For the results of the elections, please see the separate post. The full draft Minutes will be available shortly but you will have to log in to see them. To summarise:
Combining those present with those attending online, we did have a quorum (21 members present, the minimum needed being 18.3!) but it would have been good if a few more people had been able to join in online or in person. The members’ train on the 20th May, following the AGM, was well-patronised but those on Sunday 21st (“Members’ Day”) were largely empty apart from the members operating them, whereas at least one service train was at capacity. This aspect of the weekend will need looking at for next year.
The most important issue at the moment is raising the money needed by the Trust in order to resubmit the planning application for the Extension. The resubmission itself is free (as long as it takes place within a year of the meeting at which we were turned down – April 19th). However, approximately £100,000 will still be needed, for instance because many of the environmental studies commissioned by the Trust had an expiry date and will need to be done again. There was, as might be expected, much discussion at the AGM of why the National Park Authority rejected our application but a public document is not the best place to give the details: please see the full Minutes.
The members present did not raise any objections to the Committee’s decision to increase membership fees (for the first time since 2015).
A sum of money has been allocated to creating a memorials display in the Heritage Centre. It would commemorate late members who made especial contributions to the Railway. Nominations are welcomed – please contact the Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Bob Shell.
Two building projects will be fast-tracked this winter: the new accessible / disabled toilet building (for which the Society will support the Company financially) and the volunteers’ kitchen renovations (a Society initiative). Also this winter, the Company will be looking for volunteers to help with the next phase of the track relay (starting from Llanuwchllyn), now that the Bala – Llangower section has been completed.
Volunteers are also needed to help with taking the Society publicity stall to events across the country (not least to raise money for the Extension) and to help set up and staff the Model Show (16th and 17th September). The next event we would like to take the stand to is at Statfold Barn on 10th and 11th June, but both the President and the Secretary are unavailable. We have several more invitations, including this year’s Warley Model Show. Please contact the Secretary if you can help / would like to get in free to a major railway event (email address as above).
It was announced that the Society has acquired – thanks to a generous donation – a 4mm scale model of Port Dinorwic. This will eventually go on display in the Heritage Centre but its first public appearance will be at the Model Show. More details are available on the Model Show page of the Bala Lake Railway website (Events section).
There will be a new “President’s Appeal” soon, to create a fund for emergency projects, including the Extension and also some urgently-needed signal post replacements.
It was agreed to move to three-year terms of office. This means that, from now on, only one-third as many candidates as usual will be standing for election in any given year. One reason for this change was to allow the member-electorate more time to put questions to the candidates.
There have been quite a few constitutional changes in recent years. It is hoped that most of the necessary modernisation work has now been done. However, there remain two issues which may impinge on the Constitution.
The President and Vice-Presidents can vote at Committee meetings but have no obligation to attend because they are not technically Committee members. Members are invited to comment on whether these officers should have a defined role of their own (perhaps to do with representing the voice of the regular members in some additional way).
There has been much discussion of late in the Committee about the advisability (or not) of introducing guidelines (or rules) to encourage (or enforce) safe and respectful behaviour between members, possibly only with regard to contexts outside of volunteering on the line (which is administered by the Company), possibly not. Such a scheme might end up being called a ‘Code of Conduct’ but even this title is controversial. Ideas shared so far have ranged from a simple set of guidelines to a comprehensive set of rules and disciplinary procedures. These might apply to all members equally or there could be a higher level of scrutiny and responsibility for elected persons.
After a discussion, it was agreed that the Committee should continue to look into this issue but only after it had sought legal advice from a qualified member.