Talks commence over future of Canal Park

The Highland Council has commenced discussions with Highland Rugby Club to explore the opportunities for the club committing its long term future to the Canal Parks, Inverness.

The club has expressed a preference for staying at the Canal Parks, provided that acceptable provision can be made there to meet the club's long term requirements.

The proposals under discussion include the provision of a new IRB standard all weather pitch and the redevelopment of their clubrooms and changing facilities.

The Council is working on the proposals as a partnership arrangement involving Highlife Highland, Highland Rugby Club, sportscotland and Scottish Rugby. Issues being addressed include capital funding for the project, opportunities to maximise sporting use of the all-weather pitch, and long term financial management of the facilities.

The news comes after the Council announced that it has agreed in principle to buy land at Charleston that will enable the relocation of Torvean Golf Course on one continuous expanse of land bounded by the A82 and General Booth Road. 

Both moves are conditional on the Council obtaining the statutory consents to build the Inverness West Link road.

If it proves possible for the Rugby Club to exercise its preference to remain at Canal Parks, it will allow greater scope for other sporting clubs to benefit from greatly enhanced sporting facilities proposed at the new sporting hub at Torvean.

Leader of The Highland Council Councillor Drew Hendry is delighted at the progress being made in accommodating the future needs of local sports clubs and developing the Sports Hub.

He said: “The Council is fully supportive of the Rugby Club’s objectives of delivering a major enhancement to the pitch, clubhouse and changing facilities. This will be a major asset to the city.  I am delighted with the progress we are making across a number of fronts associated with the Inverness West Link and the sporting enhancements.”

Andrew Little, Chairman of Highland Rugby Club said: "Highland Rugby Club has played at Canal Park for many years and is deeply attached to this location. We commend the Council's initiative in bringing forward alternative proposals to accommodate our playing requirements in the light of the proposed road construction disruption, and we will be very pleased if it proves possible to satisfactorily meet the Club's future needs at Canal Park. We will work closely with them to try to achieve that outcome."