Canal strategy sets sail for waterways award

The plan to kick start the renaissance of the popular Union Canal won a prestigious national waterways award last night (23 May).

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.

The awards, run by The Waterways Trust, reward exceptional projects that have turned inland waterways into desirable places for living, learning and leisure.

The Canal Strategy is the result of partnership work between the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Canals.

Councillor Gordon Munro, Edinburgh Canal Champion, said: "I'm really pleased that all the detailed planning and consultation that went into producing the strategy has been acknowledged with this award. To achieve national recognition against some very strong competition is great for everyone involved.

"We now have to make sure that the strategy results in the development of the canal so more people from across Edinburgh, and beyond, can appreciate all that it has to offer."

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."

Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive of The Waterways Trust, 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."

After a series of focus groups, consultation events and collaboration with key canal users, the Edinburgh Union Canal Strategy was approved in December 2011. It was officially launched at the start of this year.

Additional information:

The strategy aims to ensure the maximum use of the 200-year-old waterway by locals and visitors to Edinburgh through a wide range of activities like boating, rowing, walking, cycling and fishing.

It hopes to create seven 'hubs' along the waterway and develop a new 'canal culture' by encouraging recreational, business and community uses at Ratho, Wester Hailes, Meggetland, Harrison Park and the 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 canal. A delivery plan has been drawn up to outline the key actions needed to be taken to develop the strategy.

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