At the Merchiston Community Council public meeting in March, we heard a fascinating talk by Andrew Burns in which he provided an update on the restoration of the Ashley Terrace boathouse and other exciting canal-related matters. Andrew, who is Chair of the newly established Edinburgh Union Canal Society (now registered as a Scottish Charity), summarised the results to date of a public consultation designed to find out what people want to see at this location. The front runner is boat hire (as used to happen before the boathouse had to be condemned as unsafe), followed by a café and toilets.
Further news is that the Bicentenary of the Union Canal will fall on 20/21 May 2022, when a grand 200th Anniversary Flotilla of small boats is planned. This will be a great community event! Details at www.flotilla200.live. Meantime, volunteers continue to do useful short-term repair work on the dilapidated old boathouse, which will eventually have to be completely replaced. Andrew assured us that the new structure will be very similar in appearance to the present, much-loved one — but, first, funding has to be sought.
Bridget Stevens, a former Chair of Merchiston Community Council, has lived in Merchiston for around 25 years. In her current role as Licensing Lead, she attends CEC Licensing Board meetings and other city council meetings as appropriate. She represents MCC on the Board of FOMBL (Friends of the Meadows & Bruntsfield Links) and was in the past a trustee of Dig-In community grocer and of the Eric Liddell Centre. She chairs a small local charity, Tap into IT, which introduces older residents to the joys of the internet, while another of her volunteering activities is as an audio describer of live theatre for the benefit of visually impaired members of the audience. In 2012 she was made a Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh.