Monthly Minutes, 8th February 2022

Alastair Kennedy, Eddie Wallace, Jim Wiseman, Graham Jarvis, David Chapman (Associate), Richard Dyce, Hazel Lawson, Councillor John Divers, Councillor Graham Leadbitter, Steve Christie
Douglas Clark, Paul Briggs, Gordie Wells
Councillor Frank Brown, Councillor Paula Coy, Councillor Maria McLean, Councillor Ray McLean


  1. Welcome & Apologies
  2. Minutes of last meeting
                    1. GJ proposed.  EW seconded.
  3. Matters arising- no matters arising.
  4. Planning update – JW noted that we had received the weekly updates as expected. Could any member that thinks there are any Elgin items in the updates that the committee should discuss, please could contact they contact him.
  5. Queen’s Jubilee
    1. Report on Queens Canopy / Trees for Wetlands: AK: Passed details on locations and species to council, who are passing it on to NatureScot. AK: will report back. EW: has produced a satellite view of the location. Copies available on application to EW. GL asked if any chance of a new path, round the back of the proposed location. EW: There are questions if this was possible. GL: wondered if a bench would allow for continuity of view, once the trees are planted. EW asked about the a pond & jetty. GL: Pond is there and repairable. Fencing required for safety. EW asked if we could encourage the cadet forces to work. JW: The open aspect looking to the wetland is a desirable view, where you can often see the deer. The wooden walkway may need some attention. Views from Wards Road may be obscured when trees are planted. JD agreed as there had been an issue when the 2 metre fence was added. DC: if planted sensibly, it should be only 3 trees deep. AK: wanted to see the reply from NatureScot, and offered to start basic consultation on FaceBook.
    2. Lord Lieutenant will forward details of the plans for the Jubilee for the next JCC meeting,
    3. Big Lunch. AK asked if we should organise a Jubilee ‘big lunch’. GJ believed that the Rotary doing something in the Cooper Park. JW: We should try to organise along with other groups to see if we can help with this.
    4. Piper & Beacons: AK suggested we look at this after the JCC Meeting this week.
  6. Update on High Street parking: GJ: letters have been sent 7 MSPs. JD: We should write to the Elgin BID. Elgin BID have had meetings. GL: With the School Streets Pilots (Seafield & New Elgin) there had been initial issues with driver compliance, but safety had been improved, and the schools were keen to continue. This was more of an issue with Schools located on a through road. Local residents windscreen stickers were being redesigning. The pilots had been delayed due to Covid. GJ asked if non-compliance was a criminal offence. GL responded that permanent traffic orders are to be put in place shortly. Roughly 30 fines had already been issues, and ANPR cameras being considered. Other schools were interested in joining the scheme. JD: non-compliance is higher during pick-up and drop-off times. AK wondered if warning signs, placed further away would be helpful. JD: The situation was much safer now, even compared with when there Lollypop man/woman. GJ believed that the safety issue was always due to parking. GL highlighted that there was plenty of data in the report:
  7. Gulls update / public meeting: AK had contacted NatureScot to see if they would attend a public meeting, with no response thus far. AK will continue to chase. JD reminded the committee that the advice to the council had changed from NatureScot. Seagulls have now been put under the red designation. Council can’t ask for permission to remove Gulls on behalf of home owners, home owners must request permission themselves. EW: NatureScot need to come and discuss it to explain their figures. RD asked if a FOI request would be appropriate? JD suggested the use of sonic and laser deterring devices. However he pointed out that Lasers were little later in the season as they only really work in the dark. GL: physical interference not allowed. EW: sonic devices that can shift frequencies. AK: are gulls migratory. EW: Gulls return to their nests. Only weapon that is prevention. AK asked if it was ok to fund a public meeting in the supper hall. 
  8. Lighting – Steven
    1. Close Scheme – no update. JD funding in place.
    2. Christmas Lighting – funding. Meeting on 23rd in the Library. SC to attend.
  9. Flood channels – clearing: EW: Cleared debris from the Bridge, but the situation has started to revert. There remains an issue of silt build up. AK: designed to ensure there is always a flow of water. JW: clearing the channel periodically. EW: 7 Years. RD asked if there was a maintenance schedule. GL: The river was inspected to a schedule. There were no concerns with the amount of the material at the weir. DC: confirmed that trees, bushes and grass are now growing at the bridge. JW pointed out that this was natural sediment transport, and that he had a trust in the design. DC felt that debris against and under the bridge was unacceptable. GL explained that given resource management issues, they need to prioritise.
  10. Police – 2 new Community Police Officers have been appointed, PC Yvonne Squair and PC Jamie Dey. PC Squair has provided the council with an update: ‘Now that there are two Community Officers in Elgin we plan to have more of a presence locally to address the issues that matter to the public such as town centre parking.  Officers have recently carried out patrols and several parking tickets were issued.  Further patrols are planned in the coming weeks.’
  11. Fire-alarm interlinking – EW: wanted to highlight the need following the change in the law. DC: electrical contractors in Elgin have noted that there is a shortage of smoke alarms. Existing insurance policies are currently unaffected.
  12. Banking – SC: Accounts are done. Awaiting examination. JW: will provide SC with details of an auditor.
  13. Elected members update –
    1. JD: Deanshaugh – goal posts and lines to be put in. AK noted that this had been agreed in 2014. Thornhill are also looking to get a second set of goals, behind the Glassgreen Health Centre.
    2. GL reiterated the budget challenges reported in January: this year’s budget appears in a good state, but the next two years may be tight. The Council have been reacting to the pandemic, and service development and efficiencies are not progressing at the expected rate. Unless there is a significant change in finances there will be issues, as priority has been given to health by national governments. Projected shortfall is in tens of millions. He was however optimistic that the outlook will change. AK: Why the issue was with next year and the year after, and not this year. GL explained that the difference was due to Covid funding. Covid costs will continue, but Covid funding may not. He gave several examples: Car parking revenue has dropped £150k; More additional support needs in school due to Covid; the rise in energy costs will see unplanned expenditure circa £0.5m; Salt costs are up £0.5m.
  14. Station closure update – EW & DC to look into it.
  15. Money for Moray PB update – AK: Applications closed on 28th of January. We have enough applications to proceed: we have £100k funding, and £130k in application. Voting platform is being investigated.
  16. Website update – RD: The website will be live this week. RD will send draft minutes to committee members by the day following meetings, and Committee members will have until the Friday following to offer amendments.
  17. JCC meeting on 10 Feb 2022 – AK: There will be a presentation on Bus Revolution which is part of the Moray Growth Deal.  Members attend if interested.
  18. Business Cards / Badges / Labels / Lanyards: EW please get in touch if you want them.
  19. Face to face meetings – AK asked if we should we go back to face to face meetings. JW felt it was more convenient to dial in, but conversation flows better in person. RD asked if the council was holding face to face meetings yet. JD explained that a new video system will be in place by April. GL provided further clarification: the system had been funded externally from an ear-marked Covid funding pot. AK: will confer by email if people were happy to proceed. GJ pointed out that the Community Council was entitled to free use of a school.
  20. AOCB
    1. SC: There had been a fire at Old Mills. EW: Regarding a FOI to NatureScot, would it be appropriate to put in a request as the Community Council for their calculations? AK: Will sent a prompt in the morning. EW will take on the FOI individually.
  21. Date of next meeting: 8th March