Ariane Burgess deplores the announcement that was made last month to close the climbing wall at the Leisure Centre as a new wall run by a different organisation is due to open in the Telford Retail Park at the end of March.
Her call comes after it emerged that facilities at the Leisure Centre are among recreational cuts being considered to help balance the facility’s budget.
However, Ms Burgess, said:
“This decision would seem to be counterproductive, given the potential negative impact that this could have on access to sport in the community and the wellbeing of families in the Highlands.
“The climbing wall is a key part of the Leisure Centre.
“Closing it would be a huge loss for the community.
“It’s essential for future generations of climbers that it remains open, so it stays an accessible activity.
“Although I welcome the opening of a new climbing facility at the Telford Retail Park, it has to be acknowledged that it will not provide the same offer as the Leisure Centre.
“Having a climbing wall at the Leisure Centre allows families and groups to do different activities at the same time at an affordable price.
“The Highlands are at the epicentre of UK mountaineering.
“We have a proud tradition of nurturing people’s thirst for exploration as well as ensuring that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge for climbing.
“It’s essential that we’re able to provide a safe, affordable place for them to do that.
“I have raised the real value of the climbing wall with the council, and why they should look again at keeping it open.
“That’s not to underestimate the severe challenges the council faces but we have to have an awareness about what this decision could mean in the wider context.”
A petition opposing the closure of the wall at the Inverness Leisure sports complex has gathered more than 2,000 signatures and Ariane encourages her constituents to sign it.