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Minutes of a meeting of Directors held on Thursday 11th June 2020

 

Because of the coronavirus, this meeting was held remotely via Zoom.

 

Directors:

Alasdair Swan (Chair); Steven Anderson; John Band; Paddy Crerar; 

Barry Fisher; Paul Ingram; Kenny Maule; Robin Hamilton; Eric Robertson;  

Yvonne Wemyss; John Williams.

 

Harbourmaster:

Quentin Dimmer 

Item

1 Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 14th May 2020 were approved.

2 Matters Arising

Matters completed –

  • Harbourmaster has progressed the North Wall steps costing
  • The mooring plates have been installed

Matters carried forward until the crisis eases –

  • 3T and 5 mph 
  • “Beware Falling Rocks” notice 
  • Carioca 
  • Cold Store drainage
  • Soup trailer application 
  • Painting of railings and bollards
  • Maintenance Bay costing
  • Insurance review

3 Port Marine Safety Code

Incident Log Review

There were two major incidents to report in May. Both have been recorded on the incident log with recommended actions –

  1. Engine failure outside harbour entrance
    1. There was a discussion about the role of the RNLI in this incident and it was agreed that the most appropriate route would be for the Chairman to have a meeting with the coxswain.
    2. Boat owners will be advised to take an additional kedge anchor on board with them, just in case their main anchor is lost for any reason.
    3. The issue of crowd management when these incidents are attended by the emergency services was discussed. Normally the Coastguard ask for a police presence, but, if this is not the case and, if the harbourmaster believes there is inadequate resource to manage the public during the incident, then he will phone 999 and request police help.
  2. Speeding down Victoria Place

Minor incidents included –

  • Fuel spillage
    • No boat should use its bilge pumps inside the harbour, but one boat currently needs to in order to avoid sinking. The harbourmaster will speak to the owner again to establish why the boat cannot be made more secure. There was talk of the particular boat being sold, but this is not imminent, so a solution needs to be found.
    • The harbourmaster will seek an inspection of the boat if no solution is readily forthcoming
    • For the information of the Board, it will be established what the bye-laws say on the subject.
  • Kayaks unable to cope with harbour entrance swell and capsizing
    • The harbour staff advised the kayakers not to go out into a rough swell. In future, the staff will issue a special direction that the kayak should not go through the harbour entrance in such conditions.
    • This was a case study in how not to go to sea, with inadequate preparations and no life jackets. Consideration will be given to possible guidance on how to keep safe, that could be placed where rowers of all descriptions can see the notice before they set out.

The latter problem was created mainly because kayakers have been able to launch off the beaches during lock-down, so this risk should be largely eliminated now that they can return to safer launching conditions.

Risk Assessment Review

The following risks were assessed, and their impact on possible grounding or collision –

  1. Unexpected tidal conditions including swell – collision with quayside
  2. Operational planning error – grounding
  3. Vessel unprepared to dock – collision with quayside

It was agreed that the existence of experienced skippers was an effective control that should be noted against these risks. There are very few skippers in Dunbar who do not understand these particular risks.

There followed a discussion as to whether the recent incidents merited assessments of risks that are not on our current register. It was agreed that risks that arise within our seaward limits should not be excluded simply because they are outside the harbour entrance.

The primary causes of the incidents were technical failure, skipper error in not servicing engines properly, and skipper (kayaker) error in ignoring harbour staff advice. These are reasonably well covered by existing risk assessments, and further controls (special direction, new notices, kedge anchors) have been identified above.

The secondary causes, created by mechanical failure and subsequent action by the RNLI crew, will be the subject of their own internal investigation.

External audit update

Ron Bailey has suggested that we wait until Covid 19 restrictions are lifted before convening the 2020 audit. This was agreed.

Reporting of criminal activities

There was a discussion on the Trust’s attitude to criminal activity on harbour property.

