Dundee City Council leader John Alexander says the public will be “blown away” by the designs of the new Eden Project coming to the city.
Eden, an education and environment charity, has a “global garden” in tropical biomes across a space the size of 30 football pitches at its site in Cornwall – and in 2017 revealed plans to create Edens across the globe.
Now, after months of research, and a previous visit to Dundee by Eden’s design team – when Covid-19 rules still allowed – Mr Alexander said the new site’s location will be revealed before the end of December.
“Obviously it’s an incredible project to be involved in, and I’ve been part of those conversations since day one,” he said.
“It’s fair to say I’m fairly excited about the proposals and what they could mean for the city – because it’s so much more than just a tourism project.
“It has links to academia, to community groups and so much more.
“We are now entering the final stages of the feasibility study, so that will be the feasibility study team pulling all of their thinking and their analysis – from visiting sites by travelling around the city.
“They cycled around the city looking at various sites – more than a dozen sites were identified to assess – and they’ve got a really complex matrix of things they measure things against, to see what the best sites will be.”
The Strathmartine councillor said there were still issues to be looked at, including land ownership, costs and other considerations.
“So, this is just the first point, the first milestone that we need to get to,” he said.
“I hope to have a document that kind of outlines some of that detail within the month, and then it will be about involving all the local partners who have been helping lead that work so far, and joining it up with conversations with the Scottish Government and others, to see if they want to be involved in that project.
“Plus, looking at the individual sites to see which is going to be best; both for the project but also for the city.
“So it’s really exciting, but I can tell you, without going into great detail, I’ve seen some concept designs, and some of the early analysis of some of the sites, and I think people will be blown away, absolutely blown away by what Eden can potentially bring to the table.”
Mr Alexander said with the UNICEF Climate Change Conference – known as ‘COP 26’ – coming to Glasgow next year, there was a real focus on the “green agenda” in Scotland – adding that “Eden have that in their DNA”.
He said: “So to have an organisation that’s working globally, in projects like Dubai Expo 2021, wanting to come to a city like ours, to bring their expertise, to bring that talent and that offer – we would be foolish to say ‘no’ or to not do as much as we can to make it a reality.
“There were in excess of 12 sites across the city and they were in every corner, so it wasn’t focussed on any particular area. Some sites were small, some were large, some were green space, some were industrial land. They have literally looked at every possible type of location.
“We’ll have more clarity over the next couple of weeks, but it’s another opportunity to put Dundee on the map and prove what we can do and how we do it well, in terms of that partnership arrangement.
“Eden want to be part of the community – they want to work with community groups for example, with schools, the universities. They don’t just want a project that sits in isolation, they want to connect it into things that are going on in the city.
“That might be part of the green agenda, it might be community growing projects or gardens, whatever it may well be. And they’ve already had more than 300 conversations with organisations, with individuals, with community groups.
“They do really mean it, and if you look at their sites in Cornwall and elsewhere, they do practise what they preach, and that’s what I’m really excited about.”