THE first images were today unveiled showing how the Ratho area will be transformed into a thriving "canal village".
SPECTACULAR: An artist's impression of how the marina at the Mooring development will appear when completed
City leaders are working with British Waterways Scotland and private developers to transform Edinburgh's 16 kilometres of canal.
Housebuilder Cala has revealed how it will create a new marina for boats to stop off during canal trips between Falkirk High and Edinburgh Quay as part of its 50 million development.
It will feature up to 30 public berths and changing facilities for boaters.
Trees, flowers and seating are also to be added around the Union Canal at Cala's Mooring housing development on Baird Road, to try to make it a focal point of the village.
The scheme will also include about 118 homes around the canal, as well as a care home.
Sarah Stanger, sales and marketing director for Cala Homes (East), said: "This development will provide a range of high-quality homes, complemented by a spectacular canal basin. We are confident this project will be an asset to Ratho and the surrounding areas."
Under a new canal strategy drawn up by city council officials and revealed by the Evening News last month, Ratho will be branded a "canal village", with new efforts to link up with facilities like the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena.
Wester Hailes will be branded a "community canal", while the "canal quarter" between Harrison Park and Edinburgh Quay will be promoted as a major new centre for canoeing, kayaking and other paddle sports.
Richard Millar, waterway development manager at British Waterways Scotland, said: "We are delighted to seeconstruction of Cala'sMooringdevelopment at Ratho begin,particularly as, this month, we have celebrated the tenth anniversary of the reopening of the Union Canal with a 60-strong flotilla event.
"Since the Millennium Link project made possible the reopening of the 32-mile long waterway, we have seen the Union Canal become a vibrantdestination not just for boaters and anglers but for those visiting to walk, cycle, run or simply enjoy the wildlife or heritage.
"With the development of moorings and marinas, the Union Canal will becomemore established as anattractive destination forboaters but also for those looking for somewhere to live which is tranquil, pretty and, in the case of Ratho, semi rural yet deceptively close to thecentre of Edinburgh."
Talks are continuing between Cala and British Waterways Scotland about whether any of the berths can be assigned to houses next to them.
The homes are expected to be completed by March 2011. At a launch of the development last weekend, more than 2 million in sales of four-bedroom detached homes were achieved. The development features a range of detached, terraced and townhouse properties.