The decisions made –

  1. All serious crimes (e.g. theft, assault, intimidation) will be reported to the police and a report number will be obtained.
  2. All crimes will be registered on the incident log.
  3. The professional judgement of on-duty harbour staff will be used before reporting misdemeanours.
  4. The Community Policeman will be the source of advice (if the harbour staff need this quickly).
  5. Each month, the harbourmaster will review the incident log for criminal behaviour and will communicate trends and issues of concern to the Chairman.
  6. The Chairman will take any such issues to the monthly CAPP meeting to discuss with the police.

4 Finance

May Report

  1. The deficit of £951 in the month of May reflects the difficult Coronavirus shut-down
  2. Landings were 38% of their 19/20 level
  3. The Mooring fee incomelaunching income, and retail outlet income, was lost in its entirety, as the first half of the year’s fees have been credited to harbour users. No-one was able to use the harbor or enjoy the retail outlets.
  4. Fuel sales were 33% of their 19/20 level.
  5. Total income fell by 55% in the month and the loss would have been greater without the assistance of a Covid grant.
  6. The Covid grant of £10,000 is being spread over the first six months of the year to ease the pain of the loss of mooring fees, landings and fuel sales.
  7. ELC Partnership grant
  8. The credit control position remains satisfactory. 

 

Statutory accounts update:

There has been activity on the independent examination of the statutory accounts by Whitelaw Wells, so it is probable that these accounts will be ready for Board approval in time for the July meeting.

Public entertainment licence

A request has been put into East Lothian Council to seek relief from the cost of this licence which the Trust needs for legal and insurance purposes.

It has been pointed out to the Council that the Trust receives no admission fee income for the events and festivals that it puts on, and that the volunteers contribute a huge amount of pro bono time each year. The charitable exemption was removed in 2018 because so many organisations were abusing the system, but it has been pointed out to the Councillors that raising this extra money is a burden that stretched volunteers could do without.

The application will proceed, but no payment will be made until we receive a response to our request for relief.

5 Dunbar Harbour Management Committee

No meeting was held this month because of the coronavirus lockdown.

 

Noise pollution: 

Residents have been visited by the Harbourmaster. This issue can now be closed.

Railings and bollards:

Paint has been procured. Implementation will now depend when the East Lothian Criminal Justice Unit returns to action.

Navigation lights:

New lights are to be fitted on 16th June. This date may slip a little, depending on the supply of parts, but the work should be complete by the next meeting

Lady Angela in front or Retail outlets:

While the Lady Angela is on the hardstanding Bisset’s fish van will need to move across bedside the harbour noticeboard. This is not ideal, especially as an electric cable will then run across the roadway (with armoured protection).

It also creates issues for other retailers, and Directors were encouraged, in the absence of a retail site plan, to keep their eyes open to ensure that retailers were choosing sensible sites to park their vehicles.

Electrical Engineer’s Store in McArthur’s Yard compound:

David Brady has applied to place a compound the same size (20ft) container as the one currently used by Danny and Micky in the McArthur’s Store compound.

The latter want to place a 40ft container of their own in place of their existing container.

It was agreed that a site plan needs to be drawn up and agreed with the existing tenants before a new lease is agreed.

A rent of £50 per month was agreed as being appropriate.

It was agreed that once a plan has been drawn up, this plan will be shared with the existing McArthur’s Stores tenants to ensure there is a record of their support.

There is some flammable material in the compound, and this must be removed. There is also evidence that there has been use of this storage area as a dump for rubbish, so the plan will concentrate on using this area for hot work and electrical work and for controlled storage. Danny Gallagher and Micky McLoughlin will be asked to put all their material into their larger container when they have stopped work for the day.

6 Projects

Maggie

On hold. Kevin Thomson is keen to discuss a start-up date.

Harbour Bridge

MacScott Bond will need the bridge raised for three days over the summer as they need to replace the drawings of the hydraulics that they have lost. There will be no cost to the Trust for this operation

North Wall fence

This is due to be completed next week.

Procure signs to warn of dangerous weather conditions

 

CCTV

Planning permission has been secured

Suppliers have been contacted.

