Wick riverside car park revamp gets go-ahead
A FULL revamp of Wick's riverside car park has been given the green light after a successful funding bid was announced today.
Highland councillors for Wick and East Caithness said that their plans for repairing the town centre's main car park are now set to go ahead in the next two weeks.
Councillor Raymond Bremner said: “This has been a primary goal for councillors since we were elected. We have been determined to fix this car park by hook or by crook.
"It is an essential part of our regeneration programme providing a safe, comfortable, welcoming, attractive and aesthetically pleasing facility within our town centre."
The successful bid for £90,000 comes from Highland Council’s Town Centre Fund and, combined with £21,000 already secured from the Caithness area roads revenue and capital programmes, the total of £111,000 will provide for a full redesign and upgrade of the riverside car park area.
The resurfacing of the car park – which has suffered from years of neglect and is full of potholes – will be the first major project to be undertaken as part of the town centre regeneration programme launched by councillors earlier this year.
Demolition and resurfacing work will begin in two weeks' time and will be completed within two to four weeks depending on the weather, Councillor Bremner added.
“It will create a much better first impression of Wick for locals and visitors, including travellers on the North Coast 500," he said.
"Getting to this point has been challenging, given the financial constraints within Highland Council at the moment, but we have been determined to achieve what we committed to do.
"This is just the first of the physical regeneration projects being delivered and there are more to come."
Apart from the resurfacing of the car park area, the programme of work will include an increased number of parking bays; a new cycle shelter; extension of the car park and allocation for motorhomes; incorporation of services for charging for electric vehicles; a new bus shelter; power-washing of kerbs and pavements; upgrading and re-establishment of tree beds and flower tubs; and a town centre illustration board.
Councillor Willie Mackay, the civic leader, said: “With the season of goodwill approaching it is fantastic to see Santa coming early to the riverside area of Wick. What a transformation it is going to be, with all aspects of travel considered.
"This area is going to be a flagship focal point encouraging more and more visitors to stay and visit the town centre.”
We're grateful to the many organisations and members of the public who have been so positive and supportive.
His colleague Councillor Nicola Sinclair said the redesign would create a "main hub" for visitors and encourage them to stay longer in Wick. "It's one of the biggest investments in the town centre in decades and long overdue," she said.
"However, it is also just the beginning. Over the next few months people will see more announcements as the projects we've been working on for the past two years start to come to fruition.
"We're grateful to the many organisations and members of the public who have been so positive and supportive and look forward to seeing our town centre transformed in the months ahead.”
Councillor Andrew Sinclair recalled how people had been "crying out" for the work to be done and how they will "rightly be pleased to see this desperately needed investment".
He said: "Obviously there were patchwork repairs earlier in the year, but this new investment would be on a much bigger scale and will make the car park more fit for purpose, with proper bays for buses and electric charging points."
Councillors have been given assurances that a decision for appropriate responsibility for future maintenance of the car park will also be made.