A MULTI-MILLION pound plan to breathe new life into the Forth and Clyde Canal has been announced.

Cash for projects that will see sports facilities, new bridges and allow people to live on the water is to be invested in the stretch of the canal closest to the city centre.

Developments at Spiers Wharf, Hamiltonhill and Firhill will benefit from the £4.6m revealed by the Transport Minister today.

Keith Brown said the money will revitalise the canals network and create jobs.

The plans include:

l Regeneration work at Pinkston Basin to enable the development of a paddlesports centre, leading to a 'corridor of sport' on the canal.

l Improvements to pavements and towpaths, in Port Dundas, Hamiltonhill Basin, Spiers Wharf and Sighthill.

l A new footbridge at Spiers Wharf, to link to new regeneration projects in the area.

l Provision of residential moorings, with facilities to permit floating villages at Firhill.

l Upgrade of a former railway bridge and arches for a new pedestrian/cycle link at Bowling Harbour in West Dunbartonshire where the canal meets the River Clyde.

The cash is in addition to £10m grant-aid for canals announced for the current year.

Mr Brown said the canals were an asset that must be used to aid regeneration projects.

He said: "Scotland's canals provide a stunning setting for water- based leisure activity, supporting tourism, educational opportunities and the economy.

"Excellent progress has been made over the past decade in revitalising the network, and we are now keen to deliver a wider public benefit.

"The canals in Scotland have helped to generate a three-fold return on investment for the Scottish Government over the past 10 years."

The cash was welcomed by Glasgow City Council, which will be invovled in delivering the projects.

Liz Cameron, executive member for jobs and the economy, said: "I am delighted by this announcement.

"The past few years have seen new life brought to the canal in Glasgow, with new homes and leisure and cultural uses.

"We will work with our partners to make the most of the canal in the city."

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk