Community Council Minutes

Iona Community Council


Minutes of the public meeting held in Iona Library on Monday 12 March 2018 at 8.00pm

Present: Shiona Ruhemann (convening), Mark Jardine, John MacInnes, Jane Martin, Rob MacManaway, Toben Lewis, and 16 members of community 

Apologies: Emily Wilkins (NTS)

Welcome: Heinz Toller (Iona Community Island Centres Director)

Minutes of the previous meeting: signed off without further amendments


Shiona Ruhemann:

  • As updated last ICC meeting (Dec), Dr Frank resigned with the intention of leaving a few months early in June this year.
  • For a number of years, the Mull and Iona healthcare system has been running on very expensive locums.
  • This loss of another GP needs to concentrate the minds of Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) on finally establishing a model of care for Mull and Iona that responds to consistent community feedback and is safe, sustainable and affordable.
  • HSCP did hold a workshop on the model of care in February – Iona reps couldn’t go as it was too short notice. It caused a lot of frustration – didn’t get to the point on what options do we have for the model of care. The press release afterwards made a lot of community participation but completely ignored community input
  • ROM/I PPG – including us – put a brief statement in R&A in response, saying that that the conclusions HSCP presented out of that workshop take us back to a situation 2 years ago of HSCP trying to impose a single island wide hub and spokes model across Mull and Iona with with rotating GPs [e.g., GPs including for this area living in Salen/ Tob], and with, presumably, a single Dr on call at Craignure responsible for the entire area on their own, which has been consistently rejected by the communities here as well as many, many outgoing GPs.  
  • What HSCP needs to be doing is that they understand the commitment they made in 2016 to introduce instead a decentralised model of care premised on a GP based in Bunessan (working there at least 80% of the time) for reasons that have been spelt out repeatedly – particularly the erosion of services and repeating the weaknesses of the series of locums, of people not being really invested here and really understanding the locality and caseload, and building up a practice that’s sustainable; and secondly, not safely commutable on a sustained basis from the North of Mull – which we know from an essential service worker commuting once a week.  
  • About having GP rooted here and connected to the system on the rest of Mull, not the other way round. 
  • People on Mull have invested years in these issue. HSCP demands a huge amount of time from communities here but that time is very poorly used – as you know, ICC resigned from HSCP’s Locality Planning Group last year after 12mths of time consuming pointless involvement with poorly run meetings and no discussion at all of the issues we’d been asked to join the LGP to address.  Mull participants discovered recently, e.g., that in all the years of participating in these meetings not a single issue had fed upwards to the next level of decision making at the Integrated Joint Board.
  • What we keep pressing is the importance of working with local input, seeing it as common cause and helpful for ensuring provision is 'recruitable to’ as well as sustainable, efficient and economically viable.  Nobody wants an endless cycle of resignations, expensive recruitment and locums, especially in the current climate of doctor shortages. 
  • And need to stop equating communities’ commitment to a Bunessan based Dr with communities being fixated on an independent single handed practice – it’s clearly very difficult to make that model work as a business and manageable workload; and made more difficult by Brexit with drug prices going up and small practices not having buying power. 
  • We are not wedded to a particular contract type and it’s HSCP’s job to propose the best options that respond to consistent community feedback. 
  • There is another, follow up workshop 27 March, which is finally supposedly and at last to look at 3-4 proposed models for healthcare provision. We’re unlikely to participate directly (lack of time for unproductive meetings and lack of confidence in the process) but through all of this we are actively supporting the ROM/I Patient Participation Group and will meet as a PPG ahead of that workshop – hopefully to discuss the models being considered at the workshop.
  • As part of our support for the PPG, KG has provided a note on recruitment once an acceptable model of care is proposed – that’s premised on having something to sell that everyone really believes in, as was the case here with recruiting a Headteacher.  
  • A lot of emails, engagement, meetings at Bunessan still – and incredible deafness! 

Joan Le Morven commended article Dr Frank had written in Round and About and expressed concern about level of strain GP is under. 

Breakwater update 

Mark Jardine: Not a huge amount of progress. Next stage is data from boreholes; previous tender broke down and had to re tender which has now meant missing the window for the current marine license. New license unlikely to be granted for spring/summer, potentially putting things back by a year. Morven Gibson pursuing an exception via Mike Russell.

