Plans to upgrade the play park at Whin Park in Inverness have reached a new milestone as councillors have approved a £10,000 study to examine improvements.
Members of Highland Council’s Inverness area committee voted to carry out a feasibility study on the popular play area.
Councillors agreed to allocate £5,000 from city ward budgets and £5,000 Inverness Common Good funding.
The study will take around three months and is expected to be complete by March 2023.
Council bosses estimate the full park re-development will be complete by June 2024.
‘Whin Park is the jewel in the crown’
In July, local representatives stressed there was a “sense of urgency” in improving the park following claims that the equipment could be unsafe.
Their calls came just weeks after local father Martin Burnside deemed the park an “utter disgrace” and too dangerous for kids.
The park has now been earmarked for a £500,000 upgrade as council bosses admit facilities are “nearing end of life.”
Highland Council’s leader of Inverness and Area committee, Ian Brown, said the works were crucial in safeguarding the lifespan of the public play park.
He said: “Whin Park is the jewel in the crown of play areas in Highland and serves not only local families but is very popular with visitors from across the region.
“Sadly, the play equipment is nearing the end of its working life. If we do nothing, then it will simply be removed for health and safety bit-by-bit until nothing is left.
“Members have approved a feasibility study to scope out inclusive and sustainable play designs and the potential funding sources that will provide them.”
What areas will the study focus on?
The study will provide plans for a newly refurbished toilet block, new way-finding signage and a covered outdoor area for users as well as improvements to the shop area, the pathways and drainage systems.
Investigations will also be made into additional parking and co-ordination with the Riverside Way active travel plans alongside the potential for improvements to the railway area.
Works are currently under way to drain the park’s boating pond and remove an invasive plant species.
The non-native weed species known as the New Zealand Pygmy was discovered in the pond and officials want to act fast before it spreads and potentially hampers boating next season.