NOTEBOOK: Could sheep be used to graze our public parks and open spaces?


I was delighted to be of assistance when I suggested that a new health centre should be built as part of the £20 million plus “levelling up” project to breathe new life into Dumbarton Town Centre.
It’s a shame that the idea took more than two years to drop into the heads of some of our most prominent local politicians, but better late than never.
One of the councillors, Labour’s David McBride, tried to hi-jack the idea and claim it as his own.
And the spin doctors set to work on trying to convince the public, the gullible public, that this was in fact the case.
Would that it were. Something had to happen. Given the money we throw at it, Church Street has been so lacking in ideas and innovation that might be useful and credible even that anything at all would be most welcome in Dumbarton, just as it would be in Mitchell Way, the Vale’s very own notorious “town centre”.
Big question now is: Will it ever happen and when will it happen?


                        Sheep grazing in the park  near the Houses of Parliament in London.

Rare breed sheep were spotted recently grazing in central London as part of a conservation trial taking place at Green Park. The trial was part of The Royal Parks mission to keep the gardening costs down and nod judiciously towards climate change. This has been described as “an invertebrate project which has received £600,000 from the People’s Postcode Lottery to support the capital’s grassland creatures. “That £600,000 is more than Councillor Michelle McGinty, depute leader of the Labour administration in Church Street, told us proudly has been allocated for the Mitchell Way face-lift.Perhaps Michelle and her colleagues should admit now that £600,000 wouldn’t start to look at the cost of the Vale project, but that it might take a bite out of the cost of ending their biggest PR disaster of the moment which is their failure to cut the grass in public parks and open spaces around West Dunbartonshire. We know this started out as a major blunder by their SNP predecessors’ leader Cllr Jonathan McColl, but was it really necessary for Labour to embrace it and continue with it until now and into the future?It didn’t have to be implemented, just as the decision to charge families in deprived areas for school transport to places such as out of town Bellsmyre was finally abandoned.However, it seems that those privileged public servants and elected members can’t come up with an idea which would allow them to abandon their no grass cutting policy.The rare breeds project might be one idea. Unlike modern commercial breeds of sheep which rely on supplementary feeding by farmers, the rare breed sheep thrive on a variety of different plants, eating the tougher grass and trampling in the seeds from the wildflowers in the meadow.
“By increasing the biodiversity of the park grasslands, we hope to encourage the invertebrates that inhabit meadow grasslands to flourish, and it will help plan how we manage the parks in the future,” Dr Alice Laughton, the project leader said this week.
I hope Cllr McBride and his colleagues in Church Street were listening. Or maybe an even better solution would be to put the councillors themselves out to grass? Some of them behave like sheep anyway.


This story has been running for longer than Gone with the Wind. I think it was Bono who once said Just do it. This is a note that has been repeated ad nauseam. It’s Kevin Docherty in Bowling’s turn to bring attention to the matter, courtesy of West Dunbartonshire Council, to say:Grass at Bowling children’s play park is needing cut; had my grandson there on Sunday and the grass is up to his knees, this is going to lead to kids contracting Lyme disease from an increase in ticks. It’s the same at Dumbarton East and probably the rest of the play parks throughout West Dunbartonshire. It’s time these grass areas were cut.” Good to see, not, West Dunbartonshire Council persisting in producing its own bad publicity, despite suggestions to the contrary that they should scrap their Facebook complaints column. Oh, by the way, the ‘town clock’ on Riverside Parish Church has stopped. Look out next for tumbleweed blowing up the High Street. The pictures above were taken by outraged citizens at the steps into Nobleston, Bonhill; the playground at Bowling; Church Street roundabout in Dumbarton and the new flats at the walkway from Dumbarton Quay to the Castle. Ain’t we lucky to be getting such good service for our council tax?

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