Newsletter 26 April 2010

Great News! The Highland Council have recently agreed to waive their right of pre-emption on the Old Primary School and its associated buildings.

This right of pre-emption could have been used to block the disposal of the property by the Community Council, meaning that its ownership would revert to the Highland Council. This welcome and generous decision leaves the way open for the village Council to transfer ownership of the school to Contin Community Trust - the Council itself is prevented by law from commercial activity. In order for the village to raise the money to erect a new purpose-built community centre, the Trust are now all set to arrange for the sale of the old School, the old Headmaster’s house and all the land on the north side of the entrance to the site. The land on the south side of the entrance (currently the field) would be retained by the Trust for the erection of the new Community Hall and associated parking.

The negotiations between the Highland Council and the Community Council have taken nearly two years to complete and are largely the fruit of the labours of Martin Milree, chairman of the Trust and the Reverend Gordon McLean, company secretary. This was marked at a small ceremony at the Village Meeting on 1st March when Gordon was presented with a token of appreciation for his efforts on stepping down as secretary to the Board of Trustees. Fortunately for us he is continuing as Company Secretary, holding as he does the memory and knowledge of the protracted negotiations. The new secretary to the Board is Elaina Hermitage from Dingwall, an experienced company secretary with wide knowledge of business administration and project analysis.

And it was a Great Party, too – at last!

The much postponed Senior Citizens’ Party was held in the Community Centre on Saturday 17 April. A series of burst pipes resulting in major flooding of the kitchen and the hall plus all the problems of the recent weather had resulted in the Community Council’s party for Senior Citizens having to be moved from just after Christmas until after Easter. Inevitably this meant that the attendance was smaller than usual, with people now being away on holiday, etc.

Even so the 24 older members of the Village who attended were unanimous in declaring the occasion a great success. This was due to the combined efforts of stalwarts Irene Urquhart, Elma Henderson, Louise Finlayson, Kirsty Finlayson – and of course the determination of Kate Finlayson and Isabel Stewart that the event should take place at all. The meal itself was provided by Catherine and her staff from the Victorian Tea-room at the Station platform in Strathpeffer while in-flight entertainment was capably provided by maestro Adam Baxter at the keyboard, Hugh Mackenzie on the mouthorgan and Frankie Miller on the drums. Nancy Stewart, with her inimitable touch, encouraged us all into song in a feast of nostalgia, and finally, at the age of 11, the youngest man present, Callum Williams gave us great pleasure with his playing of the bagpipes. He soon had everyone tapping their toes in time with his tunes.

A particular vote of thanks should go to Geordie Hay and Janet and Jock Mackenzie for organising the whist drives, the proceeds from which paid for the party. The Council also wanted to acknowledge the generous donations of lavish draw prizes from members of the community.

All in all it was a very happy and friendly occasion, not least because Alan Cameron enticed quite a few ladies onto the dance floor as well! One sad note was that Jessie Benkowski, Contin’s oldest resident at 99, was indisposed, and unable to be present. On behalf of the community, Alegría Gunner presented her with flowers and best wishes.

Village Forum Monday 3rd May in the Community Centre at 7.30 pm

This is a warm Invitation to you as a resident of Contin to come to this, a joint meeting of the Community Council and the Community Trust.

Items to be aired are

  • The Highland Council’s decision to waive their right of pre-emption on the School (see page
  • The Fairburn Windfarm: applications for funding
  • The A835
  • Parking in Torview
  • Adoption of Coul Road
  • The Business Plan
  • The Website
  • Future Village Newsletters.


If you have any old photographs of Contin, both the village and its inhabitants, it would be a great help if you would kindly bring them with you. If you are happy for them to be published, they can be scanned on the spot and will add to the Contin Picture gallery (see page 3).

A note of any items you would like raised should be sent to:

Isobel Stewart, 12 Tor View (421 482) or


by Friday 30 April 2010, please.

Forthcoming events (which are also in the calendar on the homepage of the website):

Monday 3rd May 7.30 pm

Village Forum (incorporating the bi-monthly Community Council and a public meeting of Community Trust), Old Primary School

Tuesday 11th May 7.30 pm

Contin Community Trust Board Meeting, Contin Mains

Monday 7th June 7.30 pm

Contin Community Council Standing Committee, Contin Mains

Tuesday 8th June 7.30 pm

Contin Community Trust Board Meeting, Old Primary School

Monday 5th July 7.30 pm

Village Forum (incorporating the bi-monthly Community Council and a public meeting of Community Trust), Old Primary School

Tuesday 13th July 7.30 pm

Contin Community Trust Board Meeting, Old Primary School


Minutes of the Meeting held at Contin former Primary School on Monday 1st March 2010

Present: Laurence Gunner, (in the Chair), John Mackenzie, Andrew Finlayson, (Vice Chair), Fraser Stewart, Roy Mackenzie, Isobel Stewart, (Secretary) and Richard Greene, (Highland Councillor).

Apologies: Catherine Finlayson, (Treasurer),Sid Fraser, Wattie Finlayson.

