the first to name the fuel station and the second to name each of the three pumps and the electric vehicle charger. To this end we will be inviting all children of school age, whether attending the community schools or not and who’s families are resident on the island, to name the pumps. The island community as a whole (children and adults) will be invited to name the station. The local schools have agreed to help in this task. They will promote the idea to all their pupils and collect the entries from that group.

Those school pupils who are not attending the local schools should send their entries to fuel@tireetrust.org.uk. All the received entries will be considered, filtered and anonymised by a panel of the teaching staff at the school and the resulting entries will then be passed to a panel of older pupils, set up by the school, to judge the winning names. Entries for the station name should also be sent to fuel@tireetrust.org.uk. TCE will pass these to the school for inclusion in a second and similar judging process. There are no rules for any of the names as long as they are appropriate. However it has been suggested that at least one name should be Gaelic.

We will have one red diesel pump, two petrol and white diesel pumps and one electric charger. The competition will run from 1st to 30thSeptember, 2021. The winning names will be announced by TCE once the school has picked the winning entries. Good luck!

Tiree Community Toilets

As reported in our previous issues, Tiree Community Business has taken over the maintenance and upkeep of the Scarinish public toilets on a year’s trial basis from Argyll & Bute Council. Our current goal is to fundraise as much as possible in order to pay cleaners and buy materials towards the upkeep of this facility. The Car Treasure Hunt organised by TCB on Wednesday 30th June raised £460. Donations are encouraged by those using the toilets via the money boxes on display at the Scarinish toilets; to date we have raised £160 from them. We have been fortunate to be included in the latest round of Co-op Local Community Funding that will start in October, as well as receive donations direct to our office which are £60 to date. Moving forward we plan to continue approaching other funders for further support and are always happy to accept donations in order to support this worthwhile community facility, as the Scarinish toilets are currently the only public toilets available on the island, so we can’t let them disappear. We would like to thank everyone who has supported and donated our cause so far. On Thursday 5th August we will have run another Car Treasure Hunt with a raffle, which we’ll cover in the next issue of An Tirisdeach.

Thank you again to everyone who has donated. Tiree Community Business are always happy to accept new donations for the upkeep of the toilets; if you wish to donate please contact Norma at the Business Centre via telephone on 01879 220520 or email tireecommunitybusiness@btco nnect.com.

New Adventures to be had at Tiree Playpark

After a temporary closure to install new equipment, the play park in Crossapol recently reopened to the public.

Sporting a new Ocean Star play unit, multi-goal with gymnastic bar, small cradle swings and two flat seated swings, we’ve already seen children enjoying the new pieces in the sunny Tiree weather!

All of the safety matting has been replaced as well with new turf installed underneath and is reported to be growing well.

The play park was originally built and opened in 2006 with the original main swings and see-saw. The climbing frame was installed in 2008. The roundabout was added in 2012, and the zip wire added in December 2012. Each item of the play park has a limited life unfortunately – asides the most recent replacements, the original roundabout and see-saw were replaced back in 2019. Costs for each piece of equipment are large, with the total of this year’s renovation around £30,000 when the VAT, transport and installation costs are included.

We are very grateful to all the people both on and off the Island who have donated. We are going to erect a sign at the Park which will list our major sponsors, and a donations box at the Park is ready to help fund future repairs and replacements. Donations can also be sent to Tiree Community Business, The Island Centre, Crossapol, PA77 6UP.

We would like to thank Iain Munn and his team for installing the new equipment quickly and efficiently, and Argyll Community Housing Association for their continued arrangement of the ground maintenance. It is thanks to the continued efforts of the community that the play park remains a safe and up-to-date environment for both the islanders and our visitors.

Tiree Community Business are always happy to accept new donations that will continue to help the play park thrive.

Tiree Community Council – Meeting and AGM

June’s meeting doubled as an AGM, featuring reports from the Convenor and Treasurer on the Council’s work and finances from the past two years due to COVID disruption of last year’s proceedings.

