This article is written by Cllr Ashley Graczyk who represents the Sighthill/Gorgie ward. Here she writes about the damage caused to Sighthill Park.
Recently, I have received many complaints, including photos and videos, from residents in Sighthill, Broomhouse and Parkhead area regarding vandals targeting Sighthill Park in Edinburgh.
I went to Sighthill Park to see for myself and was absolutely horrified at what I saw. Edinburgh’s popular Sighthill Park has been subject to a spate of senseless vandalism which has seen the local greenspace, community woodlands and even the children’s play area targeted.
Vandals have been setting fire on park grounds and in the community woodlands area, damaging the trees and wildlife.
Glass bottles have been deliberately smashed up in the community woodlands and I have received many complaints from local dog owners, some even had their pets taken to the vet due to glass cuts in their paws. There was even smashed glass at the children’s play area entrance, where children often play – thankfully, no children have been hurt – yet.
It is just awful to see these acts of vandalism happen in our well-loved and public owned park. This is immensely upsetting and disheartening for the local community who love and use this beautiful green space. It is also disappointing for The City of Edinburgh Council officers who have put so much work into this community asset for the enjoyment of all.
I find it so disheartening to see this senseless activity at one of the best parks in Edinburgh with precious green space, great facilities and enjoyed by many people. I’m determined to do everything I can to ensure the public will have every opportunity to enjoy an inspiring community asset in our lovely public green space.
I have already immediately requested for the council to remove the burnt debris and broken glass ASAP, and have liaised and sought reassurance from the council that the facilities, the park, including the community woodlands, will receive continued care, attention and planned maintenance going forward.
I have also contacted the local police for an update, they are now working to identify the individuals and take appropriate action. I have liaised with the police to increase community police patrols in the area to try to prevent further damage and that they continue with their prevention and intervention work within the vicinity. I encourage anyone who has seen, or heard anything to please contact the police ASAP.
One of the reasons I have a community greenspace initiative called, Sightpark House, is because I am really keen to see these kinds of issues addressed with more positive community action with the aim of making our community a better place for everyone. Some of the projects include, a Friends of Sighthill Park, dedicated to promoting, maintaining and improving the green spaces of Sighthill Park for people to use and enjoy. There is also a Sighthill Woodlands project, a local greenspace resource for promoting and supporting biodiversity in our local woodlands. If anyone is interested in getting involved, please get in touch.
Another project we have is a Keep SBP Clean campaign, to increase more sanitation resources in Sighthill, Broomhouse and Parkhead area so we can improve the local standards to help keep our area clean. The sister campaign, Keep Gorgie Clean, has been running for almost a year and there has been a marked increase of reporting in Gorgie Dalry area. We are keen to encourage everybody to use the appropriate services for waste collection and to manage their rubbish responsibly so the Council can improve their waste service.
We hope to encourage people to report any fly tipping, litter or dog waste that they see in their local area, by taking photos and reporting via Twitter to @edinhelp (one of Edinburgh Council’s official Twitter accounts) with specific location (we find this the quickest and easiest method). Alternatively, please report it by email, phone, or using The City of Edinburgh Council’s online forms via their website. Hopefully, progress can be made now that certain issues have been identified and addressed.
Ashley Graczyk is an independent councillor on The City of Edinburgh Council and is an independent candidate in the Scottish Parliamentary Election for the Lothians.
Published in the Edinburgh Reporter | 20th March 2021