Laurence Gunner welcomed everyone to this village occasion, the bi-monthly meeting of the Contin Community Council followed by a public meeting for the Contin Community Trust.

Presentation to the Reverend Gordon McLean

The meeting opened with an acknowledgment of the dedication and hard work of the Reverend Gordon MacLean, both for the Contin Community Council and the Community Trust, in moving forward the proposed transfer of the old school property from CCC to the Trust. Gordon was presented with a token of appreciation from the Community and Mrs MacLean was given a bouquet of flowers. In his reply Gordon said he was encouraged to see people of ‘all ages’ at the meeting and that he believed that there is a ‘Can do’ attitude in the Community and he looked forward to the opening of the new hall. There was a ‘photo shoot’ and the meeting continued as normal.

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 30th November 2009

Their adoption was proposed by John Mackenzie and seconded by Roy Mackenzie.

Matters arising

1. Speed Limit in Jamestown: 40 mph speed restriction signs have been put up in Jamestown with effect from 1st March.

2. Scottish Community Foundation: (Fairburn Windfarm Community Benefit Fund Advisory Panel) The Panel will be administering the fund set up by Scottish and Southern Energy to benefit residents of the Community Council areas of Marybank, Scatwell and Strathconon, Muir of Ord and Contin. Each of the three communities is asked to provide a membership of four for the Panel. Contin would be represented by a Community Councillor and three other members of the public resident in the area. We are advised that would not be appropriate for anyone to serve who stands to gain from membership of the panel. Wattie Finlayson represents the Community Council and appreciation was expressed for his part in obtaining recognition for Contin. A further three members of the community were now sought to represent our interest on the panel.

3. Proposed Transfer of former School Property to the Contin Community Trust: The focus has now moved from the Education department of the Highland Council to the Legal Department and their questions to the Area Planning and Building Standards Department about the number and design of the affordable houses. These are being fielded by David Somerville, our architect.

4. Village Paths and Dog Litter: A dedicated wheelie bin for litter disposal is now in place in Church Lane. Disposal bags and notices were to be obtained from Ross House. A supply box was to be installed.

Agenda Items

1. Transerv Scotland. Cathel Macaskil from Transerv had been expected to attend meeting to answer questions. He will be invited to the meeting of the Council on 3rd May. Continuing concern about speeding through Contin had been expressed and at the Ward Forum on 14 November 2009 the Police agreed to install a recording device in the village as facts and figures would be needed to press our case with Transerv and to the Scottish Government to help them assess any suggestions for traffic calming put to them.

2. Proposed Community Council Standing Committee: In order to maintain continuity and momentum of Council business it was proposed that a Standing Committee consisting of the Community Councillors be established, to meet on the first Monday of months when no public meeting of the Council was scheduled. Minutes of the Committee would be presented at the public meeting. This item was agreed, nem.con.

3. Snow Problems in Torview and Jamestown: The chairman expressed the community’s appreciation for the efforts of Transerv and TEC Services in keeping the main roads clear in the recent bad weather. However areas of the community off the main roads had fared badly as was expressed by Debbie Macgillivray in Torview and Roy Mackenzie in Jamestown. While recognizing that such areas could not receive such a high priority as the main roads, it was felt that as council tax payers the residents were entitled to more attention than they had received. In particular the grit bins in those areas had not been recharged throughout the period. Cllr Richard Green undertook to investigate. He pointed out that should we have another severe winter the increasing shortage of money meant the whole region would be adversely affected. On the subject of bad parking in Torview restricting the access of the grit lorries, Debbie Macgillivray and two others undertook to survey the present parking facilities and to report back on what was need to achieve 100% off-road parking with a view to the Council then making a formal application.

4. Adoption of Coul Road: Mrs Munro of Coul Road asked whether the Council could make a formal application to the Highland Council for the adoption of Coul Road. Cllr Richard Green agreed to look into the matter.

5. Senior Citizens’ Annual Party had had to be postponed (again) because of flooding in the hall. It was hoped to hold the party on 3rd April (subsequently changed to 17th April).

6. The future of Five Acre Wood: The wood had been ceded to the Council by the Hydro Board with limited funds to maintain it. The Council proposed that the question of the property being ceded to the Trust be explored in order that grants could be applied for. It was pointed out that the property was subject to a restricted covenant and that the Council was not in a position to dispose of it. However it was suggested that once money for maintenance was exhausted it would be quite proper to re-apply for further help.

Date of next meetings:

· Standing Committee (at Contin Mains) Monday 5th April at 7.30 pm. (Items for inclusion for the agenda to Isobel Stewart by 24th March)

· Community Council (at former Primary School) Monday 3rd May at 7.30 pm. (Items for inclusion to Isobel Stewart by 24th April)

The Meeting of Community Council was declared formally closed

and members of the public were then invited to stay for the public meeting of the


when details of the new village website were announced as and participation in sundry management, fund-raising and committee membership activities was invited.

Copyright 2010 Contin Community Trust. Registered Charity SC325053. Site design by Rob Elliott at Strathview