Comment: Unthinkable to lose Ross Fountain

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IF you were to list iconic images of Edinburgh, the Ross Fountain would surely feature.

Depicted in countless picture postcards, it is a much-loved if recently-neglected highlight of any trip to Princes Street Gardens.

We know it hasn’t been working for years of course.

What we didn’t realise was just how desperate the maintenance situation had become.

Today we learn of a £1.5 million plan to preserve the fountain for future generations.

How much, you say?

From a council which can’t 
afford to fix the roads or upgrade crumbling schools?

Certainly the sum needed is eye-watering and the decision to commit any dwindling council resources will be controversial.

If the option of doing nothing, however, is potentially to lose a piece of city history then the council will need to find a way to fund the project.

To be fair, city officials are not suggesting simply throwing taxpayers’ cash into the fountain.

The hope is that the overall sum would be found from outside investors and that the initial outlay – perhaps of around £500,000 – will at least in part be funded from revenue from the Festival Wheel.

Committing any cash, however, will certainly raise eyebrows as the city considers closing public toilets, raising fees for services, and begging the Scottish Government for help improving the road 
network.

The council will argue that it is a case of different budgets and ring-fenced money but that won’t stop the inevitable flak.

Let’s hope the ultimate outlay from the Edinburgh taxpayer pot can be minimised and significant outside funding secured to preserve what is a vital piece of Edinburgh history.

It would be great to see the fountain restored to working order again and properly preserved for the future.

It would be unthinkable to lose it.