Letters: Gravel may be solution for parks

The Christmas fair has left St Andrew Square very muddy. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The Christmas fair has left St Andrew Square very muddy. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Have your say

I read with interest the article It’s a muddy disgrace, Evening News, January 21.

I am a gardener/groundsman with 17 years’ experience and qualified to SVQ 2 level, however I would assume that most people with a bit of common sense will realise if you put heavy loads on grass such as the Christmas Market and in particular over the winter months you will most likely end up with mushed-up grass.

With the correct tools and equipment the ground is repairable but the job might not be fully completed until the temperatures warm up and are more suitable for laying turf, which would be most likely towards the end of February/start of March.

I don’t blame the market operators or showmen as they will most likely pay large rents for the ground, however Edinburgh City Council really needs to decide what its parks are going to be used for. Is grass the right material for the parks, particularly in light of the high number of events throughout the year? Perhaps they should be looking at gravel, chipping stones or mono-blocks. It is still possible to have a nice landscaped garden with these materials but they would be much harder wearing.

I also point out that Burntisland in Fife is host to a large summer fair held between May and August every year on a large grass area. There is often adverse weather during these months however it does not seem to cause the authorities in Fife too much trouble and the ground is always restored to the original conditions after the event. Perhaps Edinburgh City Council needs to take lessons from the teams at Fife Council?

Mr Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth, Fife

Drivers not responsible for careless cyclists

The gentleman who was a transport campaigner at Friends of the Earth (Bruce Whitehead, Letters, January 21) misses a point when he suggests that car drivers should be liable for collisions with cyclists and pedestrians as they are not driving with due care and attention.

As a professional driver in Edinburgh I observe people on foot crossing busy roads without looking and also people engaged with their mobiles, totally oblivious to anything.

Then there are the Bradley Wiggins lookalikes weaving in and out of the traffic and riding side by side yapping away to each other. Are they cycling with due care and attention?

There was a woman cycling along Queen Street during the Festival with a little girl on the back of the bike. I suggested to her that it would be safer using Heriot Row. She ignored me and continued on her haphazard way.

In case the council don’t know this I have a feeling the motor car is here to stay. Yes there must be legislation to slow traffic down in some areas, we all know which ones and accept that, but to slow the whole city down to make some point which most of us don’t get is downright silly. But our council does do silly with a capital S.

Tom Mckearney, Edinburgh

Magazine knew danger of provocative cartoons

The Charlie Hebdo massacre stemmed directly from the arrogant assumption that freedom of speech justifies endangering innocent lives.

In 2006 the magazine was threatened for planning to publish a Danish cartoon ridiculing the prophet Muhammad. In 2011 its offices were actually firebombed for featuring him as a “guest editor” along with a front page cartoon of him.

In 2012 it rejected appeals from the French president not to print cartoons of the prophet naked; riot police were deployed outside the premises. Even after the recent atrocity, an official of the magazine admitted they received many threats but didn’t take any of them seriously!

Freedom of speech extended to deliberately causing offence is blatant provocation, and while individuals may put themselves in danger – even for the triviality of cartoons – they have no right to risk innocent members of the public. Imagine the carnage if bombs had been used instead of Kalashnikovs.

The gunmen pulled the triggers, but the magazine owners were ultimately responsible: they knew the danger.

Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent

Fund support groups to help drink problem

Problem drinking happens in a lot of instances because people have personal issues. I see this regularly from helping people cope with the unwanted intrusive thoughts of OCD.

The council seriously needs to fund more support groups if they want to cut back on the hangover bill.

Douglas Kemp, Facilitator, East of Scotland OCD support

Churchgoers deserve free Sunday parking

Secular campaigner Neil Barber, wants churchgoers to pay for parking on Sundays (News, January 12).

This seems reasonable in itself. On the other hand, church congregations contribute generously to local and national charities, visit lonely old folk, provide a network of social work and youth support and activities – all of it doing good in our communities.

Most readers have no animus against Scots churches, their beliefs or activities. In the past three years, however, I have noted and listed Mr Barber’s many calls for change, such as seeking the end of religious observance in schools, the ending of God-oaths in the Scouts, the removal of religious representatives from education committees and no funding for hospital chaplaincies. Might it just be that Mr Barber does not like Christianity and that secularism is just a tomb tabard in which to dress up that hostility?

Gus Logan, York Road, North Berwick