Karen Koren - Gilding the Balloon

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I FEEL I have to respond to the reports in the Evening News over the last few days.

In 1998, I introduced the open-air ice rink to Edinburgh, which was the first in the UK. This became very popular. People who know me know that I risked my own money for many years to produce the best event I could for the city of Edinburgh.

It was not easy over the years to sustain the ice rink. The rentals for the Christmas Market, bungy dome and kiddie rides helped to underwrite the huge cost of building a rink of which Edinburgh could be proud, complete with a viewing platform and all the extras expected from a capital city. I tried very hard to improve it year on year. Then the council changed the goal posts by creating the Winter Festivals Department, taking over the income and operation of the Christmas Market. It renamed it the Highland Market and also requested that I did not have a fun fair beside the rink. I obliged, however this is where it started going wrong. The Winter Festivals Department was later disbanded.

I offered to pay the debts back over a three-year period from ice rink income. The council refused and the contract was terminated, therefore my company, GB Productions Ltd, consequently ceased trading last spring.

I have tried very hard to rise above the criticisms lain at my door, however I do not want to get into a slanging match with the council. For the first eight to nine years of the ice rink, the council was great and I had a very good relationship with it. It was only when the Winter Festivals Department came along that things changed.

I can only reiterate that over 12 years I attempted to bring the best winter event I could to Edinburgh. I have now lost it and I am very sad about that.

However, I will have to live with it and I would like to draw a line under the whole experience.