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Golspie residents to be given update on progress towards a flood protection scheme for village at a community engagement event

By Caroline McMorran

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An update on the progress towards implementing a flood protection scheme for Golspie is to be given at a community engagement event at the village’s YMCA building on Saturday, November 25.

Barriers along the sea wall were completely flattened between the Seafront Centre and the Free Church of Scotland as huge waves lashed over the sea wall last month.
Barriers along the sea wall were completely flattened between the Seafront Centre and the Free Church of Scotland as huge waves lashed over the sea wall last month.

Development group Go Golspie has been leading the flood protection project but a new steering group is in the process of being formed to take over the work.

The need for flood defences has become even more acute following the storm on the weekend of October 28-29which brought extensive flooding to the village and caused damage to Golspie golf course, Golspie caravan park and the North of Scotland Kart Club track.

Of the 10 coastal areas at greatest at risk of flooding, Golspie is the only one with national infrastructure at risk – the A9 trunk road.

Go Golspie board member Richard Gale, ward councillor for East Sutherland and Edderton said: “The engineer and wave modellers have completed the first phase of research and have narrowed it down to four options. These proposals will be outlined at the community engagement event.”

He added: “This will be an ambitious project with a large budget. It is not possible to estimate the cost at this stage unless and until a final design is agreed by all stakeholders, but it will certainly be more than £1.5 million projected. Funding will be key and all possible avenues will be explored.”

A screening will also take place at the event of a climate change film commissioned by Highlands & Islands Climate Hub and which features Golspie.

In addition a number of exhibitors will be present, including the Scottish Flood Forum, to advise on flood protection measures for properties.

Cllr Gale confirmed that a proposal to renew the village’s old breakwater had been discounted after modelling showed it would need to be a minimum of six metres high from the sea bed to be effective. However a Highland Council initiative to raise the sea wall by 90cm is still very much on the table.

“It will protect the village against rising sea levels to a large extent and all the options proposed by the wave modellers will work with or enhance this,” he said.

“The result of the council’s bid to the Scottish Government for funding of this scheme will not be known until 2025 at the earliest, and there is no guarantee that it will be successful. It is one of 130 applications from across the whole of Scotland.”

Anyone interested in taking an active part in delivering a flood protection scheme for the village is asked to contact Henrietta Marriott at marriottpckh@hotmail.com or 01408 634061.

The time of the community engagement event has yet to be made known.

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