Port William Community Council Chairman Jock McMaster stepped down on Wednesday night after three years in the post at the organisation annual general meeting.
Mr McMaster thanked all the office bearers for their valuable help during his tenure and he now planned to enjoy his time as “an Indian not a chief” within the council.
Wigtown West Councillor Grahame Forster took over the vacant chair while the election of office bearers was completed. Retiring chairman Mr McMaster proposed that Jan Freeman take over as leader and this was agreed by the committee.
The other office bearers were all re-elected unopposed.
The expense of hiring a marquee for events during the village Carnival Week is proving to be a drain on funds, the meeting heard. Carnival Week is run by Port William Community Association and that body had written to the community council to ask for financial help to ensure the popular community festival continues. Attending the meeting was community association vice chairman Camay Kelly. She told the community council that plans for a fundrasing event were in the pipeline but money was tight.
She said: “The marquee is expensive but there are so few volunteers now we have to centralise everything in the one place. If we had more people available we could spread the events around more.” She added the Community Association have applications away to various funding bodies and the community council, while keen to left out, decided to defer any decision to the next meeting to see if the expected community windfarm money from the Carscreuch development had materialised.
Community Association chairman Shaun Dodds confirmed the marquee costs approximately £5000 to hire annually.
The legacy of the winter storms remains a visible problem on the Harbour Green with the path still unfit for pushchair and wheelchair use due to the uneven terrain.
The stones thrown up from the beach have been removed and the potholes filled in but the loose infill used was not suitable for wheels. There was also a continuing problem with cars going onto the green, spoiling the grass. Vice chairman Anne Highman said that there had been talks previously about putting wooden poles round the edge of the green to limit access and it was decided to investigate this further.
The community council are to inform Dumfries and Galloway Council they are putting ‘beware of deer’ signs up in the wrong place.
Secretary Jenni Gray said a letter from the local authority stated the signs were to be erected to the south of Monreith, but everyone at the meeting agreed there was a bigger problem with deer on the A747 road from West Barr to Craignarget. There were reports that nine deer had been killed on that stretch recently. Deer cross the road regularly to get lick salt off the rocks and seaweed on the shoreline.
The legality of a catering caravan trading from the car park at the Second Sands was discussed at the meeting. Community councillor Pauline Watkins, who lives nearby, had various concerns. She enquired if the caravan, which trades under the name ‘Streatery’, had permission to park there, that it was parking on the grass instead of the tarmac and if the owner had the required licences to trade as a fast-food outlet.
Jock McMaster told the meeting that he had it “on very good authority” that the trader in question had the permission of the landowner be there. Annie Murray commented that owner was “perfectly entitled” to do what they were doing as “it wasn’t doing anyone any harm and the food was very good.”
Councillor Forster said that, for peace of mind, the community council were within their rights to phone the council and check if the owner had all the certificates needed to serve food.