By Bill Heaney

Tree chopper Cllr Jonathan McColl has attracted the fury of an army of women tree lovers in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven.

The bungling SNP council leader, who wanted to clear the flowers out of their beds at Levengrove Park and refused to cut the grass in cemeteries and public open spaces until he was halted in his tracks, is accused of sitting on his hands while builders are taking their chainsaws to trees with impunity.

This has attracted a torrent of criticism from women who appear to have a greater appreciation of this area’s environmental beauty than men like Chopper McColl, pictured right.

Community councillor Linda Speir, who lives at McGregor Drive, overlooking the site of the recently demolished council offices at Garshake, is livid about what happened to the trees there.

The area includes the old council car park and stretches down the hill towards the lodge for Overtoun House.

Linda said: “We’ve lived where we are for over 35 years and have looked out on glorious apple trees, silver birch trees and other lovely trees and shrubs.

“Today we’ve witnessed the start of many of these trees being felled to make way for yet more houses.

“So much for West Dunbartonshire Council’s Green Policy – it clearly exists in name only. This is just sheer vandalism.”

What follows doesn’t look like an endorsement for the Chopper’s political skills, which he hopes will get him enough voted to take him to the Scottish Parliament as an MSP in eight weeks’ time.

Here are what women in Dumbarton, Haldane and Alexandria have had to say about the SNP axeman:

Margaret Reid: “That is the same thing that happened where he block of flats have been built in Bank Street, Alexandria.”
Susan Dailey: “They cleared some beautiful apple trees in Haldane too. When I asked if they could be spared I was assured they were at the end of their natural lifespan. Very odd that trees like that still blossomed every year.”
Linda Speir, pictured left, said: “What’s making me even angrier is that the developer told residents and Planning Committee that some trees would remain. Today these same trees were cut down.”
Joan Colman: “So much for we need trees to help us breathe! “
William McGeechan: “If they are not dead trees they can be fined Linda the same as if you or I chopped them down?”
Linda Speir: “When I spoke to the workmen yesterday they said the trees that they cut down that we understood would remain, were diseased. I’m no expert on trees, so couldn’t argue, but I am cynical.”
Margaret Hamill: “They can only be fined if they have a conservation order on them.”
Doreen Lowe: “That’s awful. Every spare space us build, build, build. They don’t even build affordable housing or many good social housing projects.”
Linda Speir is just one of the residents who thinks the whole idea of yet another housing development at High Overtoun is not a good idea.
She said: “There’s a huge waiting list for allotments. This would have been the perfect site for them.”
Doreen Lowe agreed – “That would have been a perfect site for allotments for all sorts of reasons. Such a waste.”
Janette Mackie agreed: “So sad to hear this Linda. It’s criminal when perfectly healthy trees are cut down like this – to make way for what?!! Certainly not to make the landscape any better.”
Linda Speir said: “We’re now going to have houses 2.5 metres from our back wall. I could weep.”
Margot Rhead commented: “I understand that if the trees have been felled without proper permission, they will have to be replaced. Builders sometimes try to get away with arboreal murder.”
Janice Davis added: “It’s just shocking.  They [the council]  pay lip service to the environment but basically don’t care .Profit always comes first.”
Mary-Therese Lee asked: “One wonders where the powers that be live…’s a real tragedy to fell healthy trees which bring so many positives to the environment we live in.”

One comment

  1. Couldn’t agree more with the local concerns being expressed. The SNP Council’s approach to the environment is driven by money not the protection of the environment. The Esso Bowling site is another classic example where the free market won, as opposed to the environment.

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