Anger has erupted at the Balbardie Park of Peace after a memorial tree was cut down.
ANGER has erupted at Balbardie Park of Peace after a memorial tree was cut down.
The “Peace Tree”, which was located at the entrance of the Bathgate park, was hacked down by West Lothian Council workers last week after it was damaged in the winter.
A council spokesman told the Courier the Blue Atlas Cedar, also known as the Seed of Lebanon, could not be saved as it had been too badly damaged by the heavy snowfall.
But two former district councillors think more should have been done to save the tree, which was the only one of its type in the county.
Allister Mackie was the Labour leader of West Lothian Council and James Clarke was the SNP chairman of the countryside parks committee in 1985 when the memorial tree was planted to commemorate the opening of Balbardie Park of Peace by Joan Ruddock, who was then national chairperson of CND.
And they say they will be watching to make sure the council stick to their promise of planting an identical tree in its place.
Allister said: “The decision to name the park was done jointly by both Labour and Scottish Nationalist Parties within the former District Council at the time as our modest contribution to the campaign to rid nuclear weaponry from the world and at the same time, hopefully, to generate an aura of peace within the community.
“The tree specially chosen to symbolise our gesture was the Seed of the Lebanon, internationally recognised as a symbol of peace.
“It was a very popular part of the park and very much contributed to the ambience of the place. It’s very disappointing that it couldn’t be saved.
“It’s the second best option to replace it with another of these unique trees but we are sceptical that they will do that as they have already planted three silver birches in the area where it was.
“Why would they do that if they were planning on digging them up again to put in a replacement Seed of Lebanon?”
James added: “The tree was quite a feature here and a symbol of the park.
“It had to be bought in from Norway and Joan Ruddock travelled all the way up from London to plant it.
“The council have no other option but to replace it and I will be watching to make sure they do.”
A spokesman from West Lothian Council said peace would be restored to the park with a replacement tree due to be planted in the spring.
He said: “The ‘Peace Tree’ ( Blue Atlas Cedar), in Balbardie Park of Peace, was badly damaged by the weight of snow to the extent that sadly it could not be saved.
“An identical replacement specimen will be planted later in the spring.”