All councillors were present for the AGM, which was also well-attended by the public. Dr. Holliday was unanimously reappointed as Convenor. Following Cllr Meyer’s standing down as Secretary, Cllr Reid was appointed to this role. Cllr Clark stood down both as Treasurer and from her role as a Community Councillor. TCC would like to thank Alison for her hard work and contributions; she will be missed by all of us. Cllr McGoogan was then appointed to fill the role of Treasurer. The business meeting then went ahead, with Cllr Reid giving her apologies.

Advertisement of the Dentist vacancy; the community phone box project and necessary repairs to the remaining BT-owned phone box at Baugh were discussed under minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising.

Under correspondence, it was agreed that Cllr Meyer would respond to a consultation from the Scottish Government on the role of local place plans. Local place plans were introduced in the recent Planning (Scotland) Act of 2019 and aim to give communities an active role in the planning process and development of their local area. Such plans should interact positively with existing national and community frameworks, including the Tiree Growth Plan, and therefore TCC intend to respond with their support.

Cllr McGoogan gave a detailed report on Transport, including vacancies on the CalMac Community Board and the potential for greater representation of the islands within this role. The importance of island representation on the board was seconded by Argyll and Bute Councillor Mary-Jean Devon, who was also in attendance.

It was decided that the consultation on TCC’s planning policy should be extended to reflect the delay in its publication, for which the councillors involved sincerely apologise. The online consultation was extended until Wednesday the 23rd of June, with opportunity for members of the public to give detailed feedback on the draft policy document. A further public meeting of the planning subcommittee was held on Wednesday the 16th of June, where the draft policy was presented with opportunity for members of the public to ask questions and give informed feedback. Following the consultation, the planning subcommittee will meet again in July to discuss the result and vote on potential amendments to the draft document before a vote of the full council on the final version.

Cllr McGoogan also reported on the progress of the community garden project. At the time of the meeting, an application had been made to the Argyll and Bute Supporting Communities Fund but the outcome had not been verified. The award has since been confirmed as £2,400. This ‘seed’ funding will be put towards materials for raised beds and the general repurposing of the area near Pier View into a fully functional community space.

May Meeting of Tiree Community Council

Working our way towards a new planning policy for the community council, a debate on water saving measures, news on the redevelopment of the pier marshalling area and a reduction in the number of same-day ferry tickets were some of the subjects that came up at the May community council meeting.

John Patience and a subcommittee of councillors has been working on a new planning policy for the community council for a few months. A draft is finally ready. The Scottish Government recommends that community councils have ‘a special role [in the planning process], representing a broader yet still local view which can be set alongside the comments of those with a more individual interest’. Our proposal is that if a local planning application has the potential to impact on a significant number of people in the community, raises important matters of principle for Tiree, departs from the Local Development Plan, or concerns a Listed Building, we will consider it. These are likely to make up a small proportion of the total planning applications.

John explained that the community council’s status as a ‘statutory consultee’ simply meant that Argyll and Bute Council had a statutory duty to inform us about planning applications; it does not mean that we had to comment on every application. We agreed the draft presented by John. This is now out for consultation on our website, following which there will be a public meeting to allow us to collect feedback.

Scottish Water came to one of our public meetings a few months ago after several new house builds had been knocked back because the company could not guarantee supply during times of peak demand. They rowed back on this decision – for the time being. Now they have become keen on water saving measures for the island. Leaks in the network, according to company figures, are surprisingly low. But Scottish Water are now proposing a trial of shower timers for part of the island. These are designed to nudge us away from long showers. Their effectiveness would be monitored by the company, comparing water usage in the area being studied with the rest of the island. This sparked quite a debate. There was a school of thought that this was a good ‘green’ measure and we should be doing this anyway to save the planet. Others felt that this was a cheap way for the company to wriggle out of building expensive new boreholes and pumphouses that would really solve the capacity problem. We agreed to support the proposal, but keep the pressure on the company to provide us with robust supplies for the years ahead.

We have been in dialogue with CMAL – who own the Gott Bay pier and marshalling area – and CalMac – who operate them – about their plans for redevelopment, now that work at the business end of the pier has finished. We know that significant safety concerns around the marshalling area were logged in a 2019 consultant’s report. But try as we might – and we have tried at the highest level – CalMac have refused to give us access to the findings. Our own survey about the pier, which attracted 99 replies, brought together a lot of useful suggestions from those who live around, work in and travel through, the pier. We have passed these on to CMAL. It is a complicated patch of land, with ten landowners to consider. We are looking for better-managed parking, a safer separation between pedestrians and cars, a dedicated bus stop, a separate marshalling area for cyclists, good refuse facilities, clearer signage and a waiting room at the end of the pier. We know the budget for the work is £350,000, which pays for less tarmac than you think. We will do our best.

