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Inverness Rowing Club development goes forward in smaller scale

By Alasdair Fraser

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SCALED down plans for a new rowing club boathouse on the Caledonian Canal have gone before Highland Council planning officials.

The Inverness Rowing Club project at Torvean was originally approved in July last year, but has been revised and reduced in scale in light of changing circumstances.

The club’s new premises will be built on former golf course land gifted to the club through a community asset transfer and includes welfare buildings, a boat store and a fenced, secure outside compound.

The site skirts the recently completed Westlink development that created a second swing bridge across the canal, linking the city route to the A82.

A design statement accompanying the revised application explained that changes had been made for three main reasons.

Primarily, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and closure of the club over periods of the last year had reduced its growth expectations.

In addition, there had been less landfill material generated by the Westlink works, leaving a shallow pad of land currently less suitable for a large development.

The scaling down also avoids the need for archaeological investigations which might have significantly added to project costs and delayed its completion.

New home will boost rowers.
New home will boost rowers.

The club’s vice-captain, Robert Gordon is confident the scaled down plans would still allow for future growth of the club, with space to expand, and said renewed interest in the club was already building with the easing of Covid restrictions. Mr Gordon, who has helped develop the plans in partnership with Highland Council and Sportscotland, said: “We originally had approval for a much larger facility at a much larger cost.

“Covid has clearly had an impact on that, and we’re just taking a more pragmatic view on what we need and what will be a steadier growth pattern for the club in coming years.

“We’re already seeing a lot of interest coming back and we’ve run ‘come and try’ and ‘learn to row’ sessions.

“The whole infrastructure of the canal has opened up and we’re
seeing more people down at the canal.

“We’re a reasonably small club in Inverness so the aim is to create something that has the capacity to grow as demand grows. That’s our favoured approach.”

Revised plans would retain the current boat shed, add changing and welfare units, disabled parking, and a ramp connecting boat maintenance, shelter and beginner storage areas, as well as a secure gravel yard.

The application has a determination deadline of August 14.

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