Feasibility cash in place for memorial toilets
PLANS to build new toilets next to a major Spean Bridge tourist attraction could start soon after funding for a feasibility study was approved by two organisations, writes Steven Rae.
Thousands of visitors come to see the bronze statue and garden of remembrance at the Commando Memorial, which lies about one mile outside of the village, each year.
Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry Community Council applied for the feasibility study back in December and announced at its meeting on January 5 that funding had been approved. Highland Council will pay 50 per cent of the costs, with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) matching the funding. Due to legal reasons, the Community SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) has now taken over the project from the community council.
The monument is dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces, who fought in the Second World War, and was unveiled by the Queen Mother in 1952.
Chairman of Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry Community Council John Fotheringham said there had been a number of complaints over the past three years about people having nowhere to go to the toilet.
Mr Fotheringham said: ‘ We have had a lot of complaints over the past three years about people getting caught short at the memorial, so we felt we had to do something about it.
‘The study we are looking at is for toilets of a compostable nature and would be fairly low maintenance.
‘The SCIO has made the application as a community council can’t own property, so the SCIO would take on ownership.’ Mr Fotheringham said the cost of putting in standard toilets would be in the region of £ 500,000, however the cheaper option, which the community council was looking into, would be between £60,000 to £100,000.
The community council has looked at similar facilities, including the RSPB site at Moidart Gardens, to estimate the costs.
Mr Fotheringham added that the community council was in discussions with ‘a number of bodies’ about funding the project, adding: ‘It’s a very popular destination and we don’t want to stop people going.
‘Hopefully they will be camouflaged from the monument and memorial garden. We will be looking at all possibilities. The council has been very supportive.
‘It’s an iconic monument of considerable importance to serving and retired service personnel, and we don’t want anything to detract from visitors’ experience.’
The memorial is a popular