‘MacKenzie’s Folly’ silence is an absolute disgrace

by Colin Campbell

MORE than one councillor has said to me the Gathering Place should be named “MacKenzie’s Folly”.

Isabelle MacKenzie.

That designation has a ring to it. I don’t know whether or not it would be fair, but how fair has Arts group chairwoman Isabelle MacKenzie been to the Inverness public?

She has been the most ardent and determined instigator behind this riverside travesty, and also the most absurd. In her most recent proclamation she said that when finished it would be unique, and unlike anything else in the world.

She led the way in brushing aside all criticism of the scheme, including a 3,000-strong protest petition, and the barricades went up around the site in April.

And nearly four months on, where do things stand now? A supposed 12-week project that was supposed to be completed by “the early summer” is a rubble and dirt strewn site where it looks like work has barely begun.

There are huge concrete slabs and pillars in place that bear absolutely no resemblance to the council artist’s pretty picture illustrations of what the thing would look like.

And Isabelle MacKenzie and the council have absolutely nothing to say about it.

No updates, no explanations, not even a hint of an apology for getting the scheduling so wrong.

Petition protest organiser Helen Smith says that is a disgrace, and she’s absolutely right.

This vanity project, costing £300,000 in public money, has been a delusional shambles right from the start. The lovely riverside beauty spot that’s now a barricaded off building site should have been left untouched, as the overwhelming majority of people wanted.

It’s maybe not surprising after what’s gone before that it’s in the state it is now, and looks it may not be finished by winter, far less early summer.

There’s plenty blame to go around but Isabelle MacKenzie set herself up as the public figurehead of the Gathering Place.

It adds insult to injury that she has nothing to say about it now.


One thought on “‘MacKenzie’s Folly’ silence is an absolute disgrace

  1. Let us never forget that the Gathering Place is Plan B and the Council’s Arts Group blew hundreds of thousands of pounds on Plan A – the even more unsuitable Tilting Bridge.

    So really, at the end of the day, the Gathering Place has cost us the sum of Plan A and Plan B plus of course the overspends that come with every badly behind schedule project. Time as they say is money.

    As both Plan A and Plan B involved the purchase of concrete by the Council- I do hope that they only paid for concrete once.


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