Highland Council Ignores Public and Squanders £750,00 on “River Mess” Berlin Wall

This fight is over: Highland Councillors have thrown money, art, culture and the environment into the sea as they voted 15 – 7 to squander £750,000 of tax payer’s money on their own bigwigs’ vanity project: A Berlin Wall built on wild habitat alongside the once beautiful River Ness.

Highland Council "art"
Highland Council art – only £400,000

A spokesman for the campaign to stop this folly told us, “at least when the council leader and provost tell us there is no money for elderly and disabled care, educational needs or road repairs we can shove this wastage down their throats and say ‘we know why, you burned all the money'”.

In an astonishing last minute intervention the Director of Eden Court Theatre in Inverness threw his support in favour of the scheme and accused protesters of standing in the way of cultural progress in Inverness. The sad reality is that Inverness is already losing its Ironworks music venue to be replaced by another grey stock built hotel and Eden Court is the only cultural venue left. Its Director should have fought for any funds that were available for art to go to it – instead of this total “vanity” mess pushed through by apparently artistically challenged councilors who just seem to want a memorial erection in the city centre dedicated to themselves (at any price). £750,000 (and it will probably go over a million as developers rarely finish on time within budget) is much too much to waste on bulldozers scraping away the green sides of the River Ness, destroying its nature to build a druggies’ den that will be filled with rubbish, dog excrement, old needles and graffiti within weeks of opening.

In years gone by we had this cultural and environmental vandalism years ago – with the Urquhart Castle visitor centre at Loch ness (its real monster). The place is so absolutely hideous that every photo of the castle that you see on a card or biscuit tin or the quango’s (Historic Environment Scotland) own marketing material is very carefully angled to exclude the monstrosity. There is precious little left of value in Inverness, it isn’t worth a visitors’ journey and now there will be even less.

Huge Stooshie At Highland Council Over “Art” Fiasco

Inverness Councillor Ron MacWilliam has been spearheading The People’s Rebellion against Highland Council’s ludicrous and profligate wastage of public funds (£300,000 so far – and nothing has even been constructed yet!)

River Ness - about to be lined with a Berlin Wall
River Ness – about to be lined with a Berlin Wall

Now MacWilliam has reportedly been summoned for a dressing down and told to personally attend to apologise to the Highland Council bosses angry at his defiance of their diktats and refusal to be “muzzled”.

He was on the front page of The Inverness Courier this week and both he and fellow champions against The Wall have used The Freedom of Information Act to successfully crowbar the numbers showing true scale of the waste of public money out of the council (already spent and gone) because it is determined to build Inverness’s very own Cold War Era Berlin Wall alongside the (currently) beautiful River Ness. Photo it now folks, soon it will be a concrete catastrophe.

Many of us believe this is a disgusting waste of money by a local authority that is currently chopping and cutting every budget including elderly and vulnerable persons’ care and even charging 50p for use of toilets. But of course The River Ness Mess is a Vanity Project and nothing pushes big wigs’ buttons like the thought of a “legacy” – in this case a massive erection in the so called city centre, whatever the cost and loss to its citizens and the environment. What a way to literally pour The Common Good Fund into the sea. The councillors and officers behind it owe the people of Inverness and the Highlands an apology and should hang their heads in shame, while also cancelling this River Ness Mess.

Sort out Inverness
Sort out the mess first, Highland Council

We are proudly one hundred percent behind Councilor Ron MacWilliam and the group fighting this disaster. The council’s River Ness Mess is not art, it’s a blot on the landscape that will harm fragile wildlife and the environment and be nothing more than another litter and graffiti strewn cesspit for druggies and winos – and Inverness already has those in spades.

Inverness Street Pedlar Kim Avis Gordon To Be Returned to Edinburgh High Court by US Marshals

Wanted for some 25 alleged charges including multiple rapes and sexual assaults (some of the charges reportedly involve a girl aged between 12 and 16), the former street pedlar from Inverness, Kim Gordon aka Kim Avis aka Kem Avis has reportedly given up his fight against extradition back to Scotland. After initially failing to attend his trial at Edinburgh High Court, the man who some Highland Councilors had branded “the finest ambassador for Inverness” fled to the United States and went on the run as a fugitive. He apparently faked his own death in California and then legged it in a van – but US Marshals acting with Interpol and the Scottish authorities captured him in a cheap motel 1300 miles away in Colorado.

According to reports he may be returned to the UK this week and will apparently be accompanied by US Marshals and probably well cuffed to his seat!

There is more about Inverness’s “finest ambassador” here. It might be thought that the councilors who came up with that title would have the grace to resign.