Minister announces additional funding for Scottish Canals

The money will contribute towards the development of a new £1.2 m visitor centre at the Kelpies canal hub near Falkirk and works including surfacing, landscaping decking etc will be carried out at Pinkston Watersports in Port Dundas, Glasgow.

The funding worth £950,000 for ‘shovel ready’ projects is in addition to the funding already allocated to Scottish Canals and will contribute further to regeneration and tourism across Scotland’s canal network.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:

“I am delighted to announce additional funding to Scottish Canals which builds on our commitment to supporting the organisation in its regeneration work. This funding will go some considerable way to improving the visitor experience at both the Kelpies visitor centre and Pinkston Watersports.

“Our canals organisation has shown ambitious vision and effective partnership working to realise the benefits from our canals. As well as driving forward the regeneration of both urban and rural canal-side communities, it is also active in the tourism market.

“Scotland’s canals are of historic significance and are an asset we place great value on. Excellent progress has been made over the past decade in revitalising the network and we are now keen to deliver a wider public benefit and this funding will allow continued progress.”

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals, said:

“We’re delighted that Pinkston Watersports has received additional shovel ready funding and the completion of the short course today marks a major step forward for the project.

“While the centre will train the Olympians of tomorrow, this Legacy 2014 project is about much more than medals. By offering competition-grade facilities and coaching just a mile from Glasgow city centre and less than an hour’s drive away for over three million Scots, Pinkston Watersports will bring jobs and income to North Glasgow and is the latest stage in the regeneration of the area that has already seen a cultural quarter flourish around nearby Speirs Locks.

“Pinkston Watersports will be a unique force for change in Scotland – an urban sports hub that fosters community involvement and regeneration alongside the development of sporting excellence. We can’t wait to see paddlers on the water in April.”

Martin Davidson, Glasgow Watersports Trustee, added:

“The additional Scottish Government funding is fantastic news which will ensure Pinkston Watersports Centre is completed to the high standard deserving of Scotland’s first purpose-built paddlesports centre.

“Catering equally for elite athletes and those grabbing a paddle for the first time, the centre will encourage more people to get out on the water and help ensure that Scotland’s fantastic Olympic medal record in canoeing disciplines continues.

“Pinkston Watersports Centre is set to become a centre of sporting excellence and the trustees of Glasgow Watersports are very much looking forward to the opening of the centre in early Spring.”


Contact Caroline Trainer, Press Officer, Transport Scotland on 07837 062 787

Notes to editors

The £0.95m funding in 2013-14 for shovel ready projects is in addition to £4.6m funding in 2012/13 & 2013/14 for shovel ready projects and the grant-in-aid for Scottish Canals of £10 million for 2013 - 14.

  • £0.45m to Pinkston Watersports Centre
  • £0.50m to visitor centre at Kelpies in Helix Park

Pinkston Watersports

The Centre has been designed by Andy Laird who designed the London Olympics course and has already had international attention.

Funding of £3.25 million has been raised by the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Project partners, including Scottish Canals and Glasgow City Council, to develop the Pinkston Watersports project.

The Scottish Government will contribute a total of £1.45m through “shovel ready funding” to the Pinkston Watersports development. Scottish Canals have contributed an additional £0.2m to this project and SportScotland have contributed £0.3m.

The £0.45m capital spending allocated to the Pinkston Watersports project will pay for landscaping around the site, decking, CCTV, tarmac, signage, equipment for slaloming and water polo and additional lighting.

The unique facility located in Port Dundas in north Glasgow provides a range of paddle sports options in a previously unused part of the canal – including an enclosed and floodlit paddling area and bespoke artificial rapids run. It will also have a range of associated changing, office and catering facilities bringing activity and jobs as part of wider regeneration works in the area.

Helix project

The Helix project is one of three national BIG Lottery Living Landmarks Projects, transforming 350ha of under-used land between Falkirk and Grangemouth (where the canal joins the River Carron) into an accessible urban green space. It will form important urban parkland for the local community while offering an additional top ten key ‘Visitor Destination’ for Scotland and the Falkirk area, and is expected to collectively service between 330-500,000 national and international visitors per year.

The project provides a new extension to the Forth & Clyde Canal, creating at this location a new ‘Kelpies Hub’, the iconic, 30 metre high Kelpies, by Scottish sculptor, Andy Scott. These sculptures will form the key visitor attraction. In addition to the estimated annual visitors, the ‘Kelpies Hub’ and canal extension will form a new gateway experience to the east of Scotland, attracting up to 700 additional leisure craft users from the UK and Northern Europe into our inland waterways. The project will contribute significantly towards the expanding marine economy in Scotland and exploit international interest in the potential of the area’s tourism potential, inward investment opportunities and creative sector assets.

Published 22 Jan 2014