Pride in the Clyde a Games highlight | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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Pride in the Clyde a Games highlight

Along with 49,999 other souls, I had a ticket for the Rugby 7s at Ibrox last Sunday - I distinctly remember saying a year ago that there wasn't a snowball's chance that 50,000 tickets would be sold for rugby at Ibrox, so you can treat everything else I say with appropriate respect. 

After a genuine feast of sport, some brilliant support for the underdogs throughout the tournament  and a stunning South African performance, my brother and I decided walking home to the West End was the best transport option for the evening.  So we headed off for the Squinty Bridge as the route across the river, and I had one of the most heartening moments of my Games at about 11pm strolling along the riverbank at Pacific Quay. 

The Finnieston Crane, the SSE Hydro, the Armadillo and the Clyde Arc itself were all beautifully lit up in varying shades of green, gold and blue. The river was flat calm.  If ever there was a sign that Glasgow has made great leaps in bringing the Clyde back into the forefront of the new Glasgow, it was the line of visitors with their phones and cameras taking pictures of this marvellous scene.

We have, with the arrival of the Hydro and the completion of the Premier Inn on the other side, a river district of which we can be proud.  It has been a steady backdrop to the BBC's excellent coverage of the Games. 

With the Science Centre in rude health, now sporting a huge HD TV screen and the Tower reopened, with the BBC showing how Pacific Quay can be creatively exploited for public events and with a start having been made on another new hotel just behind the BBC Scotland headquarters, both sides of the river have reached a critical mass of attraction.

The development of the former Govan Graving Docks site and the next phases of Glasgow Harbour would help stretch that mass further along the river and I am sure will happen in due course.

Bringing more life to the river itself remains one final task.  The arrival of theCommonwealth Flotilla showed what Princes Dock could look like, and the Council has welcomed ideas for bringing a marina into the dock.

It may be challenging to secure a traditional marina given the length of time it takes to sail down the river, but I do wonder if there's scope for public purchase of sailing craft, old and new, which could be used as floating exhibition space complementing either the Science Centre or the Tall Ship at the Riverside Museum.  Can we get our hands at some stage on one of the older destroyers built on the Clyde when they reach the point of decommissioning for example?

One victim of the Games was the regular ferry service provided by Clyde Marine Limited which was making every effort to establish a commercial service linking various assets along the river from the City Centre to Braehead.  Police Scotland would not allow Bell's Bridge to be opened during the Games for security reasons, and I'm afraid that dealt a body blow to Clyde Marine's aspirations for the service at a time when business could have been brisk.

Are we able to find a way to help Clyde Marine re-establish the service and offer a greater degree of support as they try to build that Upper Clyde business? 

No matter how we tackle the issue - and there will be lots of new ideas especially since the Clyde Waterfront will be another beneficiary of City Deal funding  - I feel we should reflect on the success of what has so far been achieved. 

Visitors are clearly impressed with what we have done. We should be too.

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