NEWS

Premila Kumar: Shirley Park Was Meant for Civic Development

A portion of the park is earmarked for commercial development.
02 Apr 2019 10:00
Premila Kumar: Shirley Park Was Meant for Civic Development
Minister for Local Government, Trade, Tourism, Housing and Community Development Premila Kumar

Land where Shirley Park sits was initially reclaimed for further development of the growing the Sugar City, clarified Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar.

Mrs Kumar told Parliament yesterday that of the 500 people who objected to the development of Shirley Park, a number of them were not even from Lautoka.

A portion of the park is earmarked for commercial development.

She said in an area of more than 60,000 ratepayers, the handful who objected were not taking into account the wishes of others who wanted to see the city grow.

“Lautoka City is expanding, it is growing, the population size is growing and when Lautoka City actually reclaimed this land, the idea was to contribute to civic development,” she said.

“It was never meant to be a park.”

Mrs Kumar said the development would not have a major impact on the public because Shirley Park remained there, only a portion was being used.

She added in total there were about 111 parks and open spaces of which 22 hectares fell within the periphery of the Central Business District.

“The job of the Lautoka City Council is not only to protect the interests of one particular group, there are competing interests so you have to balance it out,” the minister said.

“That is why the whole of Shirley Park was not given, just a portion of it was given.

“Today, Lautoka City Council can still develop that area because it is classified as civic. That is what the Town Planning Scheme says.”

She said the Director Town and Country Planning had exercised powers in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act to grant the final approval after considering all the written objections.

Opposition members including Ro Teimumu Kepa and Lenora Qereqeretabua opposed the planned development at Shirley Park, citing environmental degradation as a major impact.

To this, the Attorney-General replied:“We can have development as long as there is adherence to environmental

standards. “Adherence to environmental standards does not mean you do not have any development at all.”

Edited by Percy Kean

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