We also heard just before the meeting that the turn-up-and-go ferry passenger tickets are being restricted to just four – for Tiree and Coll. These tickets were introduced last year as a way to allow islanders to get to and from the mainland at the height of the tourist season. This seems too few, and will keep a close eye on the situation.

Dr John Holliday was in the chair. Phyl Meyer, Gerard McGoogan (who joined us from the Oban ferry), Alison Clark, Stewart, John Patience and Louise Reid were present.

Community Fuel Station Update

Since our last update TCE Ltd are pleased to announce that we have now achieved a signed off design of the new fuel station and appear to have succeeded in bringing the project within our budget, a major achievement in itself. We have also submitted our planning application and we have a formal programme for the works.

The station will have two pumps, one petrol and one diesel, located at the rear of the forecourt. These will be accessible regardless of the direction a vehicle approaches from or which side its fuel filler is on. There will also be a red diesel pump. All will have card readers to allow fully autonomous operation using credit and debit cards. Account cards will be issued to the emergency services and critical services operators. Cash sales will also be possible for those who prefer this payment method.

The main storage tanks will be located below ground and we are looking at a similar solution for the red diesel tank, but this has still to be finalised. A small secure compound will be located at the east end of the forecourt. There will be two charging bays for electric vehicles complete with all the infrastructure required for the charging points. We are hoping to have the charging points installed as part of the works but cannot confirm this just yet. If that does not happen, we will be looking to have them installed as quickly as possible thereafter. There will also be a compressor to inflate pneumatic tyres.

The storage volumes are dramatically increased from the current capability and should allow us to continue to provide fuel for up to three weeks in the summer AFTER a tanker delivery is due should there be a problem getting a tanker here. In the winter when ferries are more affected by the weather but demand is lower, this resilience is expected to rise to about six weeks, again after the expected delivery date. It has been difficult projecting sales into the future and a big thank you goes to the Maclennan family for their help in this regard.

With the 2030 electric vehicle deadline announced by the government, overall sales are expected to fall but we suspect that there is a possibility that petrol might rise in popularity for a while. Consequently we have future proofed the storage capacity by incorporating two compartments into each tank which will allow us to vary the proportions of petrol and diesel stored. At first however, it is expected each of the two principal fuels will occupy two compartments each.

Timescales are perhaps the biggest challenge for us now. The current programme provides for a site start early in July with completion at the end of October. However, these dates are wholly dependent upon receipt of planning permission and we are aware that the Planning Department at Argyll & Bute Council are experiencing delays due to the effects of the current pandemic. We have little control over this phase of the project but will be pursuing a quick turnaround in the approval process.

Scarinish Pier Summer Access

The congestion at the Pier area during ferry times is expected to increase this summer, it is already difficult for lorries, tankers , fuel customers and pedestrians etc to move about safely at these times.

As there is no signage informing people which way to go when driving from the ferry they tend to turn left into this dead end road causing serious problems.

A collective agreement between the Businesses and Argyll Estates will ensure that this area be blocked off at these busy times. This will come into effect from Monday May 3rd through till October.

Cones will be placed across the road before the Yellow Hare and access will be restricted unless for business purposes ie (Royal Mail) . Obviously pedestrian access will always be available, this only applies to vehicles.

As a result the fuel station will be closed during this time and operate a new timetable which is detailed below. With the volume of freight and commercial vehicles operating at ferry times in this area we feel this is best practice to ensure the safety of pedestrians and vehicles.

FUEL OPENING TIMES:

  • Monday: 9-10.30am / 12-4pm
  • Tuesday: 9am-4pm
  • Wednesday: 9-10.30am / 12-4pm
  • Thursday: 9-10.30am \ 12-4pm
  • Friday: 10.30am-4pm
  • Saturday: AM closed \ 12-2pm
  • Sunday: CLOSED
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