Grass at last

  • 2008-05-20
  • In cooperation with BNS

RIGA-Riga mayor Janis Birks has given the public permission to sit on thelawns of downtown Riga in a month-long experiment that has been announced in a hope thatresidents and guests of the Latvian capital will show responsible behavior.

Birkssaid at a news conference Tuesday that the ban on sitting on lawns in thecenter of Riga would be temporary lifted as of June 2.

Agnis Kalnkazins whoheads Rigas Darzi un Parki (Riga Gardens and Parks), a municipal agency incharge of the capital city's parks and gardens, voiced his dislike of theexperiment and engaged in a heated debate with the mayor.

Kalnkazins stronglybelieves residents of Riga are not cultural enough to be allowed to sit on lawns. MadaraSmite, an organizer of the Sitting Green campaign, announced at the newsconference Green Culture Patrols in which young people will be collectinginformation from June 2-6 on the time spent on lawns.

Under the public order rules passed by the Riga City Council, residents andguests of Riga are banned from walking or sitting on lawns in the green area ofthe city's historical center, as well as in green areas in which specialprohibition signs have been installed.

A recent public opinion poll suggeststhat nearly 70 percent of residents believe that the city's green areas shouldbe made accessible to all.