Castletown and John O’Groats are among a number of communities benefiting from a Â£ 240,000 investment from the Highland Council in public toilets and comfort programs and increased waste collection at major tourist sites.
The local authority says it is doing everything possible to welcome visitors to the region while encouraging them to “leave no trace” on the environment.
Spending for public toilets and comfort programs will amount to Â£ 60,000, including Â£ 180,000 for increased waste collection at visitor sites.
The members of the communities and places committee of the council provided an update on the work to date. They also welcomed the additional support received from NatureScot’s Better Places fund of Â£ 11,000 for public amenities.
Committee Chairman Councilor Allan Henderson said: âThe Highland Council is doing everything it can to welcome visitors to our area. Our Visitor Management Plan strives to help visitors have a good experience, benefiting local economies, while leaving no mark on our beautiful surroundings.
“These additional investments have now increased the comfort program with 14 new providers and we now have 50 comfort programs in the region for this season as well as the new public comfort in Storr. [Skye] After taking office, the council now manages 75 across the region. I am grateful to the staff for working with businesses and communities to improve service this season. “
Public toilets in Storr, Ullapool, Kingussie, Aviemore, Grantown, Dornie, Muir of Ord, Castletown and Foyers are all benefiting from investments. Additional comfort programs have been secured this season in Salen, Morar, Rum, Ardnamurchan, Dornoch (2), John O’Groats, Drumnadrochit, Kinlochleven, Glendale, Portree, Kyleakin, Helmsdale and Alness.
Councilor Henderson said, âOfficers continue to seek more external funding sources to improve and expand public restroom and waste collection services. The council is also investigating the ownership of previously closed public toilets if future funding obtained allows them to reopen.
âAn improved waste collection service has seen the hiring of eight additional seasonal employees who are mobile and responsive to reported waste issues.
âI congratulate the many communities and individuals who also carried out the garbage collection in their region. More than 60 organized community garbage pickups have been supported by the council’s waste team since April this year.
Wick is not on the list of facilities. The lack of functioning public toilets in the city has been a cause for concern this year, with community council chairperson Joanna Coghill calling it unacceptable for a place the size of Wick.
Amenities on Whitechapel Road were closed in early 2020 after being the target of a series of vandalism.
In August, it was reported that a Highland Council team was studying options for the Whitechapel Road and Camps washrooms and that this work had moved into the design stage.
A spokesperson for the Highland Council said: ‘The facilities at Wick need much more resources than the council currently has and were available as part of the Visitor Management Plan funding this year – 60,000 Â£ for the whole of Highland.
âThere is no agreed base repair budget or capital funding for public amenities this year and the operating revenue budget was cut by 25% three years ago. Surveys are being commissioned. on Wick’s public amenities including costs to see how best to proceed Investment decisions will be made in council for this year and next year’s budget.