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The council group behind the divisive Inverness public artworks is set to fold as the full costs are finally revealed for the Gathering Place amid concerns from Councillor Ron MacWilliam that the figures are 'impossible to decipher'

By Scott Maclennan

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The Gathering Place.
The Gathering Place.

The saga of the Inverness public artworks that sparked division and anger is set to draw to a close as the working group is set to be wound up this week – but one councillor warns that too many questions remain unanswered.

The report to this week’s Inverness city committee looks to provide a brief of what was achieved, what was not, and how much it cost the taxpayer – both in the Highlands and nationally.

It also contains a proposal to wind-up the Inverness City Arts (Icarts) group and for councillors to note that the group discharged its duties and all the fully funded projects have been concluded.

A key revelation is that the total sum spent on the actual construction of the Gathering Place was £262,246 and includes construction of the enhanced access after it was discovered to be inaccessible to wheelchair users.

But the total revised budget for the piece appears to come to just short of £360,000 including an additional £27,000 targeted funding from Creative Scotland. It also notes that the contingency budget was needed for additional works amounting to more than £21,000 including a sample of anti-graffiti paint for £198.

But Inverness Councillor Ron MacWilliam maintains his criticism that the project remains mired in secrecy, saying: “As ever, these figures are verging on impossible to decipher.

“What’s beyond doubt is that throughout this whole incompetent, bungling project the public have been misled, so public funds could be spent, money that not only wasn’t allocated but which they expressly agreed not to spend. There has been no public admission of failure, no apology.”

The Gathering Place opened last month.

Related Story – WATCH: Completion of controversial riverside artwork in Inverness 'slightly' delayed due to supply shortages

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