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Caithness News Bulletins January 2005

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The funding of a long-awaited floodlit all weather pitch within the grounds of Wick High School was secured today (Thursday) following a plea by Caithness members attending The Highland Council's Education Culture and Sport Committee.

Meeting in Inverness today (Thursday 20 January 2005), the Committee unanimously accepted the Caithness arguments for an additional allocation of 345,000 on top of the previously agreed 525,000 towards the cost of the project and allows
work to start in the new financial year.

The Committee was advised that the additional funds were required following a decision by sportscotland and the National Lottery to reject a grant application.

Caithness councillors were delighted at the outcome and are hopeful that work can start in the autumn.

Wick councillors Bill Fernie, Katrina McNab and Graeme Smith were joined by Councillor Roger Saxon in highlighting the importance of the project and the long and eager wait by Wick people for the new facility.

"This is great news for Wick," said Councillor Saxon, who is the Education Culture and Sport spokesperson for Caithness. "There have been a number of disappointments along the way in trying to piece together a funding package but we are all delighted that the Committee is prepared to plug the funding gap created by our failure to attract grant aid from sportscotland and the National Lottery.

"Hopefully, we can now press ahead with the plans and hopefully work can start in the autumn of this year."

The position of a similar project for Plockton High School was also addressed by the committee. Local member, Councillor Isabelle Campbell, said she was happy to support the additional allocation going to the Wick project now, provided the Committee "cast in stone" that the Plockton pitch would go ahead in tandem with the planned upgrade of the high school.   Committee Chairman, Councillor Andy Anderson, provided the assurance sought.