Report of the Public Meeting to Consider the Findings of the
At the Public Hall, Lismore
8pm, 7 March 2008
Present (31 in total)
Working Party Members:
Roger Dixon-Spain, Mandie Currie, Jeremy Gilchrist, Bob Hay, Mary MacDougall, Archie MacGillivray, Yorick Paine, Julian Wormleighton (Chairman for the meeting)
Jennifer Allan, Liz Buckle, Katie Crossan, Kirsty Wright, Gilly Dixon-Spain, David Gloag, Stephen Green, Dot Hay, Nickki and Simon Lewis, John Livingstone, Marjory MacDonald, Barbara MacDougall, Jim Mitchell, Jack Reynolds, Mairi Smith, Denise, Mark, Murray, Eilidh and Cara Willis, Caroline Willis, Carol Wormleighton
Mandie Currie reviewed the findings of the Working Group, as presented in the Summary Report that had been sent to all residents. More details were presented on: Decision Processes; Information Flow; the Consultation Exercise that would follow a Yes vote; and the need for a Development Plan.
In a very full discussion session, members of the Working Group answered questions in the following areas:
Conduct of the Ballot: To ensure fairness, the electoral role would be used, but care had to be taken in checking the list of voters to ensure that the Group were not acting illegally. After taking advice, Julian W was now compiling the list.
It was likely that the Development Trust Association Scotland would act as the independent verifier of the postal vote.
Membership: If a Trust was launched, all those on the electoral list would be eligible to be voting members, if they agree to guarantee to meet £1 of any Trust liability. A member list would be maintained.
Information: Several people felt that the aim of the trust was still too vague, and wanted the Working Group to emphasise what other trusts had achieved, to stimulate interest. It was agreed that the generation of an income stream, to fund local projects, should be a priority. The Group agreed to write a brief note to accompany the ballot paper.
Timescale: Depending on how much work would be needed to draw up the Memorandum and Articles, it would probably be several months from a ballot “Yes” to the establishment of a Trust. The consultation process and work on the Development Plan could start before the launch.
Development Officer: There was a lot of onerous work to do in establishing and maintaining a Trust. It was agreed that the island might well need professional salaried help, and there were start-up funds, but problems would arise when the funding ran out. This would be for the Trust to decide, with the aim of long-term sustainability
Relationships: The relationships between Community Councils and Development Trusts have varied greatly in different areas. The suggestion that Lismore could work with Appin to form a joint Trust did not attract support. The idea of being “in charge of our own destiny” was emphasised by several.
The Group was unable to say how funding bodies would view the island if the vote was “No”
After very extensive discussion, including advice on the approach used under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, it was agreed that the ballot would be considered VALID if more than 50% of the electorate submitted votes by post to the independent adjudicator.
A vote by hands decided that a YES decision would be secured by 60% of those votes cast (17 voted for 60%, 9 for 65%, and there were abstentions)
It was thought that such a margin would reflect the full-hearted support of the island
If the necessary 60% was achieved, the process to nominate a Steering Group would be set up by the Working Group, which would then be dissolved. It was emphasised that 9 members would be needed and that it should not be assumed that the Working Group members would seek nomination.
This visit would take place on Saturday 15 March. Islanders wishing to take part should contact Julian Wormleighton without delay.
Katie Crossan gave a warm vote of thanks to the Working Group for their efforts over recent months.