view of Edinburgh Castle from West Princes Street Gardens
Currently East Princes Street is covered in scaffolding as preparations are made for an expanded Christmas Market. The town is in uproar as photos are going viral showing what looks like very unsafe scaffolding and people are genuinely concerened about the safety of the market as well as the detrimental effects it will have on the nature and amenity value of the gardens.
Meanwhile the Quaich Project, who will be responsible for replacing the Ross Bandstand in West Princes Steet Gardens are holding a consultation on the future of that part of the park. Now Edinburgh residents know that this city loves consulting its residents but seems not to enjoy listening to what they say in these consultations. So it may seem pointless. On the other hand, if you don't say anything then you have no reason to complain at future actions.
I went along to the consultation at the Central Library today, as did a fair number of other people. I think the various recent controversies over how Princes Street Gardens have been treated have galvinised people and will ensure that the consultation is well attended.
The Quaich Project claim to be committed to a sustainable greenspace that can be used for small scale events and made more accessible for the general public including those with disabilities. Their design for the replacement for the Ross Bandstand is appealing and their ideas seem mostly agreeable. Quaich Project staff are present at the library to chat to people (though not enough staff to chat to everyone).
The main issue is that the number and type of events to be held in the park (which is what has caused recent controversies, as large events have recently caused the gardens to be shut to the general public for the duration of the events. I've blogged on this issue several times including here and here). The City of Edinburgh Council will be the body who decides how many events happen in the gardens and what scale they are, so the Quaich Project can say they support small scale community events all they like but what is there to stop the council running roughshod over that and shutting the gardens to the public for constant loud concerts? Few people at the moment trust Edinburgh council.
You can read the thoughts of the Broughton Spurtle on the consultation here.
You can access the Quaich Project consultation online here.
The consultation will tour public libraries across Edinburgh during November and December, you can find the dates and times here.
Meanwhile I'm happy that one of my haiku was shortlisted in the John Muir Trust haiku contest. You can read all the haiku here.