by Colin Campbell
HAS the Gathering Place hit a new problem? A riverside monstrosity watcher tells me “the bore hole tests a few weeks ago have revealed that there is too much of a depth of sand for the concrete supports for the cantilevered section to work”.
I have no way of categorically verifying this because, unless word somehow leaks out, as in this case, all bad news on the Gathering Place is placed in an underground sealed vault accessible only to the last remaining among its tiny clique of council supporters.
But the project has been jinxed from the start so it should be assumed to be true. The fates are as firmly aligned against the thing being built as the thousands of people who curse the mention of its name.
This could also explain why there is a continuing delay in the announcement as to when construction work will start. Because “delay” it is becoming.
The council wants to start ruining this stretch of riverside as late in the year as possible because they think it won’t look so bad then.
They also want it completed as late as possible to increase the chances that the hideously embarrassing opening ceremony will take place on a day of howling wind and driving sleet. This would allow Provost Helen Carmichael, swathed in robes and chains on top of the wall, to do it in a rush with her words barely audible… “wonderful piece of artwork…enhances natural beauty…worth every penny…future generations will thank us” and give the tiny number of people present the excuse to escape in a hurry to a place of warmth and comfort where they can just thank God it’s all over.
But with the work scheduled to take three months – and maybe more – they can’t leave it too late, or else it could be affected or interrupted by harsh winter weather, with lumps of construction work trash left lying about the beauty spot site longer than ever.
And they certainly don’t want that.
But we are now moving towards late August and if this is really going to be built as “a priority project” – it doesn’t sound any less an act of lunacy no matter how often you say it – they’d better get moving soon.
Of course we don’t want things to get moving. We want more sand in the riverbed than exists in the Sahara to cause them further problems, and how good it would be if they were insoluble ones.
But for now we just wait for the announcement. Of course this may be in someone’s in-tray waiting to be signed off as “just another construction project”, with no-one giving it a second thought.
But somehow I doubt that.
If or when the announcement does come expect it to begin: “Work will resume on the Gathering Place…” in an effort to try and create the impression that it’s just a minor update in an ongoing job.
They tried that last time around and it fooled no-one.
The vanity project vandals behind this £300,000 act of madness will try anything to divert attention from the fact that fencing off a riverside beauty spot for three months to build a wall and concrete pathways there is utterly insane.