Crumbling city marina looks sunk

A RUNDOWN marina's future has been put in doubt after it emerged that it will be shut down unless a company can be found to take it over.

Edinburgh Leisure, the trust that runs the Capital's sports facilities on behalf of the city council, has announced that it will withdraw from Port Edgar Marina in 2013/14 because of rising operation costs.

It is estimated that 2.5 million would have to be spent on maintenance just to keep the facility open for more than three years.

The decision also comes as a result of the Scottish Government telling bosses at Edinburgh Leisure that it will have to buy or lease some areas within the site to help with construction work for the creation of a new Forth crossing.

The marina had been in line for a 14m revamp but the plans were dropped because the economic downturn had made it impossible to find a developer.

&#149 Should the council do more to Save Port Edgar Marina from closure? Vote here

Edinburgh Leisure is to now work with the council to try to find a new operator to rescue the facility - but if it fails to find one then the marina will close in three years.

John Comiskey, chief executive of Edinburgh Leisure, said: "Edinburgh Leisure has managed Port Edgar Marina and Sailing School on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council since 1998. During this time, the venue has played a vital role within Edinburgh Leisure's portfolio.

"In recent years, the city council and Edinburgh Leisure have implemented a number of interim investments on the site to ensure its safety, functionality and popularity.

"The age and condition of the site, however, mean that to continue functioning beyond the next three years will require a significant level of investment. This investment is of a scale that neither the City of Edinburgh Council nor Edinburgh Leisure can commit to. Edinburgh Leisure therefore supports the City of Edinburgh Council in seeking to secure a long-term financially viable solution for Port Edgar Marina. I have signalled our intent to withdraw from the management of Port Edgar Marina by the end of 2013/14."

The firm has insisted it will "actively" seek alternative operators over the next three year.

It has also given a commitment to continue to operate a sailing school after it withdraws from management of the marina, either at Port Edgar Marina if a buyer is secured or elsewhere in Edinburgh.

Councillor Deidre Brock, the city's culture and leisure leader, said: "Although its investment plan for the Port Edgar site has unfortunately not proved to be the feasible solution we hoped for, Edinburgh Leisure remains committed to running and maintaining the marina until 2013/14.

"We have begun the process of finding an alternative way forward for the site and a report will be submitted to the culture and leisure committee later this year."