Inverness Leisure To Become Covid-safe Count Centre
22nd April 2021
The largest leisure centre in the Highlands will temporarily suspend sporting activities in favour of regional democracy when it becomes one of the locations where votes in the Scottish Parliamentary Elections will be counted.
Douglas Wilby, Director of Sport and Leisure with High Life Highland said, "We have been working closely with the Returning Officer and colleagues in The Highland Council to accommodate the substantial changes in the way this count is taking place, in order to offer
those involved a COVID-safe environment.
The Director of Sport and Leisure explained, "As a result of the additional requirements of this election count, we will be erecting a number of marquees outside on Queens Park which means
that the athletics track will close to the public on Monday 26 th April and is scheduled to re-open on 12th May.
“The sports halls in Inverness Leisure will be closed to the public on 3 rd May in preparation for the ballot boxes arriving when polling stations around the Highlands close on Thursday 6th May.
The gym will be closed on 7th May and will re-open on Sunday 9 th May. The other indoor facilities will re-open on Monday 10 th May. The temporary restrictions do not apply to the swimming pools
which will remain open throughout.
“We have contacted the various clubs and organisations that would usually use the sports centre and while most of them normally suspend their activities for election counts, we are happy to work them to try to find alternatives where possible given the unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves.
“I understand that The Highland Council considered other venues, but due to the COVID-safe and increased security requirements needed for this particular election count, Inverness Leisure was the only venue that was able to accommodate those needs and as a partner organisation, HLH was happy to assist.
Mr Wilby concluded, “Both ourselves and The Highland Council appreciate the understanding of the groups involved while the local democratic process is undertaken on site. We will be working jointly to bring the location back online as early as safely possible."
The Highland Football Academy, another HLH facility, will also be used for the election count.
The location will close to the public on 30 th April and reopen on 10th May.
Members at today's full meeting of Highland Council agreed a motion from the Leader and Chair of Corporate Resources, which would call for a fairer share of income derived from the development of the region’s natural resources to establish a Highland Renewable Fund. In the motion Highland Council Leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson, highlighted that at a time when private energy companies are making huge profits from the abundance of natural resources of wind and water in the Highlands the region’s roads were suffering.
At the Highland Council Gaelic committee to beheld on 18th May 2021 the committee will be asked to agree that the National Mòd for Inverness in 2021 should be given a further £80,000. The council has an agreement to pay £40,000 annually that aids the Mod to come to Highland every three years.
Anja Johnston from Thurso will take up the role of Highland Youth Convener early in May 2021 This full-time role is a bursary position that will run for 12 months. The 24-year-old, has previously worked as an Assistant Youth Worker, delivering the YOJO digital youth project with High Life Highland.
Since the launch of the Highland Employment Recruitment Offer (HERO) in March 2021, there has been a positive uptake of the grant scheme across Highland as 157 applications have been approved in principle, with 73 recruited/currently being recruited. HERO is funded by The Highland Council and the Scottish Government under the No One Left Behind and Young Person's Guarantee Funding Streams.
Members of the Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee have agreed to allocate up to £200k of the Council's Cycling, Walking and Safer Routes 2021/22 grant award to the delivery of a new Council 20mph programme, and 10% of this annual budget is to be used in future years. The introduction of more 20 mph speed limits on Highland roads will help the Council to meet the challenging road casualty reduction targets set out in the new Scottish Road Safety Framework launched in February this year.
With the majority of businesses re-opening this week, Highland Council's Environmental Health team with assistance from Police Scotland will be undertaking joint visits to premises throughout the Highlands. The visits aim to help raise public confidence that businesses are doing all they can to protect public safety as the lockdown restrictions are eased.
A bid to fund the design and delivery of over £55 Million of transport infrastructure in Highland was submitted to Transport Scotland today. A partnership including The Highland Council, bus operators and other stakeholders has put together a package of measures to prioritise buses in congested parts of the network.
The Highland Council is inviting people to follow them on YouTube so that the local authority can broadcast live the Highland constituencies and the Highland and Islands Regional results. Please follow (subscribe to) Highland Council's YouTube at: www.youtube.com/user/TheHighlandCouncil (external link) Constituency and Regional Returning Officer, Donna Manson explained: "Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the need to provide a safe election we are facing new challenges and opportunities in delivering the Scottish Parliamentary Election count and declaration of results.
The Highland Council's Tourism Committee has approved a final draft Visitor Management Plan for 2021 yesterday (Wednesday 21 April) which aims to assist communities and the public during the anticipated busy summer months. Chair of the Tourism Committee, Cllr Gordon Adam said: "Welcoming visitors back to the Highlands from Monday 26 April is a positive sign that the road to recovery can finally commence.
Twelve successful projects have been awarded a share of £409,652 Highland Coastal Communities Fund (HCCF) yesterday (Thursday 22 April 2021) by The Highland Council's Caithness Committee. £98,803 was agreed to be invested in moving forward an economic development project that will benefit the whole of Caithness, with a view to securing match funding for local partners.