Pandemic gathering place would expose city to scorn and ridicule

by Colin Campbell

A FRIEND of mine has more cancellation vouchers than he knows what to do with. He’s got vouchers, or credit notes, for the summer holiday he had booked, a festive period break and a trip planned for early in the new year. I have a cancellation voucher for a long-haul flight last June. We’re all going to have a high old time of travelling and revelling and celebrating some time in the future. It’s just a pity we’ve absolutely no idea when.

Is there any good news around right now?

Provost Helen Carmichael would face the humiliating task of opening the Gathering Place.

Well the current situation has either derailed or hopefully terminated plans for the riverside Gathering Place. Work was due to start in August/September but there has been nothing further from the council on this reviled project.

The reason for that now seems obvious. If work began tomorrow it would be finished before the end of the year.

So Inverness would have in place from the start of 2021 a new feature called the Gathering Place, maybe at a new peak of a pandemic when it’s illegal to gather with anyone much apart from yourself and your dog. This ridiculous piece of nonsense has attracted so much criticism up till now because it is stupid, worthless and expensive. You could multiply that tenfold if Inverness councillors opened something called the Gathering Place at a time when “gathering” is the very last thing we’re supposed to be doing.

Can you imagine the level of embarrassment if not outright humiliation Provost Helen Carmichael would be subjected to, standing atop that £300,000 wall in her chains and ermine at the opening ceremony,  trying to strike an upbeat tone about the creation of somewhere for people to “gather” at exactly the wrong time.

If they’re not already aware of it, those behind this project should now understand it’s going to make them look unbelievably stupid opening this thing at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. If they haven’t realised that already they should take stock now and acknowledge that this could go beyond being an act of purblind local folly and make them the scornful laughing stock of the country.

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