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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Locals Invited to Take Part in an Informal Consultation on The Proposed Merkinch Local Nature Reserve Boardwalk  

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If you would like to find out more about the proposed replacement boardwalk at Merkinch Local Nature Reserve and how it could make your regular journeys into central Inverness a bit healthier and greener, why not come and meet some members of the team working on the design?

A new connected and improved all-abilities cyclepath and pedestrian route through the nature reserve is currently being designed by Highland Council.

Provided full funding is forthcoming, the route will run from the Carnarc Crescent entrance to the railway crossing, along a widened sealed surface path and a new substantial boardwalk.

From there it will tie in with the recent upgrades to the crossing and canal paths at Muirtown Basin, which were completed by Scottish Canals earlier in the year.

Councillor Glynis Sinclair, Provost of Inverness and Chair of the Housing & Property Committee, commented: 

“The proposals are intended to encourage active commuting between Inverness and the surrounding neighbourhoods and will be especially handy for people living in Clachnaharry, Muirtown, The Carse, Merkinch or South Kessock.

“The route will also provide more inclusive access opportunities for the whole community to enjoy and benefit from nature reserve and canals settings.”

The project design stage has been funded by Sustrans through their ‘Places for Everyone’ funding stream, and they are also set to be the main source of funding towards the £560,000 construction stage budget.

Highland Council has also allocated £100,000 Capital funding towards the project and been successful in obtaining additional funding from Inverness Common Good Funding (up to £45,000); Highland Coastal Communities Funding (up to £12,000) and Smarter Choices Smarter Places funding (£5,000).

Following consultations on the outline design last summer, Planning Permission has already been received for the replacement of the existing boardwalk. 

The project is now in the detail design stage and is seeking to consider the needs of as many user groups as possible.

An informal ‘drop-in’ session will be held at The Corbett Room in the Merkinch Community Centre between 3 and 7pm on Wednesday, 5 October. 

There will be drawings and designs to look at and comment on, and members of the project team will be happy to answer any questions. 

Refreshments will also be provided. 

Those attending will also be encouraged to share any ideas they may have about the stories which could be told through interpretation along the route.

Councillor Sinclair added: 

“I would encourage as many people to attend and participate in the event which is being planned for Wednesday, 5 October and to take a look at the plans, new vision for the area and active travel links which are being proposed.”

Those who are unable to attend in person can still take part and submit their views and ideas for the project. 

Please complete the short survey here:  https://bit.ly/MerkinchLNR 

For further details please contact Claire Bell (Project Officer) at Claire.bell@highland.gov.uk 

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