Guest poster Michele Walde, who works for GreenSpace training judges of the Green Flag Award, tells us about her recent visit to Australia and New Zealand…
37,000ft up in a metal can
“Following an invitation from Parks Forum to visit Australia
and New Zealand to introduce the concept of Green Flag ‘down under’ I found
myself 37,000ft in the air courtesy of Singapore Airlines heading for the other
side of the world. (Feeling a wee bit queasy if I am being honest)
It was with some trepidation that I found myself in a
training room in Albert Park, Melbourne surrounded by some very enquiring faces
representing Parks Victoria, the City of Melbourne, Hobart City Council and the
Australian Institute for Landscape Architects.
- A welcoming place
- Healthy Safe & Secure
- Well maintained & clean
- Conservation & Heritage
- Community Involvement
- Marketing and Management.
It was incredibly encouraging to learn that our colleagues in
Australia face very similar issues to those that we have in the UK, and some
very different ones too…
An event with a difference
Albert Park hosts the Australian Formula One Grand Prix and
every year the park is handed over to the Grand Prix organisers for a week,
where they put together the infrastructure that supports the race.
Whilst there is no denying the revenue that running an event like this can raise for the
economy of a major city, the impact on the park is still evident 4 months after
the likes of Jenson Button and Mark Webber have left the scene.
There were some very funny anecdotes of brides who had arranged their weddings during Grand Prix weekend only to be mortified that they and all their guests had to be at the venue by 8.30am for fear of being run over during qualification or the race.
The park rangers handle both the Grand Prix and the brides with remarkable stoicism and their enthusiasm ensures that the park is eventually returned to its former glory. It was a fascinating venue to conduct a ‘mock’ Green Flag assessment and highlighted some key challenges to applying the Green Flag process in a different cultural setting.”
Michele and colleague David Tibbatts spent over 2 weeks investigating the potential of bringing Green Flag to the southern hemisphere, and we’ll be posting more feedback and tales from the trip in the coming weeks.