Minute of the Garthdee Field Allotments Association (GFAA) General Meeting held in the Robert Gordon University Faculty of Health and Social Care, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen at 8.00pm on Wednesday 14 November 2012

Attendees: Stuart Oram (Chairman), plots 8 and 56, George Tulloch (Deputy Secretary), plot 41, Ranald Cameron (Treasurer), plot 75, Rupert Hunt, plot 73, Gill Kitching, plot 97B, Bruce Taylor, plot 79, Iain Yuill, Councillor, Norman Coutts, plot 81, Richard Powell, plot 96B, Ken Locke, plot 20, Mike Fairhurst, plot 5, Alison McNaughton, plot 80, Val Milne, plot 23, Martin Walsh, plot 94, Phil Carver, RGU, Wendy Wireden, RGU.

Apologies: Councillor Aileen Malone, Councillor Gordon Townson, Pat Wilson ACC, Mike Hart, Secretary, Marion Hart, plot 88, Councillor Angela Taylor, Carlos Galan, Brian Bryce, plot 38, Len Campbell, plot 74, Maryanne and Alasdair Dawson, plot 71B, Erica McLachlan, plot 76, Patricia and Gavin Bell, plot 7A, Mike Legge, plot 44, Ian Shand, plot 28, Councillor Marie Boulton

Welcome: Stuart Oram (Chairman) opened the meeting and welcomed everyone present.

Minutes of previous AGM:

The Chairman reported that the minutes of the AGM held on Tuesday 17 April 2012 had been circulated and asked for any comments. There being no comments or amendments, the minutes were agreed.

Proposed Federation for Aberdeen City Allotments:

The Chairman reported that there had little progress from the Council, since the last general meeting, regarding the formation of a Federation for Aberdeen City Allotments. At present the Council still intend forming a Federation to cover the allotment sites.

Auditing of Plots/Allocation of Plots:

In the absence of Ian Shand, the Chairman informed the meeting that the ACC will continue to audit the plots regularly and as a result of these audits there have been 10 letters sent to 5 plot holders. He explained that he had attended an ARN meeting recently where there was a feeling around the allotment sites in the city that the frequency of the audits was not enough and should commence during March/April, as it is unlikely that any work will be done if there had been no attention given to the plots by these months. It is proposed that the audits take place during April, May, June and July next year.

The Chairman explained that the offer of help, from the Hub, to maintain any plots was still available, and it was disappointing that nobody had taken up the offer.

Some of the group mentioned that the tone of the letter from the ACC was very blunt and disheartening stating that they had to turn their plot around in 21 days or they had to relinquish their plot. Extensive discussion took place regarding this and at the end of the discussion the Chairman reiterated that the offer for help from the Hub is still available for everyone.

Site Access/Site Security:  

The Chairman updated the meeting regarding the progress made concerning the exiting from the site onto Garthdee Road. An option was suggested to cut down some of the trees, but the majority of the plot holders did not want to do this. The Council were asked if a convex mirror could be sited opposite the exit. The Chairman received a letter, which was read out to the meeting explaining why the Council do not allow the use of convex mirrors.

Recently George Davidson visited the site and agreed to reinstate the Pitfoddels access. The intention is to trial this alternative which will mean locking and unlocking two sets of barriers.

The chairman pointed out that the rear boundary fence is in a state of disrepair and the Council are waiting for the leaf fall before examining the fence. An alternative has been suggested of planting a growing barrier in the form of a thorn hedge. Discussion then took place regarding the possibility of root problems which may be encountered regarding a boundary hedge.

Update on Allotment for Disabled People:             

 The Chairman introduced Phil Carver and Wendy Wireden to the meting and invited them to give a presentation regarding the benefits of exercise as an alternative to medication and how the RGU could work in partnership with the GFAA, and the potential funding sources available.

After a very informative and interesting presentation, they were thanked for their input.

Communal Work on Site:

 Bonfire – The chairman stated that there is an intention to hold a bonfire and asked that all plot holders should retain any waste on their site until there is enough material to have a bonfire.

Rubbish Removal – The Chairman announced that there is no intention to hire another skip. Anyone who takes items onto the site should also remove them when no longer required.

Update on Plan for BBQ area in Orchard:  

Bruce Taylor informed the meeting that there had just been an intake of new students to RGU and there would be an opportunity for them to get involved in designing the area during the next semester (February to May).

Bulk Seed Purchase for Next Year:  

 Richard Powell informed the meeting that the seed purchase deal negotiated last season was very poorly supported, and unless there was any information to the contrary, he would not be continuing with the scheme.

GFAA Social Activities:  

The Chairman informed the meeting that this year’s BBQ had been very successful and it would be great to have a social committee, volunteers should give their names to the Secretary.

AOB:

WormsConcerns were raised regarding the lack of worms within the site as they had been devastated by the New Zealand flat worms, and a discussion took place regarding the possible purchase of native worms for the site. The chairman informed the meeting that a computer link had been sent to all plot holders about how to deal with New Zealand flat worms.

Vandalism – Concerns were raised regarding vandalism to plots within the site and asked what could be done to prevent this. After discussion it was decided the first option should be for the affected party to contact the Police.

Communal Polytunnel – The Secretary informed the group that he had been approached by plot holders regarding the possibility of turning one of the plots into a site for a communal polytunnel, where anyone who could not access a greenhouse could have a space to grow plants like tomatoes and cucumbers. After discussion it was felt that a letter should be circulated to gauge interest and who would maintain it.

Starter Plots – The Chairman informed the meeting that operational guidelines had been created regarding the use of the starter plots, recently there appeared to be an expectation that these starter plots could be worked for life, which necessitated the creation of the guidelines. The guidelines clarify the status of starter plots.

Plot Fees – The Chairman informed the group that the Council had decided to raise the fees by 2.5% for the forthcoming season. A full statement of accounts is available on the Council website.

The meeting was closed and the chairman took the opportunity to thank Phil Carver for arranging the venue at no cost to the Association. A vote of thanks was also given to The Chairman.

Stuart Oram                                                                            George Tulloch

Chairman                                                                               Deputy Secretary