Draft Minutes of Colonsay Community Council 9th June 2020, by Zoom

Please be aware that these DRAFT minutes have not yet been adopted by the council but are published in order to keep the community informed of council business as timeously as possible.

Convenor Keith Rutherford (KR)

Vice Convener Alex Howard (AH)

Treasurer David Hobhouse (DH)

Secretary (interim) Jane Howard (JH)

Richard Buttrick (RB)

Liz McNicholl (LMN)

Helen Mann (HM)

Kevin Byrne (KB)


Present: All councillors plus Donald MacNeill (minute secretary).

There were approximately 50 members of the public present.

Also present was Councillor Robin Currie.

Apologies were accepted from Jan Brooks.

Keith Rutherford welcomed the meeting and thanked Richard Buttrick and the councillors for their work organising a survey of the wider Colonsay population's preferences with reference to the possible lifting of travel restrictions during the covid 19 epidemic. Keith then asked Alex Howard, Vice Convenor to chair the meeting as Keith was attending by phone. Alex agreed.



Minutes of Ordinary Meeting 5 th May 2020

Minutes of Emergency Meeting of 26 th May 2020

Were accepted without comment.


Minutes of Emergency Meetings of 12th , 19th and 26th May 2020 were adopted.


2. Community Consultation – Colonsay coming out of lockdown.

The results of the presentation, and preliminary comments are appended.

AH invited RB to present the findings of the consultation and thanked him for his work.

RB took time to explain that the survey was not professionally prepared but that he had sought advice as to how to conduct a consultation of this type. Due to time constraints it was of necessity limited and intended to gauge the feelings of the community at this time .

RB then went through the introductory slides, and invited questions from the floor.

William Knight queried the term “non-essential” as applied to workers. RB replied that “essential workers” was a government definition so “non-essential” were those who fell outside that definition.

RB then discussed the role of the Community Council [slide] and stressed that the council had a lengthy discussion with a member of Argyll and Bute Council as to what should constitute their target audience. A&B responded that they should make the survey as broad reaching as possible and that it was not appropriate, for example, to restrict the survey to the electoral roll.

Melissa Stewart, A & B Community Council governance advisor.

Dannie Onn from the floor asked if there was to be a survey of businesses and other local bodies. RB replied that that was the intention of the Council.


Overview of Responses .

RB explained that as the electoral roll was not suitable to definene the electorate, respondents had to identify themselves in order that they were seen to be eligible to take part. Three categories were identified: Permanent residents, 2nd home owners and “other”

Calum Hay from the floor, asked what the definition of “other” was.

RB replied :

Persons temporarily resident on Colonsay

Persons with a strong affiliation with the Island who visited regularly.

RB thanked respondents for 16,500 words of comment.


General Themes. [Slide]

RB Pointed out that there were significant differences in responses between permanent residents, and second home owners and others.


RB then went through the bar charts of the survey results and invited comment from other councillors. [Slides]

There were no questions until the slide covering 2nd home owners coming to Colonsay when KR asked what the situation would be regarding self-isolation.

JH replied that if free movement is allowed then self-isolation will not be necessary. She pointed out that there was no guidance as yet from Scottish Govt. LMN suggested these points might be open to interpretation and RB that there was as yet no guidance for ‘shielded' people.

Robin Currie stated that he had seen some newspaper report suggesting that travel restrictions were likely to be eased in phase 2. RB had found no Government statement on this and neither had LMN.

On the question as to when “other” visitors, tourists and friends should be allowed to come to the Island KR asked if that would be dictated by Scot. Gov.

AH replied that the council were testing views at present, with a view to advising on Scot. Gov recommendations.

RB said there would need to be further questions to better test the community feeling.


Questions and comment.

Following RB's presentation of the results AH opened the meeting to questions from the floor.

William Joll: In the event of family and more people being allowed to come to Colonsay will the capacity of Calmac ships be reduced?

JH Calmac is working on this and passenger capacity might be reduced to as little as 18%. No details have as yet been published.

Caitlin McNeill: While appreciating that the wider community be consulted felt that residents views must hold more weight.

LMN pointed out that Mull Ferry Group were doing a residents only survey.

Caitlin: reiterated her view that the CC should be reflecting resident's views, and should not infer that a survey of the “wider” community was representative. She also had concerns that some of 2nd home owners and “others” were business people who had a vested interest in opening Colonsay for tourism as soon as possible.

AH referred back to the advice given by Argyll and Bute.

Sheena Nisbet: Didn't feel that people who were resident on Colonsay “by accident” due to lockdown or for any other reason, should be counted as representative of community feeling.

