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.
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.