Column: Revamp brings new life to Kirkcaldy's waterfront
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen quite so many people take a dip in the Forth before.
Every day - and evening - on our walks along the Esplanade we see folk in among the waves.
Lockdown has clearly given many a new-found joy of the landscape.
It underlines how much things have changed over the last 16 months.
We now appreciate what we once took for granted. Long may it continue.
The waterfront is looking better than ever.
The mile markers are great stop-start positions, and there remains no better way of clearing your head after a day working from home where your view consists of little more than a laptop screen.
Every day there is a great mix of walkers, joggers, dog owners and cyclists, with folk sitting on the rocks or walkways and steps leading down to the beach where you’ll see fishermen down at the start of the sea.
Imagine if the sands were available permanently - the place would be thronged with visitors.Alas, turning back the tide is probably just beyond the ability of Kirkcaldy area committee!
And, the more I walk along the Esplanade, the more I can see the main road taking shape and the landscape changing for the good.
The change of emphasis from ‘The Prom’ to ‘the waterfront’ isn’t just a matter of a different title - it’s about changing perceptions and finally making the most of, and embracing, a remarkable natural asset.
I must admit, I really like what I see.
The work has created public space, added more places to sit - we need more of them on the actual seafront too as people use it as a place to meet up - and smartened it up considerably.
Has anyone missed the old dual carriageway? Thought not.
It was drab and functional, and those middle sections were dull and empty - and as much an eyesore as that hideous gap site left by the Mercat after it demolished the old swimming pool.
The boarded up site and the adjacent Esplanade car park really are the ugly sisters of the waterfront - and both have outstayed their welcome.
The more the waterfront layout takes shape - from the Basin to the harbour - the more pressing the need becomes to push for action to remove the blots from what is starting to become a fantastic landscape.
And the town needs defined timescales for delivering, too. There already exist enough reports and action plans to cover them both up from top to bottom.
The whole site looks derelict. The stairwells are grim, the old walkway from the car park to the shops appears abandoned, and the grey boards are in a sorry old state.
Imagine a waterfront without the ugly sisters and, in their place, vibrant contemporary buildings used by people, or, failing that, simply flattened and made into a public plaza.
There are other eyesores - the back of the indoor market is one - which have to be addressed if we are to create a cohesive waterfront that flows from one end to the other.
The work has started. Let’s keep up the momentum.