Coronavirus fears postpones councillor trip to Cannes

Councillors due to take the train to Cannes as part of a delegation to a property conference in the French city will be forced to wait until at least June after the event was postponed due to fears over coronavirus.

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 9:54 am
The councillors were due to take the train to Cannes, but the trip will now be postponed (Photo: Getty Images)
The councillors were due to take the train to Cannes, but the trip will now be postponed (Photo: Getty Images)

A row erupted last year when it was revealed five senior councillors at Edinburgh City Council were due to fly to the event, despite the council’s pledge to become carbon neutral and the ongoing climate emergency.

Depute leader of the council, Cllr Cammy Day, along with planning convener, Cllr Neil Gardiner, the authority’s director place, Paul Lawrence and two other officials were due to travel to France for the conference, with a £10,000 budget attached.

The annual event is a major real estate and investment conference and the council has previously used it to “profile the city’s investment opportunities” find “sources and flows of investment” and to “nurture and increase investor relationships”.

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But after criticism from opposition councillors, initial plans to fly with a stopover at Budapest, the council decided to take the train. However, after fears over the spread of coronavirus grew, the event, the MIPIM 2020 international property conference, has been postponed until June.

Chief executive of Reed MIDEM, the company behind the conference, Paul Zilk said the decision had not been taken lightly.

He said: “The wellbeing of our clients and staff is our priority and this is not a decision we have taken lightly.”

Conservative group chairman, councillor Jason Rust said: “Unfortunately the city will miss out on all of the future investment which was going to be brought back. However, the hours spent travelling can hopefully be well utilised in the City Chambers to the benefit of local taxpayers.”

A council spokesman said: “We’ll continue to closely monitor the situation.”