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Park upgrade put to the test

Main image: This year’s Ceilidh in the Park at McLachlan Park, Maclean. Inset: McLachlan Park in 2015. Images: Lynne Mowbray.
The recent upgrade to Maclean’s McLachlan Park was put to the test on Easter Friday night for the annual Maclean Highland Gathering’s ‘Ceilidh in the Park’. The crowd attending this year’s event were close to double that of previous years. Lower Clarence Scottish Association Inc publicity officer Bob MacPherson said that the upgrade was originally planned to be a community space for community events, called ‘The Plaza’. “Unfortunately the finished product of McLachlan Park did not adhere to the plan they had adopted,” said Mr MacPherson. “The plan that was put on display was for a multi-purpose space – not a carpark. “The bollards which have been put around the car park have been permanently cemented in and can’t be removed to bring in a stage (to the area). “The revamp of McLachlan Park was designed to have a plaza for community events such as mini markets, outdoor concerts, the Highland Gathering etc and unfortunately the finished project did not develop into an open space, which could be used as a community plaza. “For this year’s ‘Ceilidh in the Park’, we had to use the old format, with the stage on the back of a ute across the road from the park. The changes to the area have seen a section of the park (which was once raised), now become a levelled area. “When the park was a hill, it was a better grandstand, with spectators being able to see the event. “We had asked people to bring their own seating, however a lot of people opted to stand so as to get a better view of the evening’s events.” “The parks upgrade has opened up more viewing space with the trees not there and there were no complaints about any aspect of the event, although more lighting for night functions would be good. “Overall the crowd were pretty happy with the event and the venue.”