I don’t want to speak too soon, but it looks as though spring has finally sprung in the Capital and I’m thrilled to see so many people taking advantage of the good weather to enjoy the city’s wonderful outdoor spaces.
We are very lucky in Edinburgh to have 136 public parks that are enjoyed by residents and visitors all year round. They are home to a wealth of wildlife, historical monuments and some truly breathtaking views.
Our parks are not just part of Edinburgh’s enviable scenery, they are also the setting for numerous world-class events, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and injecting a much-needed boost to the local economy.
After each of these events a considerable amount of work is needed to restore the gardens as soon as possible so that people can continue to enjoy these wonderful spots.
As Princes Street Gardens is one of the most iconic of the city’s green spaces I can understand people’s frustration that is taking some time to restore it to its usual condition after this year’s Winter Festival. As this is such a focal point for locals and visitors it’s vital that we do the best job possible in returning it to its former glory and this can take time. It means we have to wait until the ground is levelled and – very importantly – properly dried out.
Thankfully, turf-laying has now begun and should be finished next week. However, the council still has work to do to shorten the reinstatement timeline for the coming years and any actions that can make reinstatement quicker in future will be carried out.
This also highlights the importance of striking a balance between a quality, sustainable events programme and meeting the needs of residents and groups who make regular use of our parks and green spaces. The Edinburgh Parks Events Manifesto aims to do this by safeguarding the future of events in our parks as well as protecting the quality of these fantastic spaces.
Since 2010 the manifesto has provided guidelines for holding events in some of our most popular parks including Princes Street Gardens, the Meadows and Leith Links. This is helping ensure we continue to attract world-class events while maintaining the land they use at the highest standard possible.
Edinburgh’s excellent parks staff work hard to achieve this and it is also important to remember the excellent work of the many Friends of Parks groups throughout the city, whose dedication helps to maintain the high quality people have come to expect from our green spaces.
I’m continually impressed by the community’s enthusiasm towards keeping our parks and green spaces looking their best, through initiatives such as Clean Up Edinburgh litter picks. The popularity of our new parks app and website (Edinburgh Outdoors) also shows how much local people value our outdoor spaces.
There are some fantastic events planned in the coming months, from organised walks to family fun days, so I would urge people to have a look at what is on in their local park. With more than 100 to choose from it’s also a great time to discover one that perhaps you have never visited before. Our parks are a wonderful asset and the pride of our city so let’s make the most of them this spring.
Councillor Adam McVey is vice-convener for transport and environment at the city council