A waste of resources, says Lee Sing
PORT OF SPAIN
■ Verdel Bishop
A WASTE of resources.
This was how former Port of Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing on Monday described a proposed revitalisation of Nelson Mandela Park in Port of Spain.
During the Port of Spain Corporation's virtual public consultation for revitalisation of the park on Monday evening residents and legacy users also voiced mixed opinions about the park's proposed improvement.
The project is part of Government's planned revitalisation of the city of Port of Spain.
Construction is expected to begin in January 2022.
One of the concerns expressed was about a synthetic surface playing field, known as 3G astro turf instead of grass.
Commentors were concerned that the synthetic surface could cause injuries.
Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez said the Nelson Mandela Park is underutilised.
'The goal is that Nelson Mandela Park is to become a public wellness and sports hub in the heart of our capital city. Currently, the park is severely underutilised and so this plan will ensure that the public's use of Nelson Mandela Park is greatly increased,' Martinez said.
He outlined the advantages of the proposed revitalisation, including the development of the 3G turf facility which Martinez explained was developed for intensive use because of its durable, resilient nature, and improvement to the design of the park to facilitate increased public use and host multiple sporting events.
'You can't spend what you don't have'
But people also shared their concerns about issues related to the park, including existing aquifers and flooding, as well as preserving green spaces, light pollution and the proposed use of the synthetic turf.
Former mayor Lee Sing said the proposed revitalisation of the park is a waste of resources. 'One suspects that a turf of this kind and at this time, you are taking monies that can be utilised with other aspects of development of the city and using it for something that we really need,' Lee Sing said. 'This country is broken and all the systems that are set up aren't working. Now when you have no money you really ought to eat little and live long. You can't spend what you don't have.'
Lee Sing said the revitalisation was not necessary.
'The city of Port of Spain for many months paid its workers very late and therefore when you look around the city of Port of Spain also there are so many things to be done. Yet they are going to drop this thing on us and do something that is not necessary.'
Lee Sing said the consultation should have included agencies such as the Environmental Management Authority and WASA.
'These are the agencies people want to hear from. There are so many questions for them to be pushing this nonsense about this astro turf. If you go up to Marvin Lee Stadium, the astro turf is in a mess, so why are we going to dig up the grass that has worked for us for hundreds of years and put down astro turf? If it is a park then it should remain as a park with trees and grass and benches and play surfaces for everyone to participate and enjoy,' Lee Sing said.
Martinez said the revitalisation was only possible through public- private partnership.
The public is invited to submit comments or feedback up until August 1 at 11.59 p.m. via Facebook through the Port of Spain City Corporation page or via e-mail email@example.com