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A chance to help shape the future of the Caledonian Canal


By Ian Duncan


Caledonian Canal.
Caledonian Canal.

The public will get a chance to help shape the future of the Caledonian Canal at an event being held at the Inverness Caledonian Thistle stadium in Inverness tomorrow.

The public engagement evening has been organised by Scottish Canals and is aimed at exploring current activity and future challenges for the waterway.

Communities and interested parties are invited to attend where they will hear from Scottish Canals CEO, Catherine Topley, and others from the executive team.

The event will include an overview of the extensive use and variety of activities that are undertaken on the canal, and provide an opportunity for participants to share their views on how the organisation can continue to provide a good level of customer service for boaters, partners, and visitors.

It will conclude with a question and answer session about the future of the canal.

Ms Topley said: "I am so pleased to have the opportunity to meet with communities and interested parties to explore Scottish Canals' vision for this magnificent canal.

"Our inland waterways form an important part of our national heritage, but we must also consult and plan for their future to ensure they remain an integral community asset.

"This event offers a great chance to learn more about the canal, share creative ideas and raise local priorities."

Scotland’s inland waterways attract 2,800 transiting boats per year from as far afield as Argentina and Japan.

Between January 2016 and June 2019, the Highland canal network, which includes both the Caledonian and Crinan Canals, benefited from a £61.1 million investment, a 176 per cent increase on the previous five-year period – which also saw the creation of a record 626 temporary construction jobs and the building of 468 new houses.

Russell Thomson, head of customer operations for the Caledonian Canal, said: "These are exciting times for the canal, but there are also challenges that come when working with a 200 year old living monument.

"For instance, there is a lot to explore and discuss as we plan for future seasonal offers, volunteering opportunities, opening hours and opportunities to extend user operations.

"We’re looking forward to sharing our thoughts and seeking your feedback on how to continue to work with the local community to maximise the use and benefit of the canal."

Tomorrow's event will take place from 5pm until 7pm at the Caledonian Stadium, Stadium Road, Inverness, and advance booking is not required.



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