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Safety and Community
Sub Committee Minutes

1400 OFFICE MEETING ROOM, 8 MARCH 2018


Present:
Lin Wilson; Sylvie Morgan; John Newberry; Wayne Noakes; Paul Jeffrey

Apologies:
Peter Churchward – question posed by email; Shirley Black – contribution in writing

Approval of Previous Meetings  and Matters Arising 
First Meeting

Agenda Items

1. Terms of Reference

The ToR previously agreed at F&R and U&A sub-committees was adopted by this committee

2. Website

PC How will the website be used to build links between LRB and local community and traders

SM commented that unless the website was offered in French it is unlikely to engage the local community.  A future thought might be to allow our approved contractors to advertise or have links to their own websites from ours. 

The sub-committee thought it very important to attract other nationalities to La Rose Blanche.

On the subject of language, PJ suggested a link to a scan/translation app; LW commented that FABA had key parts of the website in both English and French; WN/JN both commented that many websites of this type have flags in the home page eg French, English, German, Dutch which opens the webpage in the appropriate language.

ACTION: WN agreed to consult with a colleague on how to include flags.

SM suggested asking the Mairie to include a link to www.myroseblanche.com from the www.mirambeau17.fr website

SM further suggested that if Sales information was put into a template with pre-translated fields, this would help both the writers and the readers.  Similar to the format in an Immobilier office i.e.

Make/model,
Dimensions dimensions/ masse/ dimensies
Bedrooms chambres/ schlafzimmer/ slaapkamer
Bathroom  salle de bain/ badezimmer/ badkamer
Sundeck  terrasse/ sonnendeck/ zonnedek
Etc

Key documents such as the lease, park rules would need to be translated – SM commented that this had already been done and documents were on the server, although they may be out of date. This would be work for the F&R sub-committee.

3. Security

Following loss of gas bottles the sub-committee wanted to put this into context – the incidents of thefts on site since it opened were few.  The site feels safe and SB reminded us that most residents adopt a Neighbourhood Watch attitude which means that strange vehicles or unexpected visitors are often identified quickly.

The feeling of the sub-committee is that residents are responsible for securing items when not on site and it would be impractical to totally secure the site.

WN suggested that maybe a gas cage could be purchased and residents could secure bottles (suitably named) when away for extended periods. PJ reminded the sub-committee that the sanitaire, although the logical place to site such a cage, would pose a hazard risk when storing such items.

PN informed the group that keypad locks are now on both the office and the clubhouse.  The code is the same for both. However, on many occasions the door is not locked after leaving. 

ACTION: LW to send email the residents to remind them to lock up.

The issue of locking the front gates was discussed.  The question was posed “do they close?”  Following the meeting it was established that they do indeed close but need some work to keep them lined up.

The issue of locking the gates was discussed – for example by keys, coded padlock, barrier, electronic opening, infra-red fobs.  Cost will inhibit some means of locking (for example a barrier would cost about €10K), but it was also felt by some that even closing the gates (particularly after dark or between set hours) would be beneficial. 

In terms of responsibility for opening and closing the gates, the simplest solution might be for the first person out in the morning will open them and leave them open, and then a request that residents returning, say after 6pm, close the gates behind them. It was felt that to keep them closed during the day might cause delivery vehicles or bona fide visitors to be reluctant to enter.  This could be solved by putting the contact telephone number on the gate. 

Action: It was agreed to trial night time closure pending a solution to fixing the gate.

WN asked about a surveillance camera to record comings and goings.  Or even a dummy camera and signage to deter non-invited guests.

ACTION: WN to research costs of both camera ideas and signage.  Further to anticipated cost of such items, would residents be willing to make an ex gratia payment for a camera?

4. Charity donations and fundraising

The sub-committee considered how LRB would move forward with our links to local good causes.

SB suggested a single charity/good cause in order to build a relationship with monies collected presented annually (with press coverage) to create an impact within the community.

SM outlined existing links: two local schools receive a set amount annually (€250 to each of the local schools, €150 and material donations to Banque Alimentaire and €50 to Telethon).  The schools (for children aged 3-11) use the funds for their annual school trip and the Banque Alimentaire uses the funds to buy sweets and chocolates at Christmas as well as supplying 158 local disadvantaged people with food and furniture etc.   It was felt that set amounts were not appropriate; and although the group did agree with the good causes chosen, it was felt that specific events and collections were more appropriate. The group requested that it would be proper for the good causes to acknowledge receipt of a donation for example thank you letters or photographs from the trip.

Methods of arranging donations:

• Collection bottles for loose change – in the office and the clubhouse – with specified good cause.

• A summer or autumn fayre, JN suggested events are advertised with “in aid of…” notices.

• Proceeds from raffles and internal events will be in aid of LRB fundraising, for example fitting the recently purchased log burner.

Other suggestions included:

• Adding a small amount to the cost of bar purchases, but it was felt that this might be too onerous to manage. However, tokens issued based on purchases (eg like in Waitrose etc) would generate a donation relating to a percentage of any ‘profit’ made on bar sales.

It was felt that a donation to Telethon, a national charity for medical research, is not necessary given that residents can attend Telethon events throughout the year.

It was generally felt that there was insufficient information about the local good causes currently available and that the explanations given in this forum had been useful to those attending.  This information now needed to be shared. 

ACTION: LW to produce detailed minutes for distribution to the wider membership.

5. Engaging with the Community

SM expressed concerns that many residents do not attend the events organised throughout the year. JN commented that she uses the Haute Saintonge newspaper to source events, as well as notices in and around supermarkets. SM advised that the Mairie’s website www.mirambeau17.fr was also a source of information.

Key events in the Mirambeau calendar are:

• Banquet – Salle de fêtes – 08/04/18 – 1300-1800, dancing, food and wine €28 per person or €20 for members of Golden Age Association. Use link on www.mirambeau17.fr  to book.

• Fête de la musique – 21/06/18 1800 till late. At the Place de la Mairie

• Fête des écoles – 22/06/18 Time tbc. In the school playground. Fayre to follow the fete is yet to be confirmed.

• 3rd weekend in September (15/16th) – Heritage weekend – galleries all over France open. On Sunday 16th Medieval event at Petit Niort. This will be a big event this year as it celebrates the completion of the church renovations

• Banque Alimentaire collections are fortnightly from LRB, the next being 21st March.  Anything deposited at the office is sent down on the collections day.  Volunteers are always needed to transport our collection.  Alternatively, there is a collection bank at Jonzac dechetterie, which is open whenever the dechetterie is. 

Clubhouse events will be planned around the known local events.  Plans currently include a masked ball and pool party. 

AOB: (to refer to U&A sub-committee)

1. WN - Appearance of site frontages.  It was felt that the area behind the office was untidy and dead plants in the entrance foyer did not give the impression of proud residents.  SB will be attending to the entrance foyer next week, but general gardening around the site is also necessary.  Cyril can be tasked to do some of the work, but a Gardening Group could be convened to do additional projects.  Hopefully a ‘gang leader’ might volunteer to take responsibility for organising the group.

ACTION: LW to email residents for volunteers to meet monthly on tidying tasks.

2. SB asked if she could supply a box to the pool area to store items so that they did not need carry them back and forth.  In principal there were no objections although it everyone did this it would cause a logistics problem.  It should be located away from the loungers on the [empty] left hand side of the pool.

LW was nominated a chair for future meetings

Date of next meeting:
TBC July 2018

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