It is hoped the urban beach at Dundee Waterfront could be open as early as the end of July.
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said the manmade urban beach at the city’s waterfront is almost ready.
Instead of waiting for all sections of the Waterfront Gardens to be completed, the public should get the use of the beach area as soon as it is ready, Mr Alexander said.
Adjacent to Slessor Gardens, the development, part of the £1 billion transformation project, will include a life-size whale sculpture, cycle path and landscaped area, alongside the sandy urban beach.
Strathmartine SNP councillor John Alexander said: “It’s great, and the positive thing is it’s another piece of public space, so it’s not just a building – it’s actually something that people can use and enjoy.
‘A buzz about the area’
“I was down last weekend at Slessor Gardens with my kids and it was pretty busy.
“There was a lot of buzz about the area, people on skateboards and skates, folk getting ice cream, there were people with their picnics sitting on the grass.
“It was great to see that kind of space being used in that way, and obviously, Waterfront Place is an extension of that, so it’s really exciting.
“I think it will be well used.”
Construction on the beach began in 2019 but there were unexpected delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, sand and benches are now on-site, with the finishing touches expected to be completed over the next three to four weeks.
“Obviously there are various elements to it, so you’ve got the cycling hub, there’s the landscaping area, you’ve got the urban beach, and then you’ve got where, ultimately, the new whale structure will be,” said Mr Alexander.
“I think things have been delayed as a result of Covid, but what we’re looking to do is potentially phase that open and to make sure things that are ready to go right now, we don’t wait for.
‘Why wait to open the beach?’
“For example, the urban beach – why would we wait until September if that’s when the rest of it’s going to be ready, in order to allow public access?
“I think what we’re hoping to do is open that up a bit earlier.
“If people can get access to the urban beach element, then we’ll do that as soon as we can.
“Then, other bits are perhaps going to take a little bit longer, so we might open them at a later date.
“It might be a phased opening to Waterfront Place, but I think the important thing for the council is, we want people to use it as soon as they can and enjoy the summer.
“Let’s not wait a couple of months – if the beach is ready now, let’s go in July, get it open to the public, and make sure they can enjoy it.
“As I say, there are various elements that will be ready at various times, so I’m expecting by the end of July, the urban beach element will be open to the public.
“The landscaping element will probably be a month or two behind that, and obviously the cycling hub, that’s a decision for the new organisation that’s taken that over, and then, if memory serves me correctly, it will probably be around October for the whale sculpture to be put in place.”
The only building on the site will promote cycling and other forms of sustainable and low carbon travel and give immediate access to the National Cycle Network, running along the bank of the Tay to Fife.
Bike hire, maintenance and cycle parking will all be available at the cycle hub, which will be run by Arbroath-based organisation Angus Cycle Hub.
Planners hope the whale sculpture could become a tourist attraction for the city, similar to the Kelpies statues in Falkirk.
The council leader added: “We might have a few phases to the opening, but as soon as things are ready, I’m very keen for the public to get access to [the urban beach], rather than wait for it all to be ready in one go.
“Actually, we might have missed a trick by not letting people enjoy summer on their urban beach.”