Advisor calls for Covid testing center to be moved from Wick parking lot to riverside
Efforts are being stepped up to get the Wick Covid-19 testing center out of the main parking lot in the middle of town.
The center has been in place in the riverside car park since the beginning of January and occupies 12 spaces for motorhomes and motorhomes.
With stays on the rise following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, and with Wick being a popular stopping point for North Coast 500 tourists, calls are escalating for waterfront spaces to be freed up for their destination. .
Highland Councilor Raymond Bremner is looking into the matter. He says he fully accepts the continued need for a Covid testing site in Wick, but wishes it moved elsewhere in the city.
The overhaul of the car park is part of several measures aimed at regenerating the city center. The resurfacing work was completed in March last year at a cost of around £ 120,000.
“There is a reason the parking spaces are there and a reason the parking lot is in the center of Wick,” Councilor Bremner said. “There is also a reason for the NHS test center, but we need to understand what the best location would be as it now conflicts with RV and caravan parking.”
He is pushing for a small number of waste disposal units to be installed along the 12 bays.
“With the pressure on us to provide adequate accommodation for motorhomes and caravans, I would like to see if we can ensure waste disposal,” he said. “And that, of course, will be the most obvious place. to put it – where we provided parking. But at the moment, we cannot use it. “
Councilor Bremner has been in contact with the Highland Council’s Chief Executive Officer for Communities and Place and an NHS Resilience Advisor, insisting that a move is needed “as soon as possible”.
Speaking in the parking lot on Tuesday, he said: “We’re just on the May bank holiday and it’s pretty busy, but I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like in June and July if that. [the testing centre] is still there.
“I mentioned it two months ago and was told it had to be here. I said okay, but let’s review, and in two months I have no idea what this review showed.
“What we do know is that they still need it. I absolutely appreciate this, for the peace of mind and safety of our local community in terms of Covid, as it has not gone away.
“But at the same time the tourists are gone for a while, but now they’re coming back, so we have to provide for them.
“The less we provide to tourists, the more problems we will have.
“The point is, we spent money on tourists when we started redoing the parking lot, because it was awful. We even ended the road capital plan two years ago to try. to sort out this parking lot. “
He stressed: “I am very supportive of the need to have the test center. However, it is about finding the right balance.
“I hope that we can find a satisfactory solution which allows us to provide both a location for the test center and all the equipment that the parking lot was supposed to provide.”
Councilor Bremner provided an update during a Zoom meeting of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council on Monday evening.
He told community advisers: “We are already seeing an increase in tourist capacity and we need this parking lot right in the center of town to provide as much parking as possible.
The Wick Covid Center opened on January 7 and is part of a network of local and regional testing sites across Scotland operated on behalf of the UK government by private company Mitie.