Minutes of the Garthdee Field Allotments Association(GFAA) General Meeting held in the Robert Gordon University Faculty of Health and Social Care, Garthdee Road at 7-30pm on Wednesday 28thAugust 2013.
Present: Stuart Oram (Chairman), plots 8 and 56, Mike Fairhurst, plot 5, Rupert Hunt, plot 73, Norman and Jacqui Coutts, plot 81, Ruth Evans plot 22, Allan George plot 98A, Rhona Matheson, plot 37.
Apologies: George Tulloch, Carlos Galan, Ian Shand, Ranald Cameron, Gavin and Tricia Bell, Carrie Watt, Gordon MacDonald,Val Milne.
In the absence of the Secretary, the Chairman took the minutes.
Association Funds: As at 14/8/2013 cash in bank was £854.
Committee Membership: Ken Locke, one of our Committee members has moved to a new home in Dunfermline. The Chairman took the opportunity to acknowledge and thank Ken for his contribution to GFAA. In particular, it was Ken who started off the initial Advisory Group when the Council announced some years ago that their policy was to shift responsibility to allotment holders and give them an opportunity to direct their own affairs. The Advisory Group subsequently metamorphosed into the GFAA. The meeting expressed their best wishes to Ken in his new home.
Ken’s departure leaves a vacancy on the Committee which we hope to fill as soon as possible. If any allotment holder would like to join the Committee or would like to find out more about what is involved please contact any Committee member.
Mike Fairhurst has taken over from Ian Shand, the role of auditing the allotments in conjunction with the Council.
Allotment Guidance Documents from Aberdeen City Council: There was a generally favourable reaction at the meeting to these documents.
Site Security – Rear Boundary fence and Replacement Padlock: A site meeting had been held with George Davidson from the Council and the Chairman. While George Davidson did agree that a replacement fence similar to that beside Pitfodel’s Road was ideally what was needed, the Council have since reported back that the funds for such a fence are not available. An alternative suggestion that had been mooted previously to establish a thorn hedge was not considered necessary by George as there appeared to be an existing barrier of nettles and branches and thorns. The meeting agreed that we should obtain a proper costing to build the ideal fence and have it ready to present to potential funders as the opportunity arose.
Action: Chairman A replacement combination padlock for the overhead barrier is to be obtained shortly by the Council. The delay has been due to protracted discussion initiated by the Council on alternative padlocks.
Update on Allotment for Disabled People: The Chairman reported that there might be a possibility of some funding for our project from RGU who have recently been awarded a fairly large sum of money for a bigger project they are working on. Discussion on the allocation and distribution of these funds will be taking place shortly.
The meeting agreed that we should also promote aspects of the disabled allotment costs and use networking with local businesses to try to secure funds. For example if local businesses have budgeted funds for community purposes, we might be able to obtain their support for parts of our project eg Supply of sleepers to create the raised beds and so on.
Plot for RGU Students: The Council have agreed to allocate Ken Locke’s former plot (20) to the RGU Students Association following their recent request.
Update on plan for BBQ area in the Orchard: The students at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the Built Environment did produce various designs for our BBQ area as part of their Degree course. All the designs were shown to the Chairman representing GFAA as the client. The student focus was on the covered area related to barbecues as opposed to the construction of the actual stone BBQ. The Chairman felt that for GFAA to progress this further we would need to adapt the students ideas and if any allotment holder feels they could in any way assist in the design and build of this facility please get in touch with the Chairman or any Committee member.
Management of GFAA Tools and Machinery: Various people have kindly donated gardening tools and machinery to the Association. Mike Fairhurst has made an inventory of all the equipment and identified it as belonging to GFAA. This equipment is stored in one of the metal containers and is for any plot-holder to use. It was agreed that the best way to give everyone access to the equipment was to put a combination padlock on the container with the same code as the site entrance padlocks. Among the items is a generator, rotovator and a petrol mower all of which need some repair. If anyone feels they could assist in checking and repairing these units please contact the Committee.
Display Board for Scotland In Bloom: The Council asked the Association if they would provide a display board for the recent Scotland in Bloom competition. The purpose of the board was to showcase to the judges, the work of community groups and allotments in helping to keep Scotland beautiful. We duly provided the board and a replica of it is or will be fixed to the plot notice board.
Communal Activities on Site: It was agreed that we should arrange a pruning session for this year.
It was agreed that we should have a site bonfire after the pruning session – date to be notified by e-mail.
It was suggested that a work w/e should be arranged to tackle bothy clean-out, hedge trimming. tidying of the large storage bins, pothole filling and so on. Date to be set.
BBQ and Raffle: Rupert Hunt and Ruth Evans very kindly offered to organise this event which will be held on Sunday 6th October. An e-mail will be circulated nearer the time. Action: Secretary
Selling Plot Produce: The Chairman read out some of the most recent bulletin from The Allotment Market Stall (TAMS) which had been running for 4 weeks with one week to go. A wide variety of produce was collected from allotments around the city and sold at the Castlegate on Fridays and Saturdays. The final report detailing quantities sold and cash generated is awaited.
AOB: The Chairman referred to an e-mail he received from the Council regarding a free talk about Permaculture run by Aberdeen Forward. The meeting expressed no interest.
There was some discussion regarding the new houses being built adjacent to our site particularly with regard to the plots being overlooked. The meeting felt that the presence of the houses might be a bonus or a blight depending on your point of view. The strip of land between the houses and our site boundary wall is full of rose-bay willow herb and members wanted to know what was the intention for this strip of land. The Chairman agreed to find out from the Site Agent.
The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 8-40pm.