Patrick Harvie, Blairvadach and Jackie Baillie.

By Paul Cassidy

Jackie Baillie MSP has today welcomed a U-turn by the Scottish Green Party on the closure of the Blairvadach Centre by Glasgow City Council.

Last week the SNP and Greens on Glasgow City Council voted through a budget, which includes plans to close the Blairvadach Outdoor Centre in Shandon, Helensburgh, after 45 years of providing generations of children from Glasgow and the surrounding area with outdoor education opportunities.

The decision has sparked public outrage and an online petition against the closure that has attracted over 12,000 signatures since it was launched by concerned members of the public. Local MSP for the area, Jackie Baillie, branded the decision ‘short-sighted’ and had called on the city council to rethink the closure.

Jackie raised the subject with Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-Convener of the Green Party, during the budget debate in the Scottish Parliament, when he confirmed the U-turn.

Jackie Baillie MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh & Lomond, said: “I welcome the U-turn by the Scottish Green Party on Glasgow City Council and the news that they will back the Labour Group on the Council as they vote to save the centre.

“The Greens had the opportunity last week to back  a Labour budget which would have saved the centre in the first place, but disappointingly chose to back the SNP budget instead, which included the closure of Blairvadach.

“It’s clear a well-run campaign by the local community and the support of the Labour Group on the City Council has brought  pressure to bear on the Green Party. The SNP proposal to close the Centre will now be overturned. Over 12,000 people have signed the petition to save the centre, it’s clear that the public do not support its closure.

“The Blairvadach Outdoor Centre has been part of the community for 45 years, providing generations of children from Glasgow with outdoor education opportunities. It’s closure would be a huge blow to the many children who would benefit from the centre, never mind the local jobs that would have been lost.

“I was pleased that Patrick Harvie signalled the Greens U-turn to me in the Parliament. It is now for Glasgow City Council to end the uncertainty and take the Blairvadach closure proposal off the table.”

It was yet another sleekit move by the SNP. How could they make a significant cut in their services in Glasgow without having to take the flak for it.

Blairvadach was a sitting duck. Closing it would hardly be noticed, they reckoned, since it wasn’t actually in Glasgow but on Garelochside.

And neither would the effect of the job losses involved or appear in the register since most of the staff there live in Helensburgh and West Dunbartonshire. 

The saved cash from this could be stashed away in the SNP’s election war chest for 2021 when their chances of retaining power in these two councils was beginning to look ever more doubtful.

Thankfully the public showed themselves not to be mugs and 12,000 of them signed a petition.

It was,  unlike the one signed by 1,200 of his patients to keep the Dumbarton GP David Neilson in his practice, scandalously buried away and not even looked at by the Health and Care Partnership of West Dunbartonshire Council and the Greater Glasgow Health Board.

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