Finlay MacDonald pointed out that delay would still potentially put us within a 2020 timeline.

Iona Village Hall 

Gordon Bruce:

  • Along with grant applications, we are currently focusing on nailing down and  pulling together many strands of activity in our fundraising strategy.  
  • We received a good response from the Mull and Iona gathering where we had a strong presence with information banners and leaflets and Mull and Iona Association donated £200.
  • We've had confirmation that we've been successful in our application to the Russell Trust and will soon be in receipt of a generous donation.  
  • We've been very pleased by the positive response and ideas from people beyond the committee for fundraisers and events and we hope the ideas will keep coming.  We would encourage anyone who has an idea of something they would like to contribute or an event they might hold to do so (though helpful to run it past the committee first) as numbers wise we have a limited capacity and our focus will be pulled with admin, Grant and Trust applications and set fundraising events.  
  • We would also like to encourage people to let a committee member know if they have fundraising contacts that they think might be relevant or that we should be pursuing. 
  • There will be leaflets and banners appearing in strategic spots on the island to inform people of the appeal and how they can donate.  We will also be asking businesses if they would be willing to take leaflets and donation boxes.
  • We are set up and live on Just Giving and Text Donate.
  • We plan to hold a session for seasonal staff (possibly in the hotels) to make sure everyone can answer questions and talk about the appeal with confidence and, crucially, tell people how they can donate – we can extend this to the wider community if people feel it would be helpful.
  • Last week we had a very positive visit from Tamsin from WT Architects to discuss the next phases of the project, finalise some design details, and meet with boundary neighbours and Iona Renewables. 
  • With demolition and construction works scheduled to start next winter, hall user groups are beginning to think of displacement venues.  If anyone has any ideas for a venue for a particular activity could they please pass it on to the user group or a hall committee member. 
  • We will be advertising for the Project Manager post imminently (funded through our Big Lottery Grant) so keep a look out and forward on to anyone that might be interested.  
  • The Great Annual Hall clean will be happening this Sat. (17th) – all welcome, the more the merrier… and the quicker!
  • Providing the technology all works (it's it a digital download!), the upcoming film is family friendly: The Greatest Showman, Mon 9th April, 3-5pm. 

Calmac public meeting

Finlay MacDonald:

Well attended and positive meeting on 5 February. Four CalMac staff were present and answered almost all questions posed to them. A detailed meeting note has been circulated, with the following response from CalMac — 

