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SPECTRA leaves gardens mulched, claims councillor

Councillor Bill Cormie
Councillor Bill Cormie

A councillor has raised fears about the state of Union Terrace Gardens claiming ground protection work carried out over winter caused severe damage to the grass.

Bill Cormie fears parts of the Victorian site could be unusuable for months due to the amount of bark laid down during a recent light festival.

The SPECTRA celebration, which took place throughout Aberdeen’s city centre from February 8 to 11, illuminated the Granite City with spectacular light shows created by award-winning artists.

Installations and events took place over the four-day spectacular within Marischal College, at St Nicholas Kirk and Union Terrace Gardens.

Ahead of the displays in the historic gardens, organisers put down wood chips to protect the grass.

However, Rosemount councillor Bill Cormie said the amount of bark used will have caused severe damage to the vegetation beneath.

Yesterday, diggers moved in to scrape the wood chips away – revealing puddles and muddy ground.

He claimed a similar situation took place following SPECTRA 2017.

Mr Cormie said: “It’s exactly the same scenario as we had last year, but worse – I’ve had a lot of complaints from residents and traders about how the gardens are looking.

“Anybody who knows anything about horticulture knows that amount of bark kills grass.

“We’re going to lose this grass centrepiece again for another four months, it will all have to be reseeded and fenced off again.

“This will cause big problems for any events planned in spring.

“The solution to this was protective matting, but unfortunately they’ve taken the same route as they did last year and opted mainly for the bark.

“I feel sorry for our hard-working grounds staff, who are very busy at this time of year making sure green spaces in communities around Aberdeen are ready for spring, but instead they’ve got to deal with all this unnecessary work.”

A spokesman for Aberdeen City Council said: “Following the hugely successful SPECTRA, Aberdeen’s festival of light which saw over 90,000 visits to the event, ground services are working to remove the ground cover that was installed to protect the grass in Union Terrace Gardens.

“As in previous years, the ground will recover through regular scheduled maintenance and the gardens have been reopened to the public.”

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