A multi-million pound redevelopment, which aims to transform South Queensferry’s waterfront into a “family-friendly leisure destination”, has reached a landmark stage.
Husband and wife team Russell and Cara Aitken took over the running of Port Edgar marina from the city council in 2014.
They have refurbished ancillary buildings, created more parking spaces and secured the future of the marina as a sailing destination by dredging the harbour so it can take larger vessels.
The couple now hope a large restaurant and outdoor clothing shop will attract more visitors to the area.
“The first phase of the project is now complete – the marina is our core business but we want people to know it is also a family-friendly leisure destination open for the public to come and visit,” explains Mr Aitken. “We want to open up the marina to a much wider audience. Visitors can now enjoy views of the three Forth bridges across the Fife coastline that sailing enthusiasts have enjoyed for so many years.”
At the heart of the marina will be a 160-seater restaurant which will take advantage of the north facing views which Russell and Cara hope will become a destination dining spot. A newly refurbished 7,500 sq ft retail space, Bosuns Locker, has also been unveiled, which stocks a wide selection of outdoor clothing and footwear.
Lying between the Forth Road Bridge and the new Queensferry Crossing, the former Royal Navy base has berths for around 300 boats and is home to a yacht club, a rowing club, several cruise boat operators as well as Scotland’s largest water sports centre.
The facilities will be open for taster sessions on Saturday and Sunday during the marina’s open weekend. Currently Port Edgar is the only major, fully-serviced marina in the Edinburgh area and Mr Aitken welcomes the potential for competition, following renewed plans for a marina in Granton.
He said: “If something does go ahead at Granton it would be to our benefit. You want people to have options. On the west coast people are spoilt for choice for places to stop. But on the Forth, those options are very limited.”
Independent councillor for the Almond Ward, Alastair Shields, said: “The Port Edgar Marina project is succeeding because of the vision and passion of those that have worked to sustain it and build its reputation. These people care about what local people are interested in and make great use of a facility than can attract sailing enthusiasts from across Edinburgh and wider afield – particularly in view of a world heritage site.
“South Queensferry’s population is to grow significantly in the coming years on the back of agreed planning measures and it is so important that it remains a town that draws high levels of tourism.”