Car park plan for garden blasted

by Ian Begley
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Controversy has erupted over plans to turn the Balgaddy Community Garden into a car park as part of an extension to the Bush Resource Centre.
The South Parish Pastoral Council, which owns the Bush Resource Centre, has recently stated its intention to redevelop the centre and adjoining lands in Balgaddy.
This proposal involves the replacement of the existing centre with a new purpose built facility.
The proposals also involve removal of the existing community garden which has been built up over a number of years through voluntary work by local residents.
According to someone who works in the centre and wishes to remain anonymous, the garden will close from April 30 and will hold building machinery while the new centre is being built, followed by development of a car park for the premises.
Speaking to The Gazette, the source said: “I think it’s absolutely disgraceful that the garden is going. I always said from day one it was a great place for the people of the community to come together and meet up.
“The garden is so important for social and mental health reasons. People there plant all sorts of fruit, vegetables and flowers and are all really friendly and easy going.
“I was stunned when I found out at such short notice and was left completely in the dark.”
Cllr Eoin O Broin (SF) has called on the South Parish Pastoral Council to withdraw its proposal to close the Balgaddy Community Garden, saying the proposal is “disappointing and undermined the hard work of the local women who have made the community garden an important resource for Balgaddy”.
“There is sufficient land on the Bush centre site to accommodate a new facility and the existing community garden.
“The priority should be to keep the garden where it is.
“If this is not possible South Dublin County Council must provide an alternative site to ensure that the good work of the community garden is not lost,” he said.
Cllr Francis Timmons told The Gazette: “For over 30 years the Bush centre in Balgaddy has served as a place to celebrate, have fun and a place to meet people. It’s been a huge part of the community.
“The community garden has given a vital outlet for many residents who have given blood, sweat and tears to it.
“A donor has now offered to build a new Bush centre where the Bush centre is.
“I have been informed that as the new centre will be larger scale unfortunately the community garden will have to go from April 30.
“I have had meetings with the church and they assure me that when the new building opens it will be accessible and affordable for residents in the community and I will commit to working with them and the community to make sure this happens,” he said.
Cllr Ruth Nolan (PBP) also commented: “The locals of the centre went to the effort of making the community garden look really lovely and while I don’t know the complete bottom line of this it doesn’t sound too Christian to say the least.
“This is a working class community with high unemployment and I think it’s disgraceful what’s happening.”
The South Parish Pastoral Council had not returned The Gazette’s calls at the time of going to press.

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