  • Further action: Calmac to alert us on timing for all Tarbert lighting upgrades to be completed. 
    MV Loch Tarbert has had the steel work and cabling installed while at dock and we are awaiting delivery of the spotlight unit which will be fitted as soon as received. 
  • Further action: Calmac to look into additional lighting on a second vessel (Loch Linnhe) and confirm if and when then that will be completed.  
    CFL will confirm this as soon as current docking schedule completes in March
  • Further action: Calmac to confirm whether and when the latest Bull Hole risk assessment can be shared. 
    The risk assessment for Bull Hole ops has been updated to reflect the issues experienced in winter 2017 and this remains in force as a dynamic document and process. 
  • Further action: Calmac to advise which additional vessels are being certificated and when.
    MV`s Loch Linnhe, Riddon, Striven, Tarbert and Ranza, in addition to Loch Buie, are all now certified for the Fionnphort – Iona service. 
  • Further action: Calmac will ensure the Crewing Dept has and uses exclusively a list of qualified skippers and crew on the relief pool who have confidence and capability to do the job required (particularly dinghy and darkness operations), including people who are locally available.
    This has been done.
  • Further action: Calmac will ensure any future sub-contractor is aware of and willing to work in dinghies, darkness and testing weather conditions. 
    CFL confirm we will always make any party engaged to work on the vessel in service on the Fionnphort to Iona geography, or structure at Bull Hole aware of the site constraints before that party is engaged, however CFL could not insist on a transfer if an individual(s) refuses to board the dinghy.  
  • Further action: in case of future breakdown, Calmac will monitor very carefully how significant the problem is and, if it appears significant, act swiftly to replace the vessel with the Tarbert.
    Having done and lessons learned after the Oct/Nov 2017 Iona service issues CalMac have confirmed MV Loch Tarbert will be deployed as relief to the service. 
  • Further action: if a vessel is stuck in Bull Hole the Tarbert will run back and forwards from Tobermory, operating during the day. Calmac to confirm: timelines for deploying Tarbert; if ‘doubling up’ is an option in Bull Hole, and what specific conditions and restrictions would apply; and options for berths outside Bull Hole in case of a broken down vessel needing to be moved. 
    There are no current alternative options for berthing Loch class size vessels in the Ross of Mull. Vessels may be able to double up at Bull Hole, but very dependent on weather and sea conditions and would need to be assessed on a day to day basis.
  • Further action: instead of a retainer, Calmac will implement a defined plan as above that the Tarbert moves swiftly from Tobermory and replaces the disabled vessel.  
    Affirmative - Loch Tarbert deployment will be the immediate relief event.
  • Further action: Calmac to ensure timetable matching of all replacement services. 
    Agreed - at all points where possible the relief vessel(s) will operate to the timetable active at the point of the service relief. 
  • Further action: Calmac to advise what protocol will be followed in cases of significant disruption.
    Port Manager Mull has confirmed contact made with local NHS and that CalMac will advise in future of any significant disruption.
  • Further action: Calmac to investigate with contact centre what is failing in the system and advise us of measures to redress; Calmac also to look into a more compliant way (online/ App system) to make and confirm bookings, whilst retaining a phone option for those not online. 
    The process for ensuring request sailings are requested on time will remain the same in terms of required timeline to request, and current avenues will not change. To ensure direct email contact to the Craignure office service users may also email
  • Further action: Calmac to further increase its urging of Argyll and Bute Council to install the new berthing as quickly as possible, particularly in light of the Bull Hole conditions that the November experience has further highlighted.  Calmac (through Robert Morrison) to advise what are the regular fora at Head of Service and Director level through which the Iona-Fionnphort and Craignure developments are discussed with the Council. 
    The high level strategic AFIG meeting takes place on a two monthly/quarterly basis. CalMac are now also attending two monthly harbour liaison meetings which focus on the more operational aspects of the development. Further representation occurs at A&B design meetings, where view of skippers and service managers is represented. 
  • Further action: Calmac to ensure it participates in these meetings at the appropriate level, and also to give skippers opportunities to participate when appropriate (e.g., next Byrne Looby meeting). 
    CalMac will ensure and confirm participation as and when dates of meetings are communicated.

Mark Jardine: New lighting in Bull Hole but have yet to see it in the dark. Solar powered and not too bright, two lights. There has been consultation with Northern Lighthouse Board as well. Potential of too much/too well marked could attract visiting yachts which would create problems for ferry as well.

FM: CalMac reacted well at and after meeting and have apologised profusely, learning lessons from the series of events.

MJ: Davy Kirkpatrick caught out last week when request was not passed on to ferry crew. Rob McLellan: guests at Bishop’s House had the same issue, but fortunately someone else has booked ferry as well. 

Shiona Ruhemann: Finlay MacRae wants to work with island and businesses to have a spotlight on Iona week. Business Forum willing to vet content if they come back to this. Mhairi Killin suggested all businesses should be able to provide images and blurb.

Ferry committee:

Finlay MacDonald: Colin MacDonald says you can now print off tickets for Oban-Craignure online. Craignure pier has stag appraisal in June to see if it’s worth extending pier to allow overnight berthing for commutable service.

Shiona Ruhemann noted there are still complaints about yellow board not being updated, which FM attributed to inconsistent signal in Bull Hole. 

