Is it time for a “real” public debate on Glasgow parks

Is it time for a “real” public debate on Glasgow parks. Not a debate on the question. Are our parks being privatised? But one on the fact: Our parks are being privatised. What do we do about it!

We can wait, till the retail outlets move in, to rip us off with the generic cappuccino take. Maybe we will wait until the licence for drink venues, is given out (Queens park) to all of Glasgows parks. But by the time the tar-mac is being laid for the new car park, it will be to late. The park, as we know it, will be gone, because:

Our parks are the latest “cash cow” being sold to investors by the Glasgow City Council

Can we allow one generation thinking, to destroy what for some weans is the nearest that they get to the countryside. There is all the wee birds, the squirrels, the ducks and all that green grass – a bit of water in the pond, the river running past, the snow, the trees, the dark nights, or when it’s raining, when you get the place to your self. Then, when the sun shines you can share the ambiance with your partner, your mates, the kids – or to just sit around with strangers and smille at each other. I mean go down by the fountain when the water is on. All you will see is happy kids, daft students, the occasional parent having a great time. How. Getting wet. Just getting wet. Look at who is sitting around watching. People with smiles on their faces. A drop of water in a fountain brings so much pleasure to so many people. Wee groups of people are sitting around avoiding Frisbees and the occasional ball, chatting dancing and standing on their heads. Couples wrestle, smooch, tickle, chase each other and put grass down each others back. Wee babies are falling on their faces as they practice walking on their bare feet, wi their wee floppy sun hats. Parents slap gallons of factor 50 on wee arms, as they struggle to chase and get back into play again with their pals. While mothers can relax and talk and keep their eye out for the kids without the worry of traffic. All this unorganised, chaotic, leisure, is the park. By definition this is the park. You could put the above description in a dictionary and people would say. Yeah that’s right, sounds like the park to me.

The question I would like to ask is. What part of the description does Glasgow City Council, not understand. Where do they get all this stuff about “… a multi-million pound plan to breathe new life into its parks and open spaces.” This is Glasgow parks, we are talking about here. I like this one – “This isn’t a service which is sick, but we can work with others to make the service better before there is any dip in use.” – Who makes this stuff up. The council, who are allowing the privatisation to go ahead, (the parks now have a commercial manager) are telling us – there’s nothing wrong with the parks, but we need to start filling them with business interests, in case they do get sick later. (That of course, is not the words that they use, but that’s what’s they mean)

The rhetoric is incredible. Our parks seem to have overflowing litter bins and some graffiti – Therefore we need to allow private gardening centres to move in to solve the problem.

From an Evening Times article:

“A massive consultation exercise was carried out to find out what people want from their parks and what they dislike.”
(Does anyone remember this.)

” The strategy includes investigating turning Bellahouston Park into a major venue for hosting high profile events.” ???

” Other plans include bringing in private nurseries to sell plants, and leasing areas such as bowling greens, putting, boating ponds and bandstands to private companies.”

Funny how the City Council, consider all of our problems, then decide on a way that they can make money from them. Social housing, car parking, schools, green space, public squares. Now the last bastion of the public estate, is being removed from under our noses. We really need to think about this. Our children and their children, are being robbed of a treasure that is about the only thing that spans, our history with theirs. Something unique, that young and old can relate to and share and understand in equal terms. It’s the park, we can’t lose what it is. What is left!

And as Alisdair MacIntosh reminds us. The park is the country, for the less well off in the city, for the ones who can’t go to the countryside
in their 4 wheel drives. And what happens, when we have to stop driving in cars into the country. Will that be the time we start wishing we cared more about what we had, (our posessions) instead of allowing ourselves to be directed and conned, on such matters by the astro turf mentality of the presidium sitting in George Square

Leave our bloody parks alone, they are about the only public thing left in this city, that makes any sense.

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