There will be a six-week lead time for the cameras.

Discussions will be held with Kevin Thomson to establish when the poles can be erected.

7 Harbour Improvement Plan

Castle:

We now hold a minute from Peter Ranson’s visit in 2013, with the caveat that the visit was seven years ago, and the observations and subsequent comments might not now be relevant, as the condition of the property may have changed significantly in this time. It is also worth noting that the overview was prepared as internal advice to inform casework discussions at the time. That being said it is a useful starting point.

Unfortunately, most of Historic environment Scotland staff are currently furloughed and unavailable to discuss suggested options. A meeting will be arranged to discuss this matter when the current crisis has lessened, and everyone has returned to normal working.

James Bruhn, Deputy Head of Casework, in the Heritage Directorate of HeS has provided a note of relevant private conservation architects and structural engineers that HES has worked with before, who the necessary experience working with the Historic Environment. David Narro and Simpson Brown have worked with us successfully in the past.

John W has produced an excellent PPT which captures the on-going vision.

 

 

Drain from the Cold Store:

Action expected this month

 

Toilets

The draughtsman will work on the plan next week.

 

North Wall steps

A quotation for repairs to S2 and S4 has been received from the Ridge.

Kevin Thomson is going to trial putting in a step this month and will then provide a competitive quote.

It was agreed that these stairs need to be repaired.

There is no proposed solution yet for S3.

 

Storage at the harbour

Progress has been made to identify the status quo and current ownership of the potato boxes and pallets.

A map of the storage areas has been produced.

The largest user of storage facilities has agreed to meet to see how that storage might best be rationalised.

It was agreed that a further meeting on this subject would be convened before the next meeting with the project team.

 

Advertising and notice board

Work in progress

Wooden cannon for Dunbar Battery

Awaiting metal brackets.

The proposition is that the cannon should be placed with some appropriate accompanying ceremony

Trunking on the north side of the bridge

Bringing an electricity supply to the Dunbar Battery CCTV camera provides the Trust with an opportunity to take an electricity supply across to the Visitor’s berth across the bridge.

The exact location for this power supply will be identified before asking AGT and Caledonian Electrical  for a quote.

Power supply for electric cars

There are significant grants available for installing charging points for electric cars. If it was possible to find a suitable location at the harbour this will become an increasingly attractive facility.

 

8 Resignation of Directors

On 29th May John Sim wrote to resign explaining  that his experience, coupled with his desire to assist the Trust, would be of greater value in a more ‘hands on’ practical manner, focusing upon and around the harbour, perhaps under the direction of the Harbour Master, as opposed to being one of several Directors on the Board.

Having grown up around Aberdeen Harbour, and after having spent many years working on the sea, he would rather spend his retirement years in a practical sense, doing something to help others who use the harbour and the sea for both commercial and leisure reasons. The meeting expressed their appreciation of John’s offer to help in this way.

Since August 2010, for nearly a decade, Barry Fisher has been an important and valued  member of the Harbour Trust Board. His wise counsel will be missed but, having postponed the acceptance of his resignation with the arrival of the coronavirus, we sadly do need to accept it now that he is definitely leaving Dunbar for Stirling. The Board expressed its appreciation of his long and loyal service and wished him well in his new venture.

9. Appointment of a new Director

It was agreed that Alastair Cook should be co-opted onto the Board with immediate effect. The Chairman has discussed his opposition to the Toilets project with him and suggested that he might prefer to stay outside the Trust if he could not support such a project. Alastair has confirmed that, while he might hope to constructively improve the project while on the Board, he will support any decision that the Board comes to.

It will be suggested that Alastair take responsibility for matters related to McArthur’s Store, including the annual maintenance schedule, and could also be the lead in the Doors Open Day project.

10. Any other competent business

Craning in

There was a lengthy discussion on craning in arrangements. The owners of Lady Angela do not wish to drive more than 5 miles under government guidelines and, there being five owners on the shared private dive boat, are concerned about social distancing.

