You may have seen the article in Tuesday’s Standard Newspaper (19.11.18) or on our Facebook page about the concerns some people have regarding the possible removal of 10 trees from the park?
Andy, our Chair has penned a response in the form of a letter which will hopefully be printed in full in Friday’s Standard Newspaper, so you can view it here……
We hope that Andy’s letter helps to answer any questions that people have about the trees. Our website has a comprehensive response under FAQ to other questions that people have asked.
STATEMENT REGARDING THE TREES AT
Catherine Street Play Park Project
Include Us is a membership charity constituted to redesign and deliver an inclusive and accessible park and community garden for all members of the community at Catherine Street. The Charity is made up of parents, volunteers, local residents and trustees who are committed to ensuring that this exciting new development provides the opportunity for everyone to be able to benefit from play and recreation with a range of features, facilities and activities.
Catherine Street Park is a small wooded pocket park situated across from the Ewart Library and Dumfries Academy near the town centre. Its location adjoining the The Usual Place social enterprise community café and venue with a changing places toilet makes it an ideal location for an accessible park.
The woodland nature of the park is considered a key and important feature of the park, providing shade, wildlife habitats and sensory and nature stimulation. We are committed to ensuring that this is maintained and enhanced for years to come. To ensure this Include Us has engaged in a series of consultation exercises seeking expert advice about the state of the park landscape, boundary walls and tress. We have engaged with landscape architects, parks designers, play experts as well as arboroculturalists to ensure that we act in the best interests of the park and the community at all times. Dumfries and Galloway Council have supported and facilitated our and the communities ambitions and dreams to realise a more fit-for purpose park that will be a great resource and fun attraction for local residents and visitors alike.
To do this we have sought expert advice to ensure that ‘best practice’ is applied in making Catherine Street Park an attractive and fun place to be for all members of the community. This includes babies and toddlers, pre-school children, children, young people and youth as well as older people. We truly want to ensure that Catherine Street is a green space that provides for everyone across the life-course.
Include Us has been involved in an extensive series of community engagement exercises, information events, play days and workshops to ensure that the ideas, aims, wishes and desires of the community are built in to the redesigned, refurbished and re-equipped park. At all times we have listened to, accommodated and acted on the communities’ wishes.
We have taken on board the need to provide new entrance gates and shallow gradient ramps at Catherine Street and to the Usual Place, a series of pathways, seating, water and sand features, as well as a range of accessible and inclusive play equipment.
Our landscape designer has adopted the views, opinions and expert advice to ensure that the park design and plans keep the woodland nature of the park by ensuring, paths and equipment require no dig installation and that new planting and community garden features enhance and promote wildlife, including ‘bug-hotels’.
However, the expert advice of an independent tree surgeon commissioned by Dumfries and Galloway Council who surveyed the parks trees has recommended that number of them have reached the end of the viable life-cycle and have become dangerous. His recommendation is that a total of ten trees need to be felled on safety grounds and that this will enhance and ensure the remaining trees remain healthy. We believe that the safety and well-being of users of the park and the community has to be the priority and have reluctantly accepted the expert advice we have been given. The Forestry Commission have been kept informed and consulted at all times as has the relevant planning authorities. It is unfortunate that trees have to be felled but replanting native trees and shrubs will compensate for their loss and enhance the mixed woodland aspect of the park.
We believe that the redevelopment of Catherine Street will make it a fantastic facility, community resource and fun attraction for residents, the Dumfries community at large and visitors from outside the region. We have enthusiastic support from a wide range of individuals and groups and we are excited that in 2019 the park will open and we can all enjoy this inclusive and accessible resource for years to come.
Dr Andrzej Zieleniec
Trustee and Chair