Riverside graffiti vandals are the real problem now. The only way to deter them in this debacle is to spend even more money

by Colin Campbell

THE Gathering Place has been vandalised yet again, for the third time in less than two weeks.

And for the first time in this entire saga those of us who were vehemently opposed to it being built are liable to find ourselves in common cause with Highland Council in turning our wrath fully on those responsible.

And in backing council exhortations that anyone with any information should give it to the police.

I’ve no doubt the first reaction of many critics to the initial graffiti scrawl was of the “serves them right” variety. The council was well enough warned this could and probably would happen but they chose to ignore that, as they ignored everything else that would interfere with their determination to build the thing.

As it becomes a regular target for graffiti vandals, more money will be have to be spent on the Gathering Place debacle.

“Defaced by idiots, and built by idiots” we said. And that still stands.

But for now, at least, we are stuck with it. And as we adjust to that reality two obvious factors come into play.

Councillors who decided to build it are not going to allow it to become a showpiece for graffiti vandals, and will do whatever is necessary to make sure unintelligible gibberish sprayed over it is removed with all due haste.

That will cost money and use up the time of grafting outdoor workers, already too thin on the ground, who could obviously be doing much better things.

Earlier I suggested the whole structure could be barricaded off from both the public and the spraypaint morons and no one would mind a jot being denied access to it. But that in itself would create a riverside eyesore and, given the vanity project nature of the Gathering Place, is somewhat unlikely to happen.

It has been and will remain the worst act of folly in Inverness civic history. Thousands of people opposed to the concrete ruination of a natural riverside beauty spot are never going to change their minds about that.

But any wry sense of satisfaction to be gained from seeing graffiti vandals spitting in the eye of those vain councillors – and let’s not deny there was at least some element of that initially – has evaporated.

The councillors were idiots.

But the graffiti vandals are the real problem now and what’s happening can’t be allowed to go on.

So far their activities have been confined to one pillar of the structure. What happens if they decide to extend their activities over yards of the thing?

No, it would not then be demolished, barricaded off, or personally cleaned up by the humiliated councillors responsible for building it.

The work would be done by council workmen, potentially at a cost to the taxpayer of thousands of pounds.

So, heaven help us, the only option left is to spend more money on top of the vast amount already spent, to take serious measures to deter graffiti vandals. Well may we groan aloud at that prospect. Will the ever rising cost of this appalling debacle never end?

But the installation of floodlighting and security cameras now looks essential. The spraypaint imbeciles have got a taste for going to work on a very prominent, very public and very easy target and it now seems their relish for disfiguring it is likely to increase.

Lights and cameras would not eliminate the graffiti threat but it would be a serious deterrent.

And it must be better to shell out the necessary money now than one day find this thing messed up from end to end, with the certainty that the council would respond by spending whatever it took to clean it up or retile it. Spending, that is, our money on restoring it to its natural ugliness. Until the next time the same thing happened all over again.

2 thoughts on “Riverside graffiti vandals are the real problem now. The only way to deter them in this debacle is to spend even more money

  1. This is a real Catch -22 situation for me. On the one hand I really want that monstrosity demolished. On the other hand I really want to see every inch of that monstrosity covered in graffiti before it is demolished. Sorry but I think it should be used as a people’s canvas in order to allow the public to express what they feel about it.

    As for endlessly spending taxpayers money to guard, hide, clean, repair or illuminate the monstrosity; I would only support that if it came with a guarantee that the maximum amount that could be spent was 47p. Index linked of course.


  2. No mention has been made of the sign ‘Please no stone throwing while anglers are in the water’


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