Major concerns are being raised about spending on Oban’s stadium after councillors were asked to consider investing in upgrade proposals – which are already under way.
After discussing the need for improvements to Mossfield sports venue, members of the area committee for Oban Lorn and the Isles unanimously agreed that no resources be committed until such time as robust consultation with a stakeholders group has been undertaken.
But as it emerged that some work has already taken place, Councillor Julie McKenzie said: “It makes a mockery of the committee system.
“We have said no to any spending until a stakeholder group is set up, this group is to be a working group made up of users.
“In my opinion councillors are not the best qualified people to decide how money gets spent on Mossfield.”
The suggestions for Mossfield improvements before the committee included: “Approach and hard standing behind goal. Re-surface the access area from the car park including the rear of the goal area. Cost estimate: £30,000.”
Another proposal stated: “Pathway leading to Mossfield Stand – Create a level footway leading to the stand, ensuring area is accessible to all users. Awaiting costs.”
Councillor McKenzie said: “This paper was brought to the area committee asking us to consider costings and agree to it being looked into, yet the work has already been started.
“Two items on the list have already been carried out. Tar has been laid behind the goals and alongside the path.
“The area leading up to the grandstand has already been tarred.
“Who decided that work needed done and who asked for the paper to be brought forward? Governance appears to be missing in action.
“That this work is already underway prior to going to committee raises serious questions and requires urgent scrutiny. After all, we are talking about spending from the public purse.
“Why are councillors being asked to take decisions on work which has already been carried out?”
A spokeswoman for the council said: “It is correct that some areas have been tarred. This was material that could not be used on another job and so would otherwise have gone to waste.
“Since financial year 2015-16, and including expenditure to date in 2019-20, £141,790.92 has been spent on improvements and maintenance at Mossfield Stadium. This includes revenue and capital spend.”
Historically, Mossfield was used as a venue for shinty matches and Highland games.
But since 2015 it has hosted Oban Live – a two day music festival organised by Celtic rock group Skerryvore.
After this summer’s event organisers said they would be taking a break in 2020 and claimed the facilities are deteriorating at a time when running events is increasing.