There are some boats that wish to remain on the hardstanding for personal reasons.

If Lady Angela remains in position, other boats that wish to go into the water will not be able to be craned safely over the top of her. This will deprive other harbour users of the pleasure of using their boats this summer.

The hardstanding needs to be cleared of yachts to make a safe space for visitors, once restrictions allow people to come to Dunbar again. It will also enable the Harbour Trust to allocate safe spaces to the retailers. Concern was expressed at the risks involved should a vehicle clip Lady Angela’s cradle on a  busy day.

The question of joint ownership was considered. Only one owner need come down for the craning in, if there is concern about social distancing. The Harbour Trust will provide resource to hold a second rope. The banksman and the crane driver will already be well separated.

If there is concern about driving more than five miles (a restriction that may be lifted shortly anyway), the Harbour Trust will issue a letter to say that the boats must be moved to provide a safe area for the summer.

For those wishing to keep their boats out of the water this summer, there is a Cove flat-bed truck that might be of use to them.

 

Therefore, the decision was taken that:

  1. All owners on the hardstanding should be treated equally and will be asked to place their boats back into the water, as normal, for the rest of the summer season.
  2. This will then provide a space safe, as in previous years, for other harbour users visiting the site.
  3. A co-ordinated plan for craning in is required.  Lady Angela will need to move first in order for other boats to be lifted in. It is hoped that the Sailing Club will be able to come up with this plan soon, the current target date being 19th June, which may need to slip a little to accommodate everyone’s needs.
  4. Boat owners on the hardstanding will be communicated with accordingly.
  5. Should a boat owner not wish to place their boat into the harbour this year they will be asked to remove their boat off harbour property until Boats Out Day in the autumn. The final dead-line for clearing the hardstanding was agreed as being 15 July.
  6. If the craning costs per owner escalate because other owners choose to remove their boats off harbour property, the Harbour Trust will work with the remaining boat owners to ensure that they will not be asked to pay more for their craning in than they would normally have expected to do. This is an exceptional year and those helping in this way should not be penalised.
  7. There is no right to leave any boat on the hardstanding over the summer, and it is important that no precedent is set on this subject.

Carioca

The reason for having boats on the hardstanding at Cromwell Harbour is primarily for maintenance, when a one-month grace period is given to harbour users.

Carioca is on the Cromwell Harbour hardstanding, up for sale, and the sale has been frustrated because of the coronavirus crisis, with would-be purchasers unable to inspect her. The owner will be keen to sell as soon as restrictions are lifted and will be encouraged to do so quickly, or remove the boat to sell it elsewhere.

 

Fishermen’s Monument

The stone cannot be sealed as it is porous and very wet. All the conservationist reports confirm that this would be the very worst course of action for us to take.

Improving the surrounding area, removing the clutter, will enhance the area while consideration is given as to how, and whether, to repaint the monument.

 

Skip Hire

This is a matter that has taken up a considerable amount of the harbourmaster’s time and the Harbour Trust has moved to taking up skip hire costs that it never had before. This is a combination of the cost that individual owners used to pay, but complained about, and increased demand for skip hire as a result of the environmental policy and general desire to keep the harbour tidy.

It was not clear where the proposal to move the cost back to individual owners came from, so the subject will be referred back to the DHMC.

 

 

Food traders

Once the traders are seen to be back on site there will be a need to invoice them for their licence to trade at the harbour this year.

 

Times and Tides of Dunbar

A programme of events has been sent out and now needs to be ratified

Benches for retailers

Consideration needs to be given as to what consistent seating might be provided for our retail outlets

 

Sea-changers grant

Appreciation was given to the harbourmaster who has raised £1,096 for a project that will encourage Dunbar’s schoolchildren to learn about plankton and microplastics while completing a work of outdoor art that will be displayed on the North Wall.

 

 

11  Date of next meeting – Thursday 8th July 6.45 p.m.

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