A warm welcome awaits in Edinburgh
On the right track
I was delighted to be one of the guests to travel on the train for the official launch of the Borders Railway this week. The event was the culmination of many years of partnership work with colleagues in Midlothian and the Scottish Borders along with Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.
The new rail link will be a welcome addition to the tourism offering of the region, will help grow the economies of areas along the route, while also greatly improving the connectivity for commuters coming in and out of Edinburgh.
With a last train leaving Edinburgh just before midnight, it will be a great opportunity for those outwith the city to enjoy our pubs, restaurants and attractions.
A wheely great event
Being a keen cyclist I was delighted that some of the world's most celebrated sportsmen on two wheels set off from Holyrood Park for the fourth stage of the Tour of Britain on Tuesday.
It was a fitting and spectacular backdrop as the stage took in some of the capital's most famous landmarks such as Holyrood Palace, the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle.
Cycling is on the increase in the city and having the tour here with such icons of the sport as Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish will only encourage more people to get on their bike!
Festivals go out with a bang
It was another record-breaking summer for Edinburgh's festivals. No other city enjoys such a variety of theatre, street performance, music, dance and comedy on the scale we do and this year's offering was bigger and busier than ever. The opening event at the Council's Usher Hall was a spectacular sight and the Virgin Money Fireworks Finale was watched by more than 250,000 people.
At a time when the Fringe is selling twice as many tickets as it did 10 years ago, the Council is increasingly joining up the city's ability to cope with the festivals. This August, we employed late night bus and tram services and additional resources to ensure our streets remained clean and tidy.
We remain the 'world's festival city' and it is fantastic to welcome visitors from all over the world to join in with the celebrations. I'm pleased to see the city's calendar remains packed with world-class events as we move into Autumn.
New Councillors elected
Congratulations to Lewis Ritchie and Marion Donaldson who have become the city's two newest Councillors having been elected last night following the Leith Walk by-election. They will have their first Council meeting on 17 September representing the needs and opinions of the ward's residents.
While it was no doubt a momentous occasion for them both, the by-election was also a historic event for the city. For the first time two councillors were elected at a by-election under Single Transferable Vote (STV), allowing voters to list as many candidates as they want in order of preference.
I now look forward to working closely with Lewis and Marion to deal with matters both city-wide and on a more local level. Leith Walk is a vibrant and diverse ward, with an exciting future, and I am certain they will both serve it well.
City Region deal bid submitted
It's very encouraging that we have now submitted our bid for a £1bn Edinburgh and South East of Scotland City Region deal to the Westminster and Scottish governments.
This is our first major milestone and we worked closely with our partners, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian councils to develop a proposal which will accelerate growth in the region.
Our recent business breakfast was a great success and to date almost 100 businesses have registered their support. I look forward to bringing more detail forward as we aim to have a deal in place for early 2016.
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