A proposal to build a rising barrier to tackle the problem of flood prevention in the Whitesands failed to find the support of a single councillor at a meeting of Nithsdale Area Committee today (4 November).
Members of the SNP, Conservative and Labour groups on the Council as well as Independent Councillor Yen Hongmei Jin all backed recommending to the Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee support for a raised walkway solution, with no member voting against. No group put forward an alternative proposal.
Chair of Nithsdale Area Committee Councillor Ted Thompson said, “The overwhelming support from all political parties and independents on the council for the raised walkway option reflects the growing consensus that this is only option that will tackle the flooding problem on the Whitesands and regenerate the area in a way that actually improves the views of the river and increases car parking. Councilors recognise that as a result of the public consultation the proposals have changed significantly and the option of a large embankment has been dropped, something the committee welcomed".
“Much has been said about the so-called rising barrier alternative but to support such a huge structure you would need brick walls on both sides of the river ranging from 1 to 3 metres high and every 10 metres you would have 3m high poles sticking up. One councillor described it as making the Whitesands look like a derelict fish factory. If we were to build such a scheme you would have to close the car park alongside the river for two years during construction with no alternative car parking proposed . That would devastate businesses in the area. Independent estimates also show that a rising barrier option would be significantly more expensive costing between £18m and £26m. That is why not a single councilor from a single group supports the rising barrier option”.