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Project to replace ageing boardwalk in Inverness nature reserve receives funding boost

By Val Sweeney

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Emergency repairs were carried out to the boardwalk last year.
Emergency repairs were carried out to the boardwalk last year.

Plans to replace an an ageing seafront boardwalk in Inverness have been given a £12,156 boost by Inverness city councillors.

The funding for the project at Merkinch Local Nature Reserve has been allocated from the Highland Coastal Communities Fund.

The £523,000 project to replace the boardwalk also involves upgrading the adjacent path to form a fully accessible route between the Carnac Crescent entrance to the reserve and the main sea wall path near the railway crossing.

The wooden walkway was temporarily closed last year due to safety concerns but reopened following emergency repairs.

Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael welcomed the funding.

"This is great news for the local communities of South Kessock, Merkinch, Clachnaharry, Scorguie, Dalneigh and Muirtown as a new replacement boardwalk and path upgrades will provide an important facility for recreation, access to nature, and health and wellbeing," she said.

"Locals, wider Inverness residents and visitors to the area will all benefit at a time when access to the outdoors during the pandemic remains highly important."

The Highland Coastal Communities Fund is designed to support economic regeneration and sustainable development around coastal areas in Highland. The fund is derived from revenue generated by Scottish Government Crown Estate marine assets.

Projects are expected to prioritise economic recovery, community resilience, mitigate the impact of climate change or address the challenges of rural depopulation.

The successful projects will also demonstrate sustainability or viability, value for money, additionality, local support/benefit to their community and evidence the positive impacts for their coastal community/economy.

Other funding partners in the project include Highland Council, Inverness Common Good Fund and Sustrans.

Merkinch Local Nature Reserve currently represents the only quality access to the coastal waterside in Inverness and is valuable to the entire city as an area for conservation and recreation.

The project will also form half of the new active travel route connecting South Kessock with Merkinch and the city beyond.

Related story: Plans revealed to replace dilapidated seafront boardwalk

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