Friends of the Water of Leith Projects

South Shore improvement Project

FOWL was the driving force behind the South Shore Improvement Project. Old barriers were removed, opening up the riverside to pedestrians, New trees were planted, the pavements were resurfaced with Caithness Black stone and the road priorities were changed to improve congestion and improve the area for businesses, residents and visitors.

River Clean ups

Every so often we arrange a clean-up of the banks of the river. The next scheduled clean up is 10am Coalie Park Sun 26 October 2014. It only lasts a couple of hours and is a great way to devote a little time and energy to improving the area on a Sunday morning. Gloves and litter pickers/bags are provided. Please come along, all are welcome

Paolozzi Mural

Firstly success in getting the Council  to board up the derelict shop on Henderson Street.  The transformation was then completed, with the addition of the mural at the bus stop, which we trust you will agree has been a major improvement.  The contemporary image of world recognised Leither Edvard Paolozzi, by artist Russell Dempster, was facilitated and funded by LeithLate working closely with the Friends.

Historic Scotland

While the Friends are still challenging for the Scheduling of the Water of Leith Basins and historic Inner Harbour the possibility of upgrading the Conservation Area status of this general designated Leith area has emerged.  We are now working on this in partnership with the City of Edinburgh planning department.

Silt & Flood Risk

There is a substantial build up of silt in basin 2 (Sandport bridge to Commercial Street bridge) at present. We are actively seeking a resolution to this potentially dangerous flooding situation. Should the Commercial Street bridge become blocked, it would effectively become a dam, flooding many roads and businesses. In the last 40 years since the installation of tidal gates in the port, the silt has built up from the river bed to a depth of 30 feet. Much of basin 2 is less than a few inches deep now. FOWL is actively engaged in seeking a solution to this threat.

Cleanliness of the River

The general quality of the water in the Basins is emphasised by the birdlife and recent visits by SEPA at our request. However, the constant flow of rubbish downstream, especially in the summer makes it difficult to maintain cleanliness. The Friends continue to discuss these issues with the Basins’ owners and the Council to seek ways to maintain the Water in a  reasonable condition and appearance.

 

Graffiti and Dog Mess

Occasionally our area is blighted by Graffiti and Dog Mess. Whilst we work with the Environmental Department as much as possible, council resources are stretched. We have applied for a grant for a high pressure washer and a powerful adapter to deal with the more stubborn decoration. This would also double as a way of keeping the area clearer of dog mess. As we found with the River clean-ups, once an area looks clean and healthy, it tends to stay that way longer. Any businesses out there who would be interested in helping out with this initiative, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Birds on the River

With such a mild Winter we didn't see so many rare visitors in the Basins. However, our more common and resident birds continue to flourish and amuse us.

Wild Flower Planting

There are several areas of the banks which were previously somewhat barren and dull. FOWL successfully applied for a "Leith Decides" grant to purchase and plant thousands of wild flowers around the Coalie Park area. These are native species and will take some time to establish, but in time we will hopefully see the "flowering" of our efforts.

Floating Homes

We circulated details of the planning application regarding the proposed Research Office and Lodges on Rennie’s Isle. We submitted comments and objections as this referred to the longer term proposal for Floating Homes in the Basins. 

Garden

Our Sandport Bridge community garden, now in its third year, is beginning to look more like a proper garden. Gratifying to hear so many appreciative comments from passers-by on what used to be a neglected, litter strewn patch.

Custom House

Members of FOWL have recently added their expertise to the old Custom House project. Whilst this was originally a "Museum" project, such plans are sadly no longer viable in the modern economy. Building conservation however is the route to saving this iconic building. The building has now been built by the council and once title is transferred, the real work of executing the roadmap can begin. Whatever use(s) this fine building is put to, you can now shape it's future.