AH: reiterated advice taken from Argyll and Bute as the CC had identified this as a problematic area.

Dannie Onn: Data is clearly shown and can easily be interpreted showing views of residents.

JH: Advice is that data should be presented in its entirety and it is not for the CC to add weight.

Dannie Onn: Responses would be affected by health measures in operation at the time restrictions are eased.

JH: More nuanced information required.

LMN: It may not be clear to everyone who completed the survey that Colonsay's population would quadruple during busy summer months. [ Liz clarification:”in a normal year”]

JH: I agree that sort of information would be really useful.

David Guest: Noted that 2nd home owners, from the results of the economy questions, seemed more concerned about the Island economy than locals.

Caitlin McNeill interjected that most 2nd home owners had a business interest on the Island, she also commented that there were more 2nd home owners than permanent residents at the meeting.

AH: There will be a business survey, all business people will be consulted however this meeting is to gather views of individuals and to pass information on to other bodies.

Mathew Munro: As a long standing visitor and 2nd home owner, felt offended that they were portrayed as being more interested in their pocket than the welfare of the locals. He felt this was not the case and certainly not in his case.

David Johnston: Survey is good basis for making representation to SG. How would council seek to influence SG in the event that Colonsay wished to enforce rules different to these pertaining nationaly?

AH: CCC has no powers. Duty is to listen to community and pass views back to government.

Caitlin: CCC should be proactive if it is felt that the direction taken by Scot.Gov is at odds with the feelings of the community, particularly the resident community. It is CCC job to lobby Scot.Gov.

AH: Agreed, that is why we compiled the questionnaire.

Robin Currie: Expressed how impressed he was with Colonsay's activity. He stated that Transport Scotland and Scot.Gov. will be engaging with individual communities and that plans for easing lockdown will be on a route to route basis. He felt the work being undertaken by CCC was entirely appropriate to this need.

Ali Russel: As a 2nd home owner she felt locals should have priority view. She suggested that Colonsay was in a position to ask 2nd home owners to stay away even if Scot. Gov. opened up. The paying guests booked into her cottage had, all but one, been happy to defer their holiday for the good of the island.

DH commented that while 2nd home owner responses were at odds with locals they might vote differently if they knew what the local residents' wishes were.

Alistair Scouller: Have you given thought as to what criteria would encourage you to open up?

AH: Start point would be Scot.Gov. Perhaps a period of no new deaths or cases of corvid 19

LMN: Tourist come from all over the country/world so Scottish cases are only part of evidence. Colonsay has many very vulnerable people

DH: There was a new case in an isolated community after 8 weeks.

Isolation for shielded people has been increased. (Scot.Gov)

Christa Byrne: From a local perspective, in order to live our lives we need to come and go. We must be aware that in the event of the public having limited access to the Island with attendant self-isolation then returning locals will have to adhere to the same rules as visitors.

RB: How will we manage shielded people? Looking forward to Scot.Gov. guidance.

When he eventually gets home he will be self-isolating for the recommended time.

Sheena Nisbet: Holly is coming home and will self-isolate.

AH: Expressed gratitude for attendees at meeting and for people taking the time to fill in the questionnaire.

•  RB: It would be good to hear from the community as to what mechanism should be used to gather further information. Richard would welcome input.

DH: If survey was repeated would workload be reduced? RB Yes but it would still be a big ask.

HM: How do we move forward with the data we have gathered? We don't want data to become outdated.

DH: We should pass data on in total.

AH: Would anyone object to the data being passed to SG via daily feedback method?

LMN: We would have to ask all respondents permission.

AH: It was stated on survey that data might be passed to other bodies.

KB: Information is anonymous so we should pass it on.

Andrew Abrahams: Councillor Robin Currie said we should pass information on so get on with it.

Robin Currie asked if he could use the survey as an example. No objections.

Robin Currie will find out appropriate channels for getting our voice heard.

Info will also be passed to Iain MacAllister.

Dannie Onn: There is now a paid civil servant with a role as Island liaison.

DH: Iain offered his expertise in a private capacity.


DH: Calmac will be asking for feedback on ferry service. It was agreed service was fine and Calmac had been very co-operative.

Andrew Abrahams: Brogans are coming on 19 thJune with all tankers for a 2 hour stopover, it might be useful for other businesses.

RB: Asked that management of septic tanks emptying be put on next agenda.

DONM: 7th July 2020 at 6pm .

Alex closed meeting and thanked everyone particularly Helen Mann who had put the survey on the digital platform.

Kevin thanked Richard for all his work, seconded by Keith who thanked Alex for chairing.

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