Notes of Virtual AGM 2020
Virtual Annual General Meeting, 2020
The AGM was due to be held not held on Wednesday 8th April, 2020, at the Waggon & Horses, Canal Road, Newtown. This meeting was cancelled due to the dangers posed by the Corona virus. Instead, with the agreement of the trustees, these draft notes were prepared and circulated to all Custodians for their input and approval
Message from the Chair Peter Harris
I'd like to say firstly that I'm sorry we can't have an actual AGM, but under the present circumstances the Trustees thought it safer to follow medical advice and avoid unnecessary meetings. The River Custodians have had another successful year and one only has to walk along the river banks to see what improvements have been made to the ecology and general tidiness over the last few years. While I'm handing out the tributes can I give a big thank you to my fellow Trustees, particularly Mike, Paula and Rex without who great efforts the organisation wouldn't function.
While our operations are curtailed during the current emergency, I'm sure as soon as the all clear is given we can get back to the very worthwhile tasks we have set ourselves.
I wish all of you the best of health and hope that we can meet up again soon.
Minutes of previous AGM
These minutes can be reviewed on the RSC web site.
Presentation of accounts Rex Shayler
The accounts have been prepared by Rex and are Appendix 1.
Annual report Mike Davies and Paula Scott
Our current membership is 36.
Invasive species monitor and control. We continue to control Giant Hogweed along the river bank, particularly in the area where the Mochdre Brook enters the river. Areas of Japanese Knotweed are reported to Natural Resources Wales who chemically treat it to protect flood defenses. We encourage people to eat Himalayan Balsam and we only remove it to provide access to the river.
A new initiative by the Welsh government, called the Wales Invasive Non-native Species Group was formed to help identify invasive species priorities and resolve issues relevant to Wales. It’s work programme is focused on action under 5 key topic areas – promoting action, raising awareness, sharing best practice, information exchange and expertise. Membership includes representatives from Wales Biodiversity Partnership, Academia, GB Non-Native Species Secretariat, Local Authorities, Natural Resources Wales, Public Health Wales, Wales Environment Link, Welsh Government, the Welsh Local Government Association and Utility companies. We have been interviewed by the North Wales Wildlife Trust to give our input into the national survey and will report on progress made.
Crayfish monitoring continues but all we find are the invasive American Signal crayfish, never the native variety. This invasive crayfish is widespread in our stretch of the river and the only good news is that the otters love them.
Facebook page and Blog. Russ Edwards
The RSC Blog has seen no activity since the last AGM. Facebook activity and views have been far less than previous years, but this is probably due to the river wildlife being so quiet over the past 12 months. There was a lot of interest in the dangers of the Giant Hogweed and it proved helpful in making the public aware. In summary, the Facebook and Blog are a little disappointing from the fact that it is only Mike and myself who offer posts and it would be nice to see more offerings from other sources.
Parson’s Bridge replacement. The approaches to this new footbridge have been prepared and it is expected that the bridge will be constructed this year.
The Canal Basin project is currently inactive and there seems little prospect of it proceeding. The Newtown Town Council are still hoping to extend the canal to Newtown perhaps under the Mid-Wales Growth Deal initiative.
Fly Larvae monitoring. This survey is continuing at a location downstream of the Halfpenny Bridge. Results are updated regularly on the RSC web site and on the national monitoring web site. Monitoring has not been possible during the last few months due to high water levels. Training courses are still occasionally available for anyone wishing to participate in other locations, details will be emailed to members.
Open Newtown update. Stuart Owen
Mountain Bike Trail / BMX Pump Track
The mountain bike trail has been 'unofficially' open since just before christmas, for local use and the feedback has been extremely positive, from trail users, parents and local residents alike, pleased to see the area being used for social activities
Due to the extreme amount of rainfall, our contractor has been unable to return to site, as we require an amount of dry weather to allow us to lay the tarmac surface of the BMX pump track, complete the fencing, gateways, signage and some essential snagging of the MTB track
We also require some drier weather and time to reinstate the informal walkways, albeit wider pathways than the previous single file tracks
We have completed the designs for the entranceway and the car park area, which will be tendered and installed asap, with an intended compound area near the car park, for bookings, bike hire, coaching, repairs and refreshments
Riverside Access Points
The four canoe access points have been installed, at the locations of Vaynor Fields, between Scout Hut and Dolerw Bridge, downstream of Dolerw Bridge and near the Gravel Car Park
All four access points survived the recent storms and floods admirably, apart from the loss of some harcore surfacing, which will be rectified shortly
Upon feedback from Newtown Paddlers, it has been recommended that we remove the left hand rail of the access point near Dolerw Bridge and install sloping boards alongside the steps, for easier canoe access
Likewise, we need to return to install a couple of additional steps, when the river levels subside again. Apart from these minor amendments and recommendations, feedback has been very positive so far. Whilst completing the river access points, we have also undertaken changes to the entranceway to Vaynor Fields, with additional hardcore surfacing and changes to accessway
Planned activities for 2020
Recruitment, involvement of young people. We would like to encourage more young people to get involved in our activities and will continue to offer presentations to schools and community groups. If any members have contacts in local youth organizations or schools please spread the word. The Air Cadets would like to help with some of our activities but need at least 2 to 3 weeks’ notice.
Newtown Food Festival. We recommend that we do not have a stand at the Food Festival for the first time this year. The reasons for this is the amount of manpower required and lack of tangible results. Very few new members have been recruited from these events.
Newtown Outdoor Festival. The festival organized by Walking Newtown had been cancelled. We hope we may be able to hold it on the first weekend of June, 2021 if the virus threat has disappeared. Updates on the festival, if it goes ahead, will be posted on the web site at www.newtownoutdoorfestival.uk and facebook page.
Jane Jones of the Newtown Volunteer Bureau has been approached by a local business who want to encourage their staff to give something back to the Community by volunteering. They are looking to undertake a 'one off' project for a day. We have responded that they could certainly help with some of our projects, such as river clean up, litter picking and perhaps invasive species control and we will inform them when any of these activities are to take place.
Disposal of assets. When we first set up the Custodians we bought an inflatable boat, see Appendix 2. It was planned to use this to survey and monitor the river banks. We found, however, that some of our members who are active canoeists can carry out this work very effectively and probably with more control than using the inflatable. We therefore have never used it and in fact it is still unopened it its’ original box. We are suggesting that it should be either sold or perhaps given to a suitable group. Your suggestions are requested.
Election of committee/trustees
The current list of trustees is:
Peter Harris – Chair
Charles Rex Shayler - Treasurer
Mike Davies – Secretary
Paula Scott – Scientific Officer
23rd March, 2020
APPENDIX 1 Financial accounts 2019-2020.
Accounts 14th March 2019 to 17th March 2020
Balance bought forward £290.42
7th March Printer Ink C/No 000034 £11.49
29th March Pavo Donation £250.00
20th May Newtown Civic Soc/ ladies Club £46.00
16th July Imprint C/No 000026 £148 .00
16th August Web/Domain (see note below) £14.39
27th August Food Festival C/No 000035 £60.00
9th September Food Festival Donations £31.81
20th January KWT Insurance C/No 000038 £75.85
3rd January Olivers Hoops £11.96
Balance as of 17th March 2020 £296.54
Note - 16th August Web/Domain Payment £14.39 This Cheque appears on the bank statement at a later date due a mix-up between KWT and the Insurers
APPENDIX 2. Assets possibly for disposal
Inflatable boat purchased in 2012 for £89.76. Current price is similar at around £87.