Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd.

Committee Meeting, Tuesday 23rd September 2014

MINUTES

These minutes are not verbatim and are intended as a summary of what was said and by whom.

In attendance:

Lee Brown (Chairman)

Colin Hanover (Vice-Chairman/Director)

Ron Billing (Hon. President/Director)

Derek Murray (Director)

Johnny Dunbar (Harbour Users Representative)

Keith Whittaker (Website Co-ordinator)

Margo Howe (Moray Councillor)

Kay Griffin (Local Groups Representative)

Ann McIntosh (Boat Owner)

Bill McIntosh (Boat Owner)

Ian Cameron (Resident/Boat Owner)

David Grant (Boat Owner)

Davie Kippen (Resident/Boat Owner)

Colin Lyon (Boat Owner)

Maureen Burrows (Resident/Lennox Community Council)

Liz Knight (Resident/Lennox Community Council)

Ruth Mackie (Press & Journal)

Stuart Geddes (Boat Owner)

Mike Simpson (Boat Owner)

Shaun Donald (Boat Owner)

Gladys Murray (Resident)

Fred Murray (Resident)

Richard Pyle (Resident)

Kenny Gunn (Resident/Fireworks Display Committee)

William Hawes (SmithsGore)

Alan Laidlaw (Crown Estate)

Pringle George (Resident/Portgordon Post)

Apologies:

Bob Thomson (Director) and Andrew Mackie (Community Warden)

Item:

1. Welcome:

The Chairman opened the meeting with a word of welcome and introduced Alan Laidlaw of Crown Estate and William Hawes of SmithsGore.

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting:

The Chairman said that as the minutes of the previous meeting had been sent out some time ago by email they didn’t need reading at this point and indicated that unless there were any objections they should be accepted.

3. Boat Owners:

The Chairman invited David Kippen to speak on behalf of the boat owners who use PortgordonHarbour.
David Kippen spoke about the boat owner’s willingness to carry out remedial work on the harbour at no cost and how they were against the idea of a marina; preferring to keep the harbour for fishing vessels.

4. Crown Estate:

The Chairman spoke at length about the Crown Estate and it’s role, before introducing Alan Laidlaw – Manager of the Rural and Coastal Portfolio of the Crown Estate, from Edinburgh.

The Harbour Issue:

Alan Laidlaw, having introduced himself, explained his role and involvement with PortgordonHarbour and gave his view on where we are in relation to the proposed work soon to be commenced on the East Pier.

The Chairman said his understanding is that the repairs to the East Pier are scheduled to commence in October 2014 and are expected to last for around 12 weeks. During which time all vessels are to remain out of the harbour. The question was then asked, can the boats be put back in the harbour after the completion of the work?

William Hawes (SmithsGore), said that other work was need on several areas of the harbour to makes the harbour safe before vessels could be allowed to return to the harbour.

Pringle George asked William Hawes if he knew of somewhere the boats could be stored.

Johnny Dunbar Referred to the cobbled area at the foot of the Central Pier, suggesting that this area is well clear of the proposed construction works to the East Pier perhaps the Crown Estate could allow boats to remain on the cobbled area.

Alan Laidlaw replied that something may be possible but stressed that it had to be ‘workable’ for all parties concerned.

Dave Kippen raised the issue of winter weather protection for the East Pier by creating a false shoreline by pushing back the shingle currently pressing against the east side of the East Pier.

Alan Laidlaw replied that notwithstanding efficiencies of cost, ideas such as this may be factored into the work plan; he was open to ideas.Johnny Dunbar reminded the meeting that Chief Executive Officer of Moray Council had, at a public meeting earlier in the year, said that they (Moray County Council) would look into moving the shingle from the eastern shore to relieve the pressure against the East Pier.

Alan Laidlaw said that this would involve Marine Scotland and Moray Council being in agreement.

Richard Pyle asked when residents would be shown the plans of the intended works, and plant to be involved along with the proposed schedule of work and projected impact on the neighbourhood due to construction traffic.

Alan Laidlaw said he was unable to give a definite answer to the question but would be happy to pursue the matter.

