After a community ballot and thousands of pounds spent, it seems unrest over the North Kessock bottle bank can’t be disposed of.
The three bins were mysteriously moved overnight from the the seafront car park to outside the village hall.
Highland Council says the action was “unacceptable” and has reported the matter to police.
Local people urged to contact police over bottle bank move
It is also urging local people with information about the unauthorised flit to contact Police Scotland.
The contentious issue of where to site the three bins has divided opinion for years.
It led to the council holding a ballot in March on whether they should be located in the village’s main car park or half a mile away in Ferry Brae.
Voters came down in favour of the car park option by 586 votes to 288 in the ballot.
But the bins mysteriously took up residence briefly outside the North Kessock Village Hall after being moved by “a person or persons unknown”.
Their temporary new home was shared on social media before the council returned them to their agreed spot.
A council spokeswoman said: “Highland Council is disappointed to learn that an individual or individuals within North Kessock have decided to ignore the democratic decision of the local community on the location of the bottle banks and moved these overnight to outside the village hall.
“874 members of the local community voted in February and of this group, 67% decided that the bottle banks should be returned to the car park location in North Kessock.
“The bottle banks have been returned this morning to the location agreed by the community.
“But this has wasted council officer time and resource which should be focused on delivering services for the local community. This is unacceptable.
“The council has therefore reported the matter to the police and we are seeking advice on next steps.
“The council would urge anyone with information to contact Police Scotland on 101.”
What are local people saying?
The latest development shows the ballot has not resolved the long-running dispute.
Local resident James Bissett said: “We thought all this was behind us.
“But overnight someone appears to have moved the bins to the village hall.
“The whole thing is ridiculous.
“The cost of the ballot was around £5,000 at a time when we have cutbacks left right and centre and you can’t get into the centre of North Kessock without running the gauntlet of potholes.
“How many potholes can you fill for £5,000?”
Deborah Tuckwell, vice-chairwoman of the North Kessock Village Hall committee, said the bottle bins were moved without its knowledge.
She said: “We knew nothing about it. It was a shock to us.
“From our point of view we respect the result of the recent community ballot on the location of bottle bank and were pleased to see the prompt action of the Highlands council this morning.”
John Stott, chairman of Knockbain Community Council, said he hopes police take “very strong action” over the incident.
He said he hoped the ballot would end the controversy.
However, he said it was agreed the bins should be positioned next to a seaside garden at the pier and have screening in place.
“The council has been a little slow in putting the bottle bank back to its correct place and the mitigation measures in place.
Bottle bank moved previously
“I hope the council will sort that out post haste because then there is absolutely no argument from the community.”
Jackie Patience, whose house looks on to the car park, said: “The ballot was never going to resolve the problem.
“They spent thousands of pounds but people are still unhappy.”
She has previously said the ballot should be declared null and void due to claims that people were sent two sets of voting papers.
The bottle bank was moved from the main waterfront car park in 2018 as the pier ticket office underwent refurbishment.
A coastal garden was also created as part of a project by the North Kessock Ticket Office Project (NKTOP).