by Colin Campbell
DISCUSSION about the spate of “visions for the future” for Inverness from Highland Council and MP Drew Hendry’s “Inverness Futures” group (Nirvana by 2035! ) has predictably resulted in much vague discussion about everything and nothing. How many of these visions will see the light of day remains to be seen, at least by those still alive long enough to see it happen.
However Councillor Janet Campbell brought a dose of more immediate reality to proceedings by proposing the arrival of what she termed “quick fixes”, changes that people will see being made in the near future, rather than “visions” lost in the mists of times.
She is not wrong to do so.
One of the simplest and most effective is the repainting of the Upper Bridge Street “ugly ducklings” as she called them, the dour grey precinct which has been condemned by councillors for the past half century and more.
Most of the councillors who have joined in the condemnation over the past 50 or 60 years have since passed on, but the ducklings remain in as robust shape as ever, unchanged and untouched and in many cases long outliving their dour, grey critics.
Ms Campbell, displaying a flash of imagination among the latest batch of long term visionaries, two months ago requested that consideration should be given to changing the colour of the buildings from grey to cream.
That would match the colour of others in the vicinity and, she said, while being only a cosmetic change, would not be considered an extravagance by the people of Inverness.
Indeed it surely would not. The Upper Bridge Street precinct could be altered by a coat of paint into a structure which is significantly less ugly than the monstrosity our glazed eyes have got used to.
Fresh cream is a more fetching colour than weather coarsened grey. It’s as simple as that.
Anyone sniping at such a proposal because it is indeed only cosmetic, and there would be some curmudgeons around, should be condemned to read the 101 pages of “visions for the future” in full and then write it out in triplicate.
They might then appreciate that a quick fix that can be seen and appreciated is preferable to “healthier, safer, greener” notions that may never happen.
There’s a lot of grey in Upper Bridge Street and a paint job there would take a bit of time and money. But it shouldn’t take a prohibitive amount of either.
Ms Campbell is on the right track with her quick fix idea.
Let that be the first test for the visionaries who have plans to transform parts of Inverness beyond recognition.
How long will it take them to achieve at least some kind of redecoration of these grey Upper Bridge Street slabs of wall?
If that happens in the relatively near future it would bolster confidence that some of the much more challenging visions for the future could some day actually become reality.