The council's recreation committee resolved "to investigate and develop options for the future care and preservation of the monument" after learning that the cost of a total renovation would be in excess of pounds 2.5m. Emergency work was carried out on the monument last year after checks revealed that large areas of sandstone were in a dangerous condition.
The council, which has held informal talks with Historic Scotland about the future of the monument, has applied for National Lottery Heritage funding of pounds 1.8m, but is reluctant to find the rest of the money itself.
One possibility being considered is that the monument could be sponsored. Steve Cardownie, convenor of the recreation committee, said: "I wouldn't want to see it re-named the Scottish Widows Scott Monument or anything like that. But the name of the sponsor could be on entrance tickets, leaflets and such like. I think if the thing was properly renovated and well run, it could be a real money-spinner."
Whatever the council decides to do, it will have to win over its trustees, the legal owners, who include the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the Lord Justice General, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates and the nearest surviving male descendant of Sir Walter Scott himself.Reuse content