Pringle George raised the issue of confusion over communications regarding the tendering process and commencement of works.

William Hawes talked about there being 2 tenders regarding the management of the project and actual construction. He assured everyone that in any event the work commencing in October of this year was a condition of the tendering process.

Richard Pyle raised a question regarding the standard of work to be expected on the East Pier, if the recent work on the Central Pier was anything to go by where the contractors concreted over the drain which now causes the retention of rain water which come the winter could cause problems from frost damage.

Some discussion ensued regarding the Crown Estates ‘offer’ to sell the harbour for £1.00 (Letter of Intent 2008, 2011, 2014) And some comment was made regarding this offer as a means to forwarding the boat owner’s suggestion of developing the harbour for fishing vessels.

Derek Murray said that while he respected the Boat Owners view as orated by David Kippen earlier in the meeting. The Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd had a mandate from the village to pursue the realisation and development of a marina for the harbour and that this is embedded in the groups Aims & Objectives. He also said that he felt that there had been a lack of support, in achieving the groups goals, from the Crown Estate, Moray County Council and the Community during the intervening years since the groups inception.

Alan Laidlaw said that he thought the people were now more galvanised and that the Crown Estate were listening more and went on to talk about marine requirements for leisure sailing, concerning marinas; community consensus and the need for consultation within the community; the drawing up of development plans, and Crown Estates willingness to put money into such projects.

Ian Cameron asked what Crown Estates intention was after the work to the harbour had been completed.

Alan Laidlaw replied that Crown Estates was happy to work with the Harbour Group towards achieving their goals.

Ron Billing reminded the meeting of the Harbour Group’s Aims & Objectives to develop the harbour into a marina and referred to the artist impression currently hanging on the wall behind him.

Johnny Dunbar asked if boats could re-enter the harbour once the East Pier repairs were completed.

William Hawes replied, that boats would not be allowed back into the harbour until all necessary work to make the whole harbour safe had been completed.

Johnny Dunbar then offered, on behalf of the boat owners, to carry-out all such necessary repairs to the harbour free of charge.

Alan Laidlaw said he appreciated the offer but couldn’t accept because there would be all sorts of issues over the compliancy of prescribed legal standards in relation to materials and marine specifications, the issue of certificates of guarantee, and insurance concerns over what would in effect be a D.I.Y. situation.

The Chairman said that he had already received tentative agreement from William Hawes that the group could carry-out repairs and maintenance around the harbour.

William Hawes said that he had only sanctioned aesthetic work such as the painting of bollards and mooring rings, weeding, and the erection of ‘Life-Rings.’

Richard Pyle asked, given that there is a potential volunteer work-force willing to carry-out certain tasks, could the Crown Estate provide the expertise.

Alan Laidlaw replied, that it was possible but remained non-committed to the idea for the time being.

There ensued a general discussion involving questions from the floor concerning the Crown Estate’s financial interests and in particular what sort of return they’d be looking for following any investment such as the cost of repairing the East Pier.

Alan Laidlaw, while not ruling out the possibility of investment, said there would need to be a favourable consensus from the whole community regarding the future of their vision for the harbour before they would make any decision in this respect. He went on to say that there would need to be a consultation to make sure that the local assets can work for the good of the whole community.

Kay Griffin suggested a ‘rapid appraisal’ would probably work best in the circumstances.

Kenny Gunn suggested that a composite group be made up of representatives from each of the different groups within the village could perhaps drive the process and may even be a catalyst for future community endeavours.

Alan Laidlaw said that as a pragmatist and a realist he was prepared to get behind the group’s efforts to realise it’s Aims & Objectives concerning the future of PortgordonHarbour. To this end he said it may be possible for a ‘facilitator’ to be paid for by Crown estate.

Some further general, conversation ensued before the Chairman thanked Alan Laidlaw and William Hawes for coming to our meeting, and closed the proceedings.

Minutes recorded and compiled by Colin Hanover Vice-Chairman/Director Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd.

Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd - registered Scottish Charity No: SC040805
Patron: Mrs Clare Russell - Lord-Lieutenant of Banffshire
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