Vehicle Permits

Mhairi Killin:

    • MK & Shiona Ruhemann Meeting in Oban on 7th March with Mary Jean Devon, Lyndis Davidson, Network and Standards Manager and Stuart Watson, Traffic & Development Manager
    • The aim of the meeting: Ensure we consolidate the progress and collaborative approach developed so far, 
    • Resolve any difficulties and inconsistencies, in order to strengthen confidence in, compliance with and effective implementation of the RTO from the start the season.
      • 1. The Council is rightly permitting some individual essential ‘social care’ exemptions under category (i) of the RTO on a case by case basis to enable off-island sons/ daughters to bring a vehicle onto the island in order to provide social care and support for parents who are island residents. Each of these exemptions has been managed as well as it could be, but relies on ICC intervening and sharing with the Council private health information, that risks infringing privacy and dignity of those involve. It is not appropriate or possible for ICC or the Council to continue playing this case by case role on a long term basis, but at the same time there needs to be island verification otherwise permits are wrongfully applied for and granted by the Council; Dealing with this need on a case by case basis is
        • Highly sensitive – in some instances, as above, risking intrusion into people’s private lives and personal information; 
        • Difficult to apply consistently – in some cases, the Council issues a permit for a basic reason (e.g., “delivery of firewood”) whilst in others requiring more detailed, privileged information (e.g., medical condition); 
        • More work for the Council and ICC – to verify, consider, respond to and post-check applications;
        • Open to abuse – e.g., permits have been issued recently on family grounds to applicants who are not family, resulting in very visible vehicles on the island that should not be there;
      • These challenges can cause difficulties for elderly residents, upset and frustration 
      • 2. The need for off-island ‘sons and daughters’ to provide support to resident parents is genuine, ongoing and wide-ranging the demand ranges from essential social care to more basic support with delivery of supplies;
      • 3. The need to consider the very small number of elderly residents without immediate family on the mainland who may need similar support from friends/carers;
      • 4. The RTO currently treats children connected with ‘holiday homes’ more favourably than children of residents – extended family of second home owners currently get a pier to house permit ‘by rights’, based on wide interpretation of ‘ownership’. ‘Second home’ permits are issued on the logic of needing to bring supplies to maintain the house. However, children of residents are also bringing essential supplies to sustain both buildings and people, but have no rights to permit. 
      • ICC provides the Council with a list of ‘Sons and Daughters’ and named persons – noting that the number likely to visit will be relatively small, and those visiting often smaller still; 
      • The Council issues these individuals with a pier to house permit on application. 
      • Following a successful pilot over Christmas and New Year we were hopeful that the council would approve this approach.
      • Lyndis and Stuart showed a genuine understanding of this issue and would like to find a solution that is fair, and practical operationally for their team. However they are not in favour of ICC providing a list of names for the following reasons:
      • It risks allegations of nepotism against ICC and the VPT;
      • It places the emphasis of “gatekeeping” back onto ICC and VPT;
      • It contravenes data protection laws.
      • Their proposal is for Argyll and Bute Council to produce an application form, for residents who require a named person or relative to have a permit, under exemption (i) and using “ a social care” need as the reason, to complete and return to the council. These will be held on file and used to verify applications. The council will issue annual pier to house permits to verified relatives and named persons. We have requested that no medical evidence be required for issuing such permits, for all the reasons already outlined, and that a signed form from the resident should be sufficient. Lyndis will take this solution to legals & supervisors for approval and get back to us with a decision. HOWEVER We need to have an understanding of the climate they are operating within. The Council is nervous about being challenged on doing things that aren’t evidence based – SW cited the challenges they’ve had over the blue badge bays and we do need to be prepared for this proposal to be declined. We’ve stressed that the Iona situation isn’t the same issue and that it is evidence based, and that there’s overwhelming evidence that the current way of operating doesn’t work, and isn’t appropriate.  Although LD and SW, understand our intentions are right and good and they want to support us and cooperate, we also have to appreciate that they are restricted by the framework in which they operate, and we have to be prepared for this proposal to be rejected at a higher and less sympathetic level.
      • In the meantime we would recommend that anyone requiring a relative or friend to visit with a vehicle advise them to apply under exemption (i) using “social care need” as the reason.
