Land company chair defends AGM date

The Bute Community Land Company, which owns 161 hectares of forest land at Rhubodach at the north end of the island, will hold its AGM on Sunday, August 11.
The Bute Community Land Company, which owns 161 hectares of forest land at Rhubodach at the north end of the island, will hold its AGM on Sunday, August 11.

The chairman of the Bute Community Land Company has defended the decision to hold the company’s AGM on a Sunday evening.

The 2013 annual meeting will take place at Bute Museum in Rothesay on Sunday, August 11, with the doors opening at 7pm.

The timing of the AGM attracted criticism on The Buteman’s Facebook page from reader Kaz Molloy, who complained that public transport links on a Sunday evening were poor for those unable to get to the meeting by car, while Janice Crichton said the choice of date put her in mind of the expression “shut shop”.

We put those points to BCLC chairman Ian Jardine, who said: “We hope members will attend the meeting to show their support. It’s why the company exists after all.

“There are so many positive things to present to the meeting that we can’t understand anyone attributing sinister motives to the timing.

“We are constrained by the constitution to holding AGMs within a fixed time frame and only after the company financial accounts have been independently examined. This year we find that this means holding the meeting in the midst of the holiday period.

“We have three elected board members who all take annual family holidays and we have a slot in August which means one director coming home early and one holding off to have the meeting on the Sunday.

“If, as we hope, we have more people volunteering to become directors this will reduce the chances of this happening again.

“Meantime I do hope that as many members as possible can attend.”

The Bute Community Land Company was set up in 2009 after a public ballot returned a 93 per cent vote in favour of the community’s purchase of the Rhubodach Forest at the north end of the island.

BCLC is the parent company of Bute Forest Ltd, which was set up in 2010 with responsibility for the day-to-day management of 161 hectares of natural and commercial woodland in the Rhubodach area owned by BCLC.

The company was given the green light in February to apply for National Lottery funding of almost £1 million to meet the cost of building an ecological forest centre and lodge accommodation in the commercial section of the forest.

BCLC currently has more than four hundred members, and until earlier this year also had a second subsidiary, Brandish Bute.

That operation was set up to promote and sell Bute-made crafts and produce under a single marketing banner, but was closed down because it had been unable to generate enough income to cover its running costs.