A plan to build on work in recent years in revitalising the 200-year-old Union Canal got a resounding thumbs up last night after winning a prestigious award.
The Edinburgh Union Canal Strategy beat off strong competition from across the UK to scoop the ‘Strategy & Masterplanning’ category of The 2012 Waterways Renaissance Awards.
Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive of The Waterways Trust, who give out the awards for projects that have turned inland waterways into desirable places for living, learning and leisure, said: “The development of the Edinburgh Union Canal Strategy involved extensive consultation with the local community, canal users and key stakeholder groups, and their ideas have been firmly embedded in the final strategy document. This approach, together with the detailed delivery plan, marked this project out as a winner in a very competitive field.”
The Edinburgh Union Canal Strategy is the result of partnership work between the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Canals. It was developed through public consultation, approved in December 2011, and was officially launched at the start of this year.
Councillor Gordon Munro, Edinburgh Canal Champion, said: “To achieve national recognition against some very strong competition is great for everyone involved.”
Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive, of Scottish Canals, said: “Winning this award is a great acknowledgement of the work and thought everyone has put into the Edinburgh Canal Strategy.
“There is a real commitment and momentum now to see this happen from the City of Edinburgh Council, the community, waterway users and Scottish Canals and the award will be a great boost setting us on our way.”
Union Canal plan
The strategy aims to ensure "maximum use" by locals and visitors to Edinburgh through a wide range of activities like boating, rowing, walking, cycling and fishing.
Seven 'hubs' would be developed along the waterway to help bring about a new "canal culture" by encouraging recreational, business and community uses at Ratho, Wester Hailes, Meggetland, Harrison Park and Lochrin Basin.
Highlights include Meggetland becoming a centre of excellence for water sports on the canal and the Lochrin Basin becoming an overnight mooring destination in the city.
There are also plans for Harrison Park to improve visitor moorings and picnic facilities. In the west of the city, there will also be new buildings and improved links with the Edinburgh Canal Centre and the Ratho Adventure Centre.
Issues such as access, lighting, moorings, developments, public art and renewable energy will also be looked at across the length of the 16km of waterway in the plan.