    • It is imperative that the Council maintain its role as the Gatekeepers of this policy
    • Proposal: we requested that Argyll & Bute Council operates a system that guards against fraudulent applications and errors by:
      • (i) Requiring relevant evidence, e.g. proof of residency, blue badge number, etc.; AGREED
      • (ii) Stating clearly on the Council website and application form that the RTO is a legal instrument and what consequences may result from providing false information, misusing permits and/ or contravening the RTO in other ways; AGREED THAT REPORTED BREECHES RESULT IN REFUSAL OF FURTHER PERMITS
      • (iii) Stating clearly on the website and application that information on permit applications (including the reason given for a requested exemption) will be shared routinely with the island community and the wider public if requested, in order to ensure that only valid exemptions are being granted. DUE TO DATA PROTECTION LAWS NOT POSSIBLE BUT WILL PROVIDE QUARTERLY REPORTS ON NUMBER AND EXEMPTION THEY RELATED TO
    • Second Home Owners – AGREED TO NEED TO monitor
    • Issue – the following challenges are being observed: 
      • Lack of definition, evidence and monitoring: permits for second home owners are not currently subject to an agreed definition, and there is no requirement for evidence or monitoring of ownership. Some second homes on the island are in, e.g., third generation ownership with large numbers of individuals (e.g., 16+) considering themselves owners; 
      • Potential wrongful applications: in this situation of a very loose definition of ownership, we are concerned that people who are in no way owners may be granted permits and that this trend could increase with removal of the Green Permits; 
      • Misallocation of permits to second home owners: although hopefully now discontinued, there were cases still in 2017 of second home owners being granted permits full residential rights to drive on public roads, outwith the policy (and applied differently within the same household – e.g., one sibling having such a permit, the other not). 
      • Misuse of permits: non-resident permits should be pier to house only, but in some cases the vehicle is being driven all over the island. 
      • Uncertainty over type of permit: some second home owners have been given a 12-month permit rather than having to apply visit by visit. 
  • AGREED: 
    • Jointly with us, keep an eye on second home owner applications to ensure the system isn’t being abused, retaining the option to introduce a definition of ownership and requirement for evidence if that proves necessary;
    • Ensure any second home owner permits issued are pier to house only and that this limitation is very clearly stated to the applicant along with consequences of breaching it;
    • Current visit by visit permits are appropriate and should continue
    • Issue: In recent years people who are not eligible to have permits have been granted them to bring over boats and trailers to the island, which has undermined the integrity of the RTO and how it is being applied. 
    • Proposal: leisure boat launching should not in itself be a reason for granting a permit. If there is no existing legitimacy under the rest of the policy, a permit purely for the purposes of launching a boat should not be issued. Boats can be launched from the Fionnphort side and moored, where there are permissions, on the Iona side or beached without any permissions.
    • Issue: as the policy implementation is tightened up, there could be a negative response from some visitors previously granted permits, in a situation of growing ‘entitlement’ to bring a car and the need to make alternative arrangements to transport luggage and themselves to accommodation. We did not see much evidence last season of a negative response, and this was mitigated to a large extent by raising awareness on the A&B website, the Welcome to Iona website and individual accommodation providers’ websites of the RTO and its requirements. 
    • Iona Renewables in consultation with Iona Community Council and Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) applied for funding from Climate Challenge Fund for a low cost, low carbon option of luggage carriers (subject to agreement of Council, CalMac etc.,) which would be available at both piers for free use operating in a relay system. This system would address carbon saving outcomes along with practical demands of moving luggage. A higher tech option of an electric vehicle, operating in the same way as CalMac does to take luggage onto and off some ferries, was not pursued because there needed to be more consideration of how to proceed without impacting on the local taxi business and how to run and manage the asset. The taxi business supported the low tech option, but unfortunately it has not received funding.
    • AGREED
      • The Council makes sure visitors who are not granted a permit know that there is a taxi service and have a contact for it; the taxi service is aware of the likely increased demand. 
      • ICC again notifies second home owners about the RTO now being implemented so they can in turn encourage visitors to plan their visit effectively (noting, that while neither the Council nor ICC will promote a business, there are easy solutions for self-catering visitors to buy on-island or have delivered all their food supplies).

