BLUNT TALK FROM SHIRLEY PARK PROTESTORS: Why can’t Meghjis build their hotel opposite their liquor and eatery and bar – the LOUNGE
Shirley Park hearing set for 12 February and fireworks fly from objectors!
FROM ONE OF THE PETITIONERS (Denise Gibson):
Why we should save Shirley Park- additional comments to my petition on behalf of the 520
When it comes to recreation and the value of the Shirley Park location to the sea, its central location in the city center and what it means to a healthy lifestyle to the people of Lautoka, the Minister for Local Government, the Attorney General, P Meghji and the Director of Town and Country Planning should know that for those that use the park, the market vendors on time off, students from the university and other institutions in the city and the ordinary man and woman on a minimum wage who can’t afford the luxury of a day at the beach or a night at a fancy hotel who value Shirley Park, they come with their friends and family, their children for relaxation, for picnics and simple recreation.
To give one third of an already small park to construction, will take away the meaning and essence of Shirley Park as its stood for decades, it will increase congestion with what is left of it after the hotel is built and decrease privacy for those using it with a narrow strip of green space left to one side
Building along the foreshore area of the park will block out and take away through- flow of fresh air into the park and into the city center.
There is the likelihood of increasing the temperature in the city center, as this is the only wide open break surrounding concrete and stone in an area of high population density ( on any working day).
Regarding the proximity and location of Shirley Park to so many in the city, Churchill park is now one fifth if not more smaller now because of the Tappoo construction and there’s been the removal of trees and space which leaves that park with hardly any shade . It has no view to speak of being surrounded by built up areas, a stadium and shops.
The Botanical Garden is too far for workers during a lunch break, there is no comparison for proximity to their work places, walking there takes 10-15 minutes each way which defeats the purpose of their down time.
I have sat with people in the park when gathering signatures for my petition so all comments are a fact of discussions with those there in various areas in the city.
The sentiment of historical significance and memories for the older folks is also significant.
Why don’t the Government and Mr. Meghji look at the benefits of building this hotel in a like area that has similar vantage?
Rezone and build in the open space across the road and opposite the P Meghji owned liquor Shop and eatery and bar, the ‘Lounge’ in Lautoka.
This open space across the road is on an incline, there are views of the ocean and waterfront, proximity for their intended guests to the city and will give their own businesses in food and drink a boost.
Two things can be accomplished here, Money, business and much needed employment to Lautoka city and a happier community still having Shirley Park as it stands in size and presence to go to, with responsible government and business decision making taken into account.
A responsibly planned cityscape with balance to green space given to the needs of the community. Build and bring employment and business to Lautoka, but NOT in our parks. There are potential areas elsewhere, the question is has government made a concerted effort to look elsewhere or is it always for big business and those with money to have the best areas of the city at cost to the ordinary citizen.
Shirley Park has always and, still does, serve a wide cross section of the Community. Ranging from the very young to the elderly, and, for a broad spectrum of events from religious to educational. For example a venue for pre-school open days.
. Health awareness programs and activities for example, the Color Explosion Event – Walk for Wellness, which has now been declared exclusive to Lautoka by the organizers. The Red Cross Open Day is also held here.
. Provides a venue for Women’s groups to carry out, and, display their art and craft.
. Plays host to Arbor Week, where there is a varying display of Fiji’s diverse Flora. The public are able to move freely among the booths enjoying the cool sea breeze.
. This year will see a number of Cruise Liners stopping in at Port Lautoka as part of their travel itinerary. At present these visitors can be seen sitting and enjoying the park, as a brief and welcome interlude, from the heat of the city. They are also seen mingling and chatting with the locals picnicking in the park, and, stall vendors. Several have also been approached on their views on the proposed construction, and, have all expressed their dismay at the thought of this Park being lost to commercialism.
. Even if a portion of the Park is utilized for the proposed construction of a Hotel, it would give rise to issues of noise control, and, restrict the freedom of movement of those who participate in the above events at those specific times, and, of the public in general at other times.
In conclusion we would like to therefore re-iterate the value of our Shirley Park to the citizens of Lautoka. Urban dwellers the world over fight tooth and nail to keep the green places in their cities. Let us therefore pose a question:
WHAT WOULD NEW YORKERS OR, SUVA RESIDENTS SAY IF THERE WAS A HOTEL CONSTRUCTED IN THE MIDDLE OF CENTRAL PARK, OR, ALONG THE SEA FRONT END OF SUKUNA PARK?
DATED: 11th FEBRUARY, 2015