Kirkcowan – What's Going On?

Minutes of KCC Meeting – 15th March 2021

Kirkcowan Community Council Meeting – 15th March 2021 at 7pm, online via Zoom, due to continuing Covid19 restrictions

Draft Minutes

Present: Charles McEwan (Chair), Hazel McWhirter (Treasurer), Mary Harkness, Andrew Gladstone, Joe Wright, Katrina Dick, Debbie Mcbain, Wendy Wood, Tricia Veevers, Mary Mackenzie (Minutes), Bill Harkness, Kevin Dean, Cllr Katie Hagmann

  1. Chair welcomed everyone and asked if there were any objections to the meeting being recorded to help with writing up Minutes. The recording to be private and temporary. No objections.

    Advice from DI – change of procedures for meetings – the Committee should discuss all items on agenda, make decisions, then invite public for comments. KH – up to individual CCs to decide how to conduct meetings, but must give members of the public an opportunity to speak at some point. Kirkcowan has one of the best attendance records in area. AG – at meetings pre-covid, people would raise a hand and wait to be invited by the Chair. CMcE proposes KCC discuss individual items on agenda and invite comments on each. Agreed.

    Zoom online: since previous account has been closed, KD allowing KCC to use her account for this meeting, but some problems with the link. CMcE proposes setting up KCCs own Zoom account and making it available for other local groups for their meetings too, as Covid restrictions may continue for a while yet. JW – pre-lockdown, had discussed having a Zoom group for socially isolated residents to have a chance to chat. MH will investigate the options, perhaps £120 per annum which allows unlimited meetings and a number of hosts. It is important for KCC to be in charge of its own meetings. HMcW – this could be paid from the resilience grant.   
  2. Apologies: None
  3. Minutes of the last meeting (21/12/20):
    Minutes accepted: proposed by MH and seconded by JW
    Matters arising – Tree felled in Dickie Wood, removing possible danger to memorial bench. JW thanked AG.
  4. Police Matters: KCC – Police Report March 2021
    CMcE summarised main points, though none particular to Kirkcowan.
    High-value bikes stolen | Public comments invited on armed police using bodycam recordings | Scam emails about vaccination appointments | ‘Suicide Prevention in D&G’ app | Campaign website about child sexual exploitation:
    JW has seen suspicious characters in village, important to be vigilant and report concerns to police.
  5. Treasurers Report:  HMcW Account no.1 has £46.30
    Account no.2 has £13,298.49  of which £4,627.26 is the Sports Fund, £2,643.68 is held for groups, and £6,027.54 (including DGC Resilience Grant of £949.00) is unallocated and available to spend.
    From the DGC Christmas grant of £474.50, only £190.44 was spent, so £284.06 has been repaid.
    Outgoings – £325 to A Kirsch for tree thinning in Dickie Wood, to be reimbursed from KCDT.
  6. Correspondence:   None
  7. Elections for Kirkcowan Community Council & also Scottish Parliament: CMcE – due to the vacancies on KCC, a Casual Vacancy Election will be held. The initial notices were not official and the process has had to be reset, as DGC administer the election. Notices, information and forms have to be publicly available for 3 weeks, and after the closing date for nominations, if there are more than 6 candidates, the Returning Officer will arrange the election on the 20th April. DMcb – There have been some questions about the need for candidates to provide personal information regarding skills, experience etc. CMcE – due to his inexperience, initial emails were inaccurate, there is now no requirement for this, just a simple form to fill in and submit. Available in shop and on website.

    There will also be a Scottish Parliamentary election on 6th May, which KCC has a duty to publicise.
    Both elections will be held in the village hall.
  8. Update from February KCDT meeting:  JW missed, so AG summarised.
    Short meeting, no grant applications. Waiting for surveyors report for Dawsons Court, but generally have gone off the idea. KD – Education Grant to encourage higher education or training course, launching within next few weeks, with a view to improving employability. Discussed walks & Steering Group. No minutes available yet. Huw Connick has been commissioned to survey the Jenna Morra wood and produce report and maps, mostly relating to the state of the trees.

Jenna Morra Wood: – HMcW  – for a couple of hours on Saturday mornings, people have been helping to remove the plastic tree guards throughout the wood, and piling them up by both entrances to be taken away.  Many trees are damaged from the long term confinement.Anyone can join in as social distancing is easy. It can also be done at any time while walking through the woods. So, with many people helping as and when they can, the aim is that all the plastic will be removed.

(Councillor David Inglis joined the meeting at this point)

DGC Community Engagement meeting:
CMcE attended 2 sessions covering consultation & engagement. The Gunning Principles comprise a) providing good information for feedback from public; b) allowing time to consider the issues & facts;  c) ensure all important stakeholder are involved; d) after feedback and decisions taken, give reasoning behind accepting some proposals and rejecting others.
CMcE is in discussion with DG Education Dept about sex education in the curriculum and asking them to apply the Gunning Principles in consultation with parents, to be open & transparent.