Discussion ensued: Joan Le Morven thanked VPT for their concern toward the older people on the island. An attendee queried definition of ‘elderly’. Shiona Ruhemann clarified that it’s social care related rather than age related, and it should be a self-selecting model. MK said that they are asking A+BC not to ask for details, but to accept a resident simply saying ‘social care issue’ as valid. A+BC were the ones to suggest an annual permit rather than a case by case basis to ease the burden on the resident as well as their system. FM asked how to police it, MK said we need to do this ourself and act with integrity. MK also confirmed that there can be more than one named person per family/resident. 

Iona Renewables

Shiona Ruhemann:

  • Since last ICC meeting in Dec, very dramatic time 
  • We had SG DHLF £990K funding in principle – low interest loan
  • Subject to securing Guarantor – based on State Aid rules, IR is a ‘start up’ 
  • Impossible requirement – involved a lot of work since April last year asking organisations to take this on, equivalent to having to raise another £1M to sit there unproductively – and very risky for community organisation if debt is pursued, whatever assurances given by Scottish Govt
  • MICT put a lot of work along with us into considering this, and were very committed to helping – but in mid Dec after 5 months effort from all sides had to conclude they couldn’t due specifically to SG legal documents 
  • Michael Russell has been absolutely brilliant, Cleland Sneddon intervened, Mary Jean Devon and the Council Area Committee of elected Councillors intervened
  • Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy made clear he wanted solution – great political support and civil support
  • IR put case that State Aid should not apply – it should be about the context, not about a definition of ‘start up’, and in this context the market distortion test doesn’t apply (as in the Small Isles, very helpfully pointed out by Ian Leaver, DTAS)
  • Meanwhile, huge work pursuing direct financing options – so we’ve scrutinized to pieces
  • Received written confirmation this evening that the political route has succeeded and the Minister has confirmed State Aid doesn’t apply 
  • So Village awarded funding now stands at £1.15M - £161K SEEP/ £990K DHLF
  • So, particularly thanks to Michael Russell, Mary Jean Devon, Cleland Sneddon, Area Committee Councillors – and to MICT for going through that process; and to DTAS for being very helpful
  • And other pieces in process:
    • Abbey – in January HES confirmed interest in principle in the Abbey joining the community heat network following due diligence assessment of IR’s proposal by Buro Happold; this has been an enormous process, and HES now joined other Abbey stakeholders – NTS, ICT and IC – who confirmed support for the community heat network some time ago
      Abbey joining the network is very good for the project
      Need to address conditions for HES to move to contractual commitment – but those are all sensible 
    • Programme – we’ve tried to keep on track as much as possible for installation to go ahead this winter; hopefully funding coming through to really resource the project from 1 April – running on fumes for a very long time 
    • Surveys – have tested model to destruction of trying to get people to work for nothing – Ability Energy more than anyone.  Have done a huge amount for us, particularly free surveys of every single room, which has given us the design heat load for every building and for the whole network
      Got the data for all the buildings, but impossible for them to write up survey reports for 30+ buildings – so we’re now helping and some of those reports are now out – rest coming asap
      Floor plans and radiator positions/ sizes 
    • Planning – submitted, may need amendment with final technical design; main issue holding up planning right now is roads – requirement that we drill to 1m depth (based on old Strathclyde Regional Council guidelines) whereas 600mm is plenty; and that we resurface roads to their current “reasonable” condition – not only getting the community to pay for its own roads but actually do the work as well – so challenging those
  • 21 March public meeting at 7pm in Village Hall

Joan Le Morven queried timelines to plan use/ordering of oil. SR confirmed this will be discussed at meeting next week.

Iona Community 

Heinz Toller:

