When Wester Hailes was built, the section of the Union Canal that ran through the area was filled in as this was thought to be the safest option. However, a growing body of support for restoring the Union Canal along with the Forth and Clyde Canal began to pick up pace. British Waterways put together plans and a bid to the Government’s Millennium Fund for the cost of the £100 million project. Consultation formed an important part of the planning process and in Wester Hailes there were strong community structures that supported high levels of discussion. Presentations were made to the Representative Council and the local network of neighbourhood councils were asked to make this an agenda item at their next meetings. The plans caused a great deal of debate with some people being worried about safety issues and others concerned that the canal would become a dumping area for rubbish. You can read more about the story and plans by clicking on Sentinel November 1994 and Canal Plans November 1994.
Meanwhile the Calders Neighbourhood Councils were working together to develop plans to transform their section of the canal with the Water’s Edge Project. They could see the potential the canal offered not only for improving the immediate environment but for encouraging business and economic developments. You can read about their plans by clicking here on Sentinel April 1995.
The canal is a distinctive landmark that links different neighbourhoods and incorporates Wester Hailes in a series of water side communities along its length. The story of its re-opening is being remembered and celebrated this year at the Canalaversary Event on the 10th September. There’ll be a day packed with activities on land and on water to mark the day the Wester Hailes section of the canal was officially re-opened. Look out for further details about this great day out over the next couple of months.
Now there are new draft plans for the canal that the council is currently consulting on. They have identified a number of specific development areas that includes Wester Hailes. It’s important that people in Wester Hailes make their voices heard. Do you agree with the plans? Have you got ideas and suggestions for the Wester Hailes hub or the other areas included? You can read the summary report by clicking here. If you want to take part in the consultation, you can use the link here to read the more detailed report and add your comments.
There’s a chance to get involved in canal celebrations this Saturday at the Canal Festival over at Fountainbridge. It’ll be a great family day out with raft races, free boat trips, music, stalls, BBQ, and much more! It starts at 12pm and is on until 5.00pm. You’ll find the Canal Festival at the Lochrin Basin on the Union Canal and at Edinburgh Quay, near Cargo Bar.