12 new Community Councillors :
Hamish Bain, Steven Bain, Peter Gibson, Ian Gordon, Tommy Hogg, Mandy Lawson, Veronica Mackinnon, Paul McIvor, Simon Noble, Stewart Stansfield, David Thomson, Katrina Woods were elected by public vote in January 2020
The following Office Bearers were elected later that month at the inception meeting.
Tommy Hogg Chair
Hamish Bain Vice Chair, Mandy Lawson Secretary, Veronica Mackinnon Treasurer.
Only 4 public meetings could be held in 2020 – 2 face to face, and 2 online.
During the COVID pandemic public buildings were closed and indoor gatherings not allowed, which meant that communication among members and with the public was restricted to email, our website and the Noticeboard in Castle Square.
Despite these restrictions, our members continued to scrutinise local planning and development matters during 2020, including several Common Good consultations. We also responded as best we could, to residents enquiries and concerns, and kept the public informed and involved of community council business via our website.
February 11th 2020 Minutes of Ordinary Meeting
Minutes of NRCC 10 March 2020 AGM (2018/19) and Ordinary Meeting
That was the last face to face public meeting we held before lockdown on 23rd March
From then on, all NRCC members were kept informed of CC business and correspondence by email from Office Bearers.
Several community councillors had to overcome IT and broadband difficulties to adapt to online meetings which were a steep learning curve for everyone. We even tried out Google voting by email to help us progress planning submissions within deadline.
We held two online meetings using Zoom, in April and May 2020.
The May meeting had to be terminated due to technical difficulties and disorderly conduct from several community councillors who refused to defer to the Chair.
Unfortunately, throughout 2020 a pattern of disrespectful and at times abusive communications was directed towards elected NRCC Office Bearers from a few serving community councillors whose verbal attacks on our community council spilled over into the local press and social media. The divisive atmosphere and personal hostility towards the Chair and Office Bearers this generated within our organisation, meant that we were not able to safely hold another public meeting online in 2020
In late 2020 Office Bearers raised concerns with Highland Council that the practicalities, and perils, of online operations were not covered by current rules for Community Councils and worked with Highland Council Officers to prepare our own ‘good practice’ guidelines for online meetings which were included in a training session for all members in November on the Code of Conduct for community councillors.