  • Thanked island community for warm welcome
  • During 2018, the residential programme which The Iona Community provides at Iona Abbey has made-way for the refurbishment of the living and community spaces. Whilst no guests will be staying at the Abbey, staff and Members will be supporting some daytime activities as well as 5 night programmes at Easter and Autumn in partnership with the Columba Hotel.
  • Worship at Iona Abbey stays the same:
    Weekdays: 9am and 9pm
    Sunday: 10.30am and 9pm
    Justice and Peace service at 2pm will also continue, as well as other non-service offerings in the Abbey (potentially poetry, etc)
  • The Shop and Welcome Centre has been re-furbished as part of Phase 1 and is open for business throughout the season. This includes extra office space above the shop, allowing the Community to move out of the cloister offices. The use of the Chapter House is being retained.
  • The Iona Centre Manager on Iona is Heinz Toller. Heinz and his wife Marjorie are Members of the Iona Community.
  • What is affected by the building work at the Abbey? The living and community space at Iona Abbey has provided hospitality for 45 guests every week for over 50 seasons. The need for renovation is urgent so the work has been planned in phases so that funds can be secured and the complex work can be managed:
    • Phase 1: began in November 2017 and is scheduled for completion during May, 2018. Phase 1 includes the installation of a new lift and the formation of a new guest entrance, with a welcome area on the first floor. Office space has been adjusted so significant work has been undertaken to the Welcome Centre. 
    • June - September, 2018:  activities, opportunities for conversation and hospitality will be developed to welcome islanders and day visitors into the Refectory at Iona Abbey. Hoping to reach out to tourists and day visitors by providing simple food and drink in refectory, and will provide loos upstairs in Abbey, but this depends on change of use planning being approved.
    • Phase 2 will commence when funds are available and a decision about when Phase 2 can commence will be made in June 2018 when the tender prices are available. Phase 2 will involve:
      • the installation of a sustainable energy heating system, as part of Iona Renewables scheme for the island
      • the refurbishment of bedrooms, replacing bunks with single beds
      • installing of insulation
      • up-grading all plumbing and electrical services 
      • levelling the floor and refurbishing the refectory
  • Iona Abbey Capital Appeal  Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal has agreed to become Royal Patron for Iona Abbey Capital Appeal. The target to be raised is a minimum of £2.7 million. On 9th March, 2018, the campaign has raised £1,451,260
  • What will be the benefits?
    • the season will be extended by 25% due to improved insulation and heating
    • environmental sustainability will become a feature of community life
    • the residential aspects of the building will comply with current standards and be secured for the future
    • access will be improved:
      • physical access to the building via a lift, levelling of floors, removal of bunk beds and installation of loop systems
      • opening the living and community spaces to islanders and day visitors
    • support will be developed to include campaigners, carers and people struggling with injustice
    • there will be partnerships with education and training institutions
  • Shop will open next Monday, with sale of breads and cakes (Anja will update Facebook with details). 
  • Intention to have a whole island event on 9 June for St Columba’s Day, including a service marking the end of the first phase. Perhaps with a ceilidh, village fair, etc.
  • MacLeod Centre is shut until a full survey can be completed to assess safety of building. This means the flat cannot be rented out and they cannot offer use of Community Room.

Shiona Ruhemann asked when survey is being done, HT said as soon as possible.

Local Development Plan Follow Up, landscape capacity study

Mark Jardine: Last meeting we were preparing a response for the update of LDP. Emily Wilkins was able to unearth the Landscape Capacity Study, which has been in existence and used for quite some time but which has not been seen by many. A+BC has now put it online ( An outside agency was contracted to survey what the landscape could ‘handle’ in terms of development. Useful document to access if going for planning approval. Some houses have been built since this was produced including not on the potential spots. MJ read some pertinent bits from the study and handed some examples of the maps. 

Finlay MacDonald mentioned that he did not have to do outline planning because he chose an approved spot for his build.

Community Council Elections

Jane Martin: Elections coming up, nomination packs here for those wanting to put themselves forward. Nominations must be in by 4pm on 22 March.


Jane Martin (reading notes from Emily Wilkins):

Alan Rankin will be here on 22 March with Chris Cassels for handover, contact Emily if you would wish to meet him. Looking for suggestions for Thistle Camp activities. Working on new signage for dog walking. Walkway into Fingal’s Cave has crumbled in storm and currently there is no access.

MJ confirmed that walkway to cave and landing are still fine, it’s just the walk into the cave that is compromised. FM concerned that the news Staffa is closed may prevent tourists from visiting. SR CalMac week spotlight could highlight that Staffa is still open.


Neil Bruce: updated on drains, they’ve met with and have annotated map from NTS and are in discussion. Going to use dye to try to track where water is going/coming from. Have offered to meet with Alan Rankin when he is here. 

Finlay MacDonald: Gala Fortnight will be 21 July – 4 August with Skiff event and ceilidh 28 July, any other ideas please talk to Finlay.


Date of next meeting 4 June.