Monday, 3 November 2008

Meadows Meeting

Earlier this evening there was a public meeting of the Friends of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links.  David Jamieson, the Council Parks Manager gave an excellent account of his efforts to lay the groundwork for improving the city's parks and, in particular the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links.  
Amongst his points  to the 48 people present:
  • One rating puts the Meadows park as the sixth best in Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh already has three Green Flag parks.  There are only five in Scotland
  • Whilst accepting that overuse of the Meadows at certain times of the year is a problem, he asserted (to rumbles of disapproval) that events are good for parks.  I think his comment was sound!
  • In response to a question about the income generated by events, he stated (to more disapproval) that he did not believe income is the driving force for having events in the park
  • He suggested that the park will be an excellent candidate for the Green Flag ward as soon as it gets a management plan up and running.  
Friends of the Meadows & Bruntsfield Links have opposed the Green Flag status - perhaps partly because of their frustration at lack of progress on the overuse issue.  It was interesting that at this meeting, and against the tide, there were a number of positive comments from the floor about the park and about David Jamieson's proposals.  At least the open cynicism was challenged.    
But they will have to wait a little longer.    One of the reasons for the delay in action on the overuse issue is that a member of the administration councillors last year called for a report on the use of parks throughout the city - and that report is not yet ready, but when it comes it will feed into the management plan.  The management plan is probably the best way to manage the overuse issue.  But Friends of the Meadows should not assume their take on the issue is the only consideration.   There are tourists, visitors, sportsmen, events organisers, families and young people who have to be taken into account.  And the Meadows is a city resource for events as well.  
There are issues waiting to be addressed.  But some at the meeting felt that the negative approach hardly does the park - in all its beauty and usefulness - credit.  Memorably highlighting the differing opinions, the parks manager said:  'Some people want events, some people don't want events and the Council is caught in the middle.'  The Council now needs to move swiftly, thoughtfully and purposefully to chart a way through the differing views - not all of which were represented at the meeting.

 


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