A LOCAL councillor paid tribute to the railway employees who lived and worked in Forres this year.
George Alexander was in regular contact with Network rail and BAM Nuttall throughout the construction of the new train station and line, completed in time and on budget.
He said: “Both bodies showed great consideration for the well-being of the local community.
“Many people will be unhappy that a safe pedestrian crossing on the A96 has not been provided but the blame for that lies firmly at the door of the Transport Scotland office.
“BAM Nuttall provided over £30,000 of support in the local community and that support has enabled things to happen which simply would not have at all, or would have been considerably delayed.”
BAM Nuttall’s investments included: sponsorship of Moray Inshore Rescue Organisation (MIRO) and £1000 for a new fuel pump; cold frames, a concrete shed base and other general materials for Forres In Bloom; generators and other equipment for Colours of Cluny; and £13,000, including a skateramp, for the skatepark for Forres project.
BAM Nuttall communications manager, Stuart Mackay, explained that Forres was the team’s home for the duration of the local station project.
He said: “We didn’t have a set amount to invest but we considered projects on their merits. Unfortunately there were some we couldn’t support as they were not of wider benefit.
“We very-much enjoyed being part of the community as we like to link with local groups whenever we can.”
He added: “Forres In Bloom were particularly great to work with as they helped us get our message out.
“They put the BAM Nuttall name on the peacock at Grant Park and gave us a specially-made floral display for our office.”
Together with other project staff, there were between 50 and 300 workers in the area during construction. On average, 60 per cent of employees were from the local catchment area but there were also workers from the Central Belt and as far away as India, New Zealand and Holland.
Project Manager, Gerrie Van Saasen, originally from South Africa, really enjoyed working and living here.
He said: “Forres is a great town. My family love the area so much we have decided to stay living locally.”
Stuart added: “The general feeling is that Forres is a lovely place and, during the October blockade, everyone wanted to stay here.”
The team has now broken up for jobs across the country.