MORE than 1,000 people have written letters of support for a Rhyl park to have its warden reinstated.
Volunteers who have helped transform the Botanical Gardens into a popular attraction and community space say Denbighshire Council decision to remove a full-time and part-time warden could undo ten years of work.
Noreen Stevenson, chairperson of The Supporters of the Botanical Gardens, said users of the park have seen a major increase in vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
She added: "To remove the warden from the park during its busiest period, early evenings and school holidays, places the park’s environment and the users of the park at risk.”
Now more than 1,000 locals and visitors have signed letters complaining at the removal of the warden.
Chris Ruane, MP for the Vale of Clwyd said: “These are award-winning gardens run by volunteers who feel threatened since the removal of the warden.
"There is a danger that the cost of vandalism and the loss of volunteers could be more expensive than the redeployment of the warden. "Denbighshire Council needs to listen to the volunteers and user groups to ensure that these excellent facilities are kept open and used to their maximum potential.”
Volunteers have kept a log of incidents which include children netting goldfish from the pond, uprooting saplings, youths on the roof of the Pavilion and paddling in the ornamental pond while the prize bowling greens have also been damaged by children riding bicycles.
The gardens were visited by the Duke and Duchess of Wessex a few years ago to recognise the efforts of the volunteers who had turned around the fortunes of the gardens.
In 2003, when the association became involved in running the park, it was derelict.
A spokesman for Denbighshire Council said: “We understand concerns raised but in order to make best use of limited resources, we are looking at alternative more cost-effective ways of delivering the maintenance service.
“Up until recently we employed a full-time gardener, a full time and part time warden whose duties involved litter picking, collecting fees for the facilities and also a form of security when they are on site although this is not within our remit.
“Neither members of staff are at risk of losing their jobs but will be deployed in the wider Rhyl area. Now we will have one full time dedicated gardener to maintain the grounds.
"We have appointed a yard man in our operational depot next door and part of his duties will to visit the Gardens three times per day to collect and monitor the litter.
“In addition, a supervisor will monitor the site at regular intervals during the day and similar arrangements will be in place for weekends. We have discussed the issue of anti-social behaviour with our colleagues in CCTV and they will increase the camera patrols each day and at weekends.
“We have asked the Community Police Team to have more of a presence on site. We intend to monitor the situation over the coming weeks."