Princes Street Gardens flood threatens tourism

A dog enjoying the flooding. Picture: Mark Brown
A dog enjoying the flooding. Picture: Mark Brown
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Torrential rain turned parts of East Princes Street Gardens into a “paddling pool” as the June washout continued.

A path running down the middle of the city centre oasis was submerged beneath several inches of water, sparking questions over the effectiveness of the park’s drainage system.

Passers-by shared images of the temporary moat on social media, with one amateur photographer capturing the moment a dog splashed his way along the strip of standing water to cool down.

It was only by late yesterday afternoon that the rainwater began draining away.

Park officials are now considering deploying pumps if further bad weather submerges the site again.

Mark Brown, who took the image, likened the section of park to a paddling pool.

Mr Brown said: “Some guy was out with his dog, and the dog clearly thought, ‘This looks quite good fun’.

“That part of the park has clearly got a bit of a problem with drainage. The ground around about it was quite sodden as well. The park rangers have got their work cut out.”

East Princes Street Gardens has flooded several times in recent years, with fierce summer downpours in June 2012.

Deputy council leader Steve Cardownie, who has spoken out about the condition of the greenspace in the past, said repeated flooding should not get in the way of residents and visitors enjoying the park.

“I want to get to the bottom of the situation and find out why it’s happening,” Councillor Cardownie said. “The parks department may argue that the level of the rain that we’ve experienced in the last few days has led to this, but it’s certainly disconcerting, because this is one of our premier parks in the city centre.

“We’re on the edge of the tourist season, and more people are now visiting the city, and want to go into the Gardens itself.

“If we do get good weather, then there’s no doubt about it that the Gardens has a huge number of people enjoying it, and the last thing they want is to have a sodden patch of ground to sit in.”

Cllr Cardownie added that work to improve the drains beneath the park should be considered if it continues to flood on a regular basis.

“If there was a danger that this was to be a regular occurrence, and could put the gardens out of commission at certain times of the year, then I would think that the council would find the capital expenditure needed to fix this,” he said.

“If it’s ruling out the prospect of people enjoying the Gardens, and it’s down to the fact that there’s a problem with drainage, then it’s certainly something that should be exercising the minds of the council.”

A council spokeswoman said: “This is the lowest part of Princes Street Gardens so is subject to water gathering following torrential rain like yesterday. The water is clearing but we are investigating ways of improving the path’s drainage in future.”