Members at theEaster Ross Area Committee welcomed the progress being made on the provision of new play equipment in Easter Ross and Tain.
The investment is being made possible through the effective use of Place Based Investment Funds, agreed by Highland Council in March 2021.
A £100,000 Place Based Investment Fund was allocated to each Ward for the 2021/22 financial year with underspend carried forward into 2022/23.
Easter Ross members identified ‘play’ as a key priority for spend using the ward funding.
They also agreed to support other priorities including to support key toilet facilities, active travel and for small community grant funding streams to help communities address the harms of COVID-19.
The Committee today heard updates on a number of projects including:
- £10,000 investment in Novar Crescent, Evanton to provide a twinwall pipe, climbing ramp, grass matting, rope bridge, landscaping and planting. The pipe, climbing rope, grass matting, rope bridge & steel posts have been delivered.
- £10,000 investment in Milnafua, Alness for a two-seat swing set, climbing boulder and landscaping. The swing set has been ordered and delivered, along with two MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) basketball rings.
- £10,000 investment in Shillinghill, Alness for an inclusive roundabout with surfacing. An inclusive see-saw and ancillary items have been ordered and expected delivery in between November and December.
- £10,000 investment in Westford, Alness for two springy tops, a giant’s causeway steps, two climbing boulders, grass matting and landscaping. Two springy tops have been ordered and grass matting ordered and awaiting installation.
- A £2,500 investment in a new basket swing in Pinewood Crescent in Tain has resulted in the installation of the seat.
- An £850 chain net has been installed in the Tain Link chain climbing wall.
- £28,000 of investments in play park provision at Woodlands Drive, Milton and at Milton MUGA are being discussed between Highland Council’s Amenities team and the community group in terms of what items they would like to purchase for Woodlands Drive.
- £2,000 of works on playpark provision for Redspur Gardens, Fearn are due to start this week to remove the unit and ready the site for the Nigg unit to be installed.
- Work on a £2,000 investment to provide a landscaped play area in Cameron Place, Nigg, will be carried out over the winter months.
- £3,300 investment in playpark provision for Balintore. Replacement grass matting at Abbotshaven Junior and a new aerial rotator top have been delivered and awaiting installation.
Chair of the Easter Ross Area Committee, Cllr Derek Louden, said:
“We are extremely pleased to see that these investments are starting to bear fruit.
“Our communities will soon begin to enjoy the benefits these will bring.
“It is particularly pleasing to know that our children will be excited to see and use the new play equipment, which will help them maintain an active, social and outdoor lifestyle, something which was badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Officers are making strenuous efforts to get the play park equipment in at a time of very high demand and a lack of available contract labour.
“We hope to resolve matters in the coming months.”
In addition to the investment in play members also agreed to invest in infrastructure developments across the Ward.
Planning for the works to improve the Evanton-Alness-Invergordon cycle track is underway.
The £15,000 investment was to support maintenance and improvement work on the track to ensure its continued use as a key active travel route.
A consultant has been appointed to develop a feasibility study to help inform a new business model for Invergordon Social Club.
Due to the pandemic the club has experienced a significant drop in income and identified they were not able to continue indefinitely under their current model.
The group provides an important role in the community, addressing issues around loneliness, isolation and general wellbeing.
The Place Based Investment Fund also helped ensure the completion of Balintore Harbour toilets.
The remaining funding was used to set up a Community Grants Fund, which was created for community groups to apply for grants for projects to address one or more of the four harms of COVID-19.
Full details of how the £46,850 fund was distributed can be found at the Council’s website in the papers for this Committee.