THE vacant Caltongate site in the city centre provides a unique opportunity for the creation of an adventure playground. Children living in the densely populated inner city of Edinburgh do not have the range of amenities that is their right in contemporary society.
This is enshrined in the United Nations' 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child: "The child shall have the full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purpose as education, society and the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right."
Caltongate provides space that could accommodate graffiti walls, climbing frames, skateboarding, mountain biking, roller skating, sand pits and numerous other playground furniture, and walk-in structures that arouse the curiosity of younger children.
A site of this size could also enable a "child's allotment" to be created. This would be a sensible and rewarding way of introducing children to growing their own fruit and vegetables – and result in healthier eating habits.
The benefits of using this undeveloped land would reduce the mindless vandalism that is so much in evidence throughout the inner city, often arising out of boredom and lack of amenities.
Adventure playgrounds are well established in many cities throughout the world, and the inner city of Edinburgh now has the opportunity of using the Caltongate site for this sorely needed amenity for its younger citizens.
Myer Lacome, Campbell's Close, Edinburgh
Waste incineration is not way ahead
THE argument for a huge incinerator (Evening News, 4 May) – whether it is at Millerhill or not – seems to be based on: "Something needs to be done. This is something. Let's do it."
Something does indeed need to be done. Quite apart from the fact that landfill sites will soon fill up, EU directives will force Edinburgh to slash the waste going to holes in the ground.
But replacing it with incineration is like land-filling the air instead. Incineration of waste is no way forward. Aside from the massive increase in transport to whichever site is chosen, there is also the problem of the nasty stuff that is left behind.
There is something more fundamental, too. As soon as incineration sites are built, the council is then committed to feeding the monster that it has spawned, usually for years into the future. So you can say goodbye to any incentives to reduce waste.
The real answer lies "upstream", of course. Only by reducing the amount of waste in the first place can we steer a way towards a less wasteful city. After all, who gets much pleasure out of packaging in the first place?
Cllr Steve Burgess, Green spokesman on the Environment, City Chambers
Grounded by rude airport treatment
LAST week I flew from Edinburgh to Luton. I am no longer in the first flush of youth and after three hip operations, have reluctantly been forced to use a walking stick.
This dangerous "weapon" was viewed with suspicion by an airport officer and placed gingerly on a tray.
"Remove your jacket," barked a voice ("please" would have been nice) followed by "pass the security door".
Suddenly alarm bells pealed loud and clear – instantly I was faced with a stern, determined female officer, who proceeded to frisk me from top to toe in an over-familiar and intrusive manner. I felt humiliated and violated.
This horrible experience happened again on the return journey – a little politeness would go a long way. Bad, bad marks to the airport authorities for treating us like terrorists, plus herding us like cattle.
Yes, I can understand the reason, but the dreadful treatment was over the top. I will never fly again – what was once a pleasure is now a nightmare.
Mrs Sylvia M De Luca, Baberton Park, Juniper Green, Edinburgh
Cardownie is no trams champion
I WOULD like to clarify an issue with regard to Councillor Steve Cardownie, the depute leader of Edinburgh City Council.
Councillor Cardownie's position has been misconstrued with him being referred to as the 'tram champion'. This is not and never has been the case.
Your readers should note it is well known that Councillor Cardownie is not a supporter of the Edinburgh tram project.
Tom Aitchison, chief executive, Edinburgh City Council
Hitting wrong note on Scottish music
I WAS amused to read Euan McGrory's "Face the music over radio quota" (News, 5 May) in which he says a code by which radio stations would play a certain amount of Scottish artists would mean "an endless stream of Runrig, Texas, Deacon Blue, Travis and Wet Wet Wet".
I suppose there's no place on the McGrory iPod for Glasvegas, The Fratellis, Biffy Clyro, The View, Amy Macdonald, KT Tunstall, Calvin Harris or Paolo Nutini.
And that's just musical acts that are currently active. Scotland's rich musical contribution has included in the past few decades everything from the Average White Band to the Jesus and Mary Chain, from the Sensational Alex Harvey Band to Nazareth, from Fish to Edwyn Collins.
Oh, and don't forget those speccy twins from Leith!
Ken Welsh, Easter Road, Edinburgh