The period since our last FRAW News has not been without its frustrations. Progress on the two major areas of concern, Dowies Mill Weir and the Salvesen Steps has been disappointing and we summarise below what the current position is to the best of our knowledge.
DOWIES MILL WEIR
FRAW, together with the bulk of locally expressed opinion remains staunch in its view that the proposals to demolish the weir are the wrong solution. In a nutshell, we believe, the proposal severely damages a local amenity and environment loved by many. The alternative of retaining and maintaining the existing weir not only delivers the improvements to fish passage while removing all the disadvantages and is significantly cheaper. However this has not been seriously considered by the promoters of the scheme.
It was greatly appreciated that so many people made submissions after the exhibition in February. To say that we were disappointed by the paper subsequently issued by the Council in response to these submissions would be an enormous understatement. We have in turn written a paper (as yet un-acknowledged) strenuously detailing our disapproval of its findings which has been copied to our members and local and national political representatives. A meeting for local representatives, rather than the community in general has been promised by the Council to discuss the matter and has now been set for early October.
The next stage is for a paper prepared by officials to be considered by the appropriate council committee (now changed from Transport & Environment to Culture & Communities). There would seem to have been some difficulty in preparing this document as it was not ready for the expected September meeting. We have also asked for an early copy of this document. When this proposal comes before the committee, now believed to be November, we intend to ask for a deputation to be heard together with our partner local organisations – the Cramond & Barnton Community Council, Cramond Association and Cramond Heritage Trust
SALVESEN STEPS REPLACEMENT
Earlier this year following vegetation clearance and a LiDAR survey by drone, we were upbeat about progress towards costing and final design. A schedule was issued specifying a suggested progress meeting for the end of June. Two months have now passed by and the consulting engineer now calculates that sufficient information will be in place to hold the meeting at the end of September. This is disconcerting. The problem is stated as being that the sheer volume of data produced by the LiDAR survey has taken greater resources and time than originally envisaged. For reasons that we find puzzling, test drillings are not now required as it is believed that sufficient data has been assembled to produce a costing for the project. We therefore hope that by October we will know if the replacement project is financially viable – the crunch point.
The need to complete the replacement of the steps is ever more apparent. The scaffolding was never intended to be anything other than a temporary expedient. Inspection and rental continues to notch up to thousands of pounds. In addition parts regularly require repair and replacement including a large number of new treads to be fitted soon.
As far as larger work parties are concerned we have had a bit of a rest during the summer months – largely due to awaiting materials. However, activities will soon re-commence. Members of your committee have attended to smaller jobs as they were required. We aim initially to complete the new path surface by Dowies Mill, add to the woodchip path in the Community Woodland and plant covering to the fence by the entrance to the Walkway by the boatyard. Our gallant work-party volunteers stand by!