THE boating pond at Musselburgh’s Levenhall Links looks set for an upgrade.

East Lothian Council and the Musselburgh Area Partnership are set to commission a £10,000 strategic study to examine development of the attraction.

But the Friends of Levenhall Links are urging that any development be carefully managed as they hope to secure Local Nature Reserve status for the Levenhall lagoons where it is is situated.

Stuart Baxter, area partnership manager, said the pond liner was generally regarded as being at the end of its design life and was currently too shallow. There were, he added, health and safety issues associated with weed growth.

The study will look at the existing facility and provide recommendations for its future design and improvements, taking into account consultations with both users and stakeholders.

There will be a particular focus on offering a safe and secure environment for users to enjoy their sport and leisure activities whilst offering the wider community and visitors “an interesting, exciting and educational space to explore.”

There will also be an emphasis on the site’s abundance of nature, in particular bird life as it is already famed as one of Scotland’s premier bird watching locations. Up to 200 wigeons graze on the grassy banks during the winter.

An action plan will be drawn up with proposals, costs, possible sources of funding and projected economic benefits.

Mr Baxter said: “This will be an important study examining the existing boating pond and could lead to improvements that will make this facility more inclusive and appealing to both locals and visitors alike, helping ensure the future sustainability of this great local asset.”

Irene Tait, chairwoman of Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council, welcomed the study, saying: “It is a lovely area which is worth preserving.”

Beyond Boundaries East Lothian, which provides outdoor activities for people with disabilities and mental health issues, is one of the organisations which uses the pond. Other groups include: local schools through East Lothian Council’s Outdoor Learning Service; the outdoor activity group Venturing Out; Loretto School; East Lothian Canoe Club; North Berwick and Edinburgh Kayak Clubs; and the Levenhall Radio Yacht Club.

Councillor John Williamson said: “I have used it for stand up paddle boarding as a volunteer with Beyond Boundaries East Lothian and as a helper with the Additional Support Needs Unit at Ross High with canoeing. A revamp of the pond would make it a far greater asset for Musselburgh and East Lothian. “

While Councillor Katie Mackie added: “I would welcome a study to look at how we make appropriate use of this local asset to ensure that it can continue to be enjoyed by local residents and those who travel from further afield to use this great facility.”