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Wick Development Trust go to great heights to clean up the town


By David G Scott

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As part of an initiative to tidy up Wick town centre a community organisation started the New Year with gutter cleaning on Bridge Street and High Street on Wednesday.

Wick Development Trust (WDT) undertook the long overdue work with help from local contractors Hugh Simpson and Norblast who kindly loaned the necessary equipment for the task.

The teleporter extends its hoist to allow the operator to access gutters on the Bridge Street building. Picture: DGS
The teleporter extends its hoist to allow the operator to access gutters on the Bridge Street building. Picture: DGS
The team consisted of, from left, Jonathan Miller from the Wick Development Trust along with volunteers Darren Hutchison and Steven Sinclair. Picture: DGS
The team consisted of, from left, Jonathan Miller from the Wick Development Trust along with volunteers Darren Hutchison and Steven Sinclair. Picture: DGS
Local contractor Hugh Simpson kindly supplied the teleporter machine used to access the high guttering. Pictures: DGS
Local contractor Hugh Simpson kindly supplied the teleporter machine used to access the high guttering. Pictures: DGS
Volunteer Steven Sinclair goes up to clean guttering at the Riverside Nursing Home on Wick's Bridge Street. Picture: DGS
Volunteer Steven Sinclair goes up to clean guttering at the Riverside Nursing Home on Wick's Bridge Street. Picture: DGS

WDT chair Jonathan Miller braved the chill of Wednesday morning along with volunteers Steven Sinclair and Darren Hutchison to rise high above the street on a teleporter (cherry picker) to remove grime and weeds that had built up in guttering at the top of various buildings.

Steven Sinclair picks out grass and weeds from the guttering. Picture: DGS
Steven Sinclair picks out grass and weeds from the guttering. Picture: DGS
Volunteer Steven Sinclair is up on the mobile elevated work platform and Darren Hutchison (left) along with Jonathan Miller help at ground level. Picture: DGS
Volunteer Steven Sinclair is up on the mobile elevated work platform and Darren Hutchison (left) along with Jonathan Miller help at ground level. Picture: DGS
Volunteer Steven Sinclair cleans guttering at the Riverside Nursing Home on Wick's Bridge Street.
Volunteer Steven Sinclair cleans guttering at the Riverside Nursing Home on Wick's Bridge Street.
Wick Development Trust chair Jonathan Miller checks the control panel of the teleporter. Picture: DGS
Wick Development Trust chair Jonathan Miller checks the control panel of the teleporter. Picture: DGS

As some sunshine brightened up the morning, the gutter cleaning operation got underway and Mr Miller said: "It's all systems go and we'll make the most of this good weather and hopefully get through Bridge Street and High Street today.

"Once we get a bit of rhythm, it should be plain sailing but the wires across the road are a bit of a hindrance so we'll have to come down and reset the machine. It should be okay though, as long as we have daylight."

Mr Miller said most of the owners had been contacted and were delighted that the initiative was being undertaken by the Trust. "There were some people we couldn't get and generally those are the ones in the worst condition but we're just going to do them anyway as they haven't been cleaned for a number of years and it's getting to the stage it's a hazard for pedestrians," he said.

Steven Sinclair prepares to go up in the cherry picker. Picture: DGS
Steven Sinclair prepares to go up in the cherry picker. Picture: DGS
Jonathan Miller looks up as the gutter cleaning gets underway.
Jonathan Miller looks up as the gutter cleaning gets underway.
Jonathan Miller, chair of Wick Development Trust. Picture: DGS
Jonathan Miller, chair of Wick Development Trust. Picture: DGS
Jonathan Miller stands by as the cherry picker operator, Steven Sinclair, gets to work. Picture: DGS
Jonathan Miller stands by as the cherry picker operator, Steven Sinclair, gets to work. Picture: DGS

One of the buildings he referred to is the empty property above the Nickel and Dime store on High Street which has had guttering clogged with a potentially dangerous amount of weeds and other debris for a number of years. After one side of Bridge Street was completed, the teleporter got to work on the grimy gutters above the High Street property and 12 large buckets filled with weeds and grass were removed.

Mr Miller said at the end of Wednesday's operation: "The north side of Bridge Street and both sides of High Street from the old sports shop down to the end of the precinct have been completed. Darkness forced us to finish for the day.

Many locals had commented in the past about the large amount of plant material overhanging the High Street at this area. Picture: Jonathan Miller
Many locals had commented in the past about the large amount of plant material overhanging the High Street at this area. Picture: Jonathan Miller
Cleaning out grass and weeds from the property above the Nickel and Dime shop on High Street. 12 buckets of weeds and grass were removed from this one address. Picture: Jonathan Miller
Cleaning out grass and weeds from the property above the Nickel and Dime shop on High Street. 12 buckets of weeds and grass were removed from this one address. Picture: Jonathan Miller
Just some of the material removed from the gutters at this High Street address. 12 buckets of weeds and grass were removed from this one property. Picture: Jonathan Miller
Just some of the material removed from the gutters at this High Street address. 12 buckets of weeds and grass were removed from this one property. Picture: Jonathan Miller

"However, we'll be back at it on Friday morning to do the south side of Bridge Street and both sides of Back Bridge Street. The weather tomorrow will be too windy for it unfortunately. It does give us a day off to warm up though."

The gutter cleaning operation is just one of many initiatives that WDT has planned for cleaning up the town centre over the coming year. The organisation will also be launching a new shop rating scheme encouraging businesses to maintain their properties to a high standard and will announce its other plans in next week's paper.

The Trust is currently recruiting for "like-minded people that want to make a difference" in the town to volunteer with WDT and "help drive forward some really exciting projects".

Anyone interested can email the Trust at: join@wicksheart.co.uk

Membership application forms can also be accessed at: www.wicksheart.co.uk


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