The Garden Festival Now
What is the Garden Festival now? Lovely rows of flowers, beautiful walks and rides? Not quite. The Garden Festival Wales, or now known as the Festival Park, is now made up of a shopping centre, houses, an owl sanctuary, a fishing lake, a church, valleys radio and a gym.
Some of the existing walks are still there and can still be walked around, but is at the present time dangerous. Most of the steps at the Festival Park are made out of wood, therefore after 16 years, they are literally falling apart.
Recently, the Stairway to the Stars (which were leading to the shopping centre) are now closed to the public. This is due to health and safety reasons because the steps and platforms have rotted making it unsafe. The willow snake (was near the countryside council for Wales) is now very over grown. The Japanese arch way has recently been removed and last year, the land train made its last journey. These are just some of the changes.
By removing the heart of the Garden Festival from the Festival Park, it means the true meaning of the Garden Festival is now unknown to many people. This being one of the biggest events in history for Ebbw Vale, or even Blaenau Gwent, it is important that people realise their home-town past and history.
The Garden Festival was a multi-million pound regeneration of the area, which help make Ebbw Vale, Ebbw Vale. So why has it been left to decay? The beautiful gardens, the pathways, the artwork, the displays - gone. The remaining attractions have been destroyed due to lack of care and maintenance.
"The cost of maintaining all these features such as the Stairway to the Stars, is too high compared to the actual use of them. The steps going from the lake to the shopping centre, which are now closed due to Health and Safety reasons, would cost over £5,000 to repair. By the time you buy the wood to replace them, you got to somehow place them in place and it's obvious they are heavy, so machinery would be required."