The Government's water infrastructure agency claims the new canal link between the Leeds-Liverpool and the Albert Dock, officially opened this week, will return at least £7.4m to the Liverpool economy each year.
A cost appraisal published last year by British Waterways claims the canal link will generate revenue – equal to more than £20,000 a day – from 200,000 additional visitors annually, worth £1.9m, 'boating related activities' of £2.2m, and £3.3m through a variety of benefits such as related jobs, increased property prices and the 'improved city image'.
The 173 net additional jobs claimed for the project are not specified although they are understood to include nearby facilities such as the cruise liner facility, new ferry terminal and Mann Island development, all of which are separate.
The £20m canal link was funded by British Waterways with contributions from English Partnerships, Peel Holdings, the European Union, and a £7m North West Development Agency grant.
The 1.4-mile canal extension took three years to build. The main contractor was Balfour Beatty.
Steven Broomhead, NWDA chief executive, said: "It has long been identified that Liverpool's waterfront, as its most recognisable asset, has the potential to significantly boost Liverpool's visitor economy. That is why the Agency, working with partners, has invested in a package of infrastructure improvements to enhance and update the waterfront and ensure the city inherits long lasting economic benefits from its successful Capital of Culture year, including projects such as ACC Liverpool, the Cruise Liner Facility and the New Museum of Liverpool.
"Expected to attract an additional 200,000 visitors a year to Liverpool, the Liverpool Canal Link will complement and add value to these and other schemes underway, which collectively will generate significant economic benefits for the local economy."
No one from British Waterways was available to comment further on the economic justification for the project.
Image supplied by Icarus.