Potholes: A hazard for disabled people.CMcE sent photos of some to DGC – but during the pandemic they are not big enough to be considered a priority for the time being.

The Hall: 
MH nothing new to report – but on the use of village hall, there has been concern about the safety of voting at both elections. Cleaning will be undertaken by a DGC team before and after each election to make the hall Covid-proofed. JW  has had enquiries about who to contact for bookings, the structure of the Hall committee and also transparency seems to be lacking? MM – have just updated website with this info. MH- not like other groups – registered Scottish Charity reporting to OSCA, and a legal entity operating a 2-tier system with a membership group, who elect the Board of Trustees. Anyone can become a member by filling in a membership form, and so can vote for Board members at the AGM.

CMcE prepared to close meeting. AG – pointed out that several items on agenda were still to be discussed. CMcE – apologies, following the wrong agenda.

JW – on website there is no info on fishing or who to contact for permit? MM – local contacts page on website is well out of date, would appreciate information about current group contacts. Email   KD – Colin Richardson is contact for Angling group.

Steering group:
KD – meeting postponed from last week till coming Thursday, so nothing to report.

Corner parking:
CMcE – In limbo, still waiting for quotes from architects for plans. Church of Scotland, which owns the land, has agreed to allow space in the field to accommodate a parking area. AG – 2 aspects, first is to have a plan drawn up and submitted for planning approval and to act as specification for works. Second is the tendering process for the work to be done. Had a meeting a year ago with person from Roads Dept, who suggested creating new road opening in dyke and fence off part of field. It is a complicated process. There has been no info from L Parker who was going to progress the project. JW – 3 quotes needed to do the construction work, other registered companies might be cheaper than DGC. BH – has the community agreed to this project, and is the corner ‘dangerous’? Have there been accidents? CMcE – a little bit of damage. HMcW – no accidents, just a mirror clipped. It may be more dangerous when vehicles are parked off the road, as other traffic will go faster without obstacles to slow them down. Further discussions once quotes are in.

Food Boxes for over-65s: CMcE – M Murdoch keen to provide food hampers for over-65s, and has done a lot of work on this. The problem is with going through the proper process, making sure all eligible people were contacted.  DMcb – put a notice in shop window, MM contacted people on her list to check that they would want a food box. Grant form submitted to CMcE – £40 food hamper as kind gesture, at a cost of £3,000.  DGC poverty officer is happy for Resilience Fund to go towards cost. Committee will discuss at end of meeting – how much from Res. Fund & KCDT.  HMcW – How many for?  DM – had 90 on list to begin with, now 75 households on form. Are supermarkets contributing? – not much. AG – how will this work, what food, how distributed?  DM & MM will collect all food from shops, make up boxes and distribute. MH – how did names get on the list? – word of mouth, shop window notice and asked individuals, list compiled by MM. DGC poverty officer had suggested it would be good to add people with mental health issues. HMcW – does list include people outside the village?  AG – there’s a danger of people being missed out, KCC are responsible for all residents in the parish area. DMcb – always a problem with any particular group. AG – what sort of foods? DMcb – everyday essentials. CMcE – has list and details. Let DM & MM decide. JW – KCC has to vote & then pass to KCDT, would like to see the application form.

Dickie Wood:
already covered earlier.

AG – will move 2 planters on Stranraer road and use them to replace damaged ones in village. What happens with the rest? CMcE – some rot, get plastic sheet to line them, and alter to make them lower. MM –  already lined, remove lowest planks and use to repair damaged ones, move Wigtown road one too. JW – ask C McNeill to repair and shorten? MH – plan for maintenance & planting? MM – already a few volunteers, CMcE – delegate to people who are interested? MH – yes, separate group to take on. AG – quite an undertaking – if applying for funds for professional repairs, 3 quotes needed. Repairs aren’t really a job for volunteers. CMcE – renovate or buy new, often cheaper? MM – majority are still sound, and the growing season is approaching. AG – will check with C McNeill to do one trial planter. JW – replace damaged ones with those from outside village?  CMcE – leave the rest to planter group: MH, HMcW, MM & JW.
Litter Pick:
JW – usually done at this time of year. Could KCC use resilience fund to buy picker sticks for safety? AG- there are some somewhere, check with J Paterson. MM – DGC may supply necessary equipment? Arrange a date before next KCC meeting?  CMcE – ask on FB for volunteers? KH – contact Robert Lowther, Asset Manager at DGC, to arrange uplift of rubbish bags.

CMcE – Thanks to public for attending. Committee will now discuss grant application privately.

Public left meeting, KC Councillors discussed grant application for food hampers. Approved in principle, but with provisions to ensure fairness.

KCC to nominate representative to KCDT to replace Dave Mcbain: HMcW will stand in temporarily.

The Next Meeting of KCC will be held on Monday 19th April 2021 at 7pm, again via Zoom.

The meeting closed at 9.10pm                                                    

Mary Mackenzie (Minutes Secretary)