Preparation will begin next week for the installation of Highland Council’s controversial Gathering Place public art work on the banks of the River Ness in Inverness.
The work was delayed by the pandemic, and by the requirement to tweak the design to make the main feature – a curved wall – more accessible and include signage to warn the public of any closures due to high water.
Local contractor Simpsons will carry out the preparation work.
Highland Council has revealed the art work will be clad in Clashach stone from a local quarry.
The project replaced the original Tilting Pier design, withdrawn after it failed to find favour with the public.
But the Gathering Place has also not proved unpopular with some – among them local councillors who branded it a monstrosity and waste of public money.
The group Open Ness also questioned the council’s transparency and decision making over the project.
The council says the Gathering Place will take on ‘an even more poignant and significant meaning’ when it is completed in early summer, as it should coincide with further lockdown easing and people being able to come together again.
Inverness provost, councillor Helen Carmichael, said: “Who would have thought, when this centrepiece was commissioned back in 2017, that the world would have been transformed by a pandemic and human beings prevented from the most basic of interactions – gathering.
“I hope that it will not just be an asset to our city, but a place where people will be able to come together to pause and reflect on the joy of human interaction within the amphitheatre of the river.”