Friday, April 11, 2014

Ramp for the Firhall Bridge – delay as cash sought for another survey

At the River CC meeting on Wednesday night Murd Dunbar gave the community councillors the latest information on the Firhall Bridge. Let’s have a wee flashback for a minute or two however. Gurnites may recall an article from March of last year which suggested that Murd’s campaign for a ramp on the Firhall Bridge had succeeded. 

“Tonight it was different, so different, Murd finally had good news to share. Actually he didn’t make the announcement, he gave that honour to Liz who has been quietly active behind the scenes in recent months.
“Hold onto your seats,” said Liz. “I’ve had a communication from the army today that they are going to be doing the access improvements to the Firhall Bridge.” She had to stop for the applause, cheers and smiles that broke out. “So well done, Murd,” she added”.

More on this page here. The day after that Murd revealed that Gordons sawmill had offered to provide the materials for the ramp.  Here was a solution to the problem of improving access to the bridge that would not cost the cash-strapped Highland Council any money. Now fast forward one year and another problem has emerged. Murd said on Wednesday night:

“I e-mailed them (Highland Council) today and they told me they are waiting for another survey, the money is tight and everything. I know for a fact there have been two surveys done on the bridge.” Murd went on to say he it was just what he went through  three years ago and he wondered whether it was a delaying tactic. Later Murd told the Gurn of the content of an e-mail he had received from the Council’s Hugh Gardener which told Murd that the survey was an “intrusive” one and contained the following “The cost of this kind of survey is extremely high and as I type is being discussed with my colleagues in ECS. As you can appreciate budgets are under stress in today’s climate and every penny has to be justified.” Mr Gardener told Murd that his colleagues would be back to him with instructions later this week and Murd would be informed. 

There were no Highland Councillors at the River CC meeting so no opportunity there for River CC members or Murd to ask them what they knew of the further delay to the bridge project (apologies had been received from Liz, Colin and Michael however). Tommy and his colleagues are to write to Highland Council for information on the delay. 

A 17 page report by Fairhurst and Partners on Firhall Bridge accessibility  was presented to Highland Council in 2009. Gurnites can read a copy of that report here. 

UPDATE: this afternoon Murd spoke to MSP Fergus Ewing at his regular surgery in Nairn. Murd tells us that Fergus has written to Highland Council on his behalf to find why another report is needed. 


Narook said...

any excuse,the money that's been spent on surveys couyld have paid for renovations

growtosow said...

Narook said...
any excuse,the money that's been spent on surveys couyld have paid for renovations

5:28 PM i would agree with the above this always seems to be the case. HC will spend money on things that do not matter but things that do need to be done get put on the backburnner. get it sorted out once and for all. so we can all enjoy this walk

Anonymous said...

Could it be that someone doesn't want this to go forward?