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A Public Consultation was advertised in the papers earlier this month, see above, for the rezoning of an access way that lies between several large areas of sporting fields in the Bisini area of Boroko. It appears that some company wants to re-zone this land from a sporting public area to a commercially zoned area. My parents live just around the corner, so naturally my mother was livid about the situation and went about collecting signatures for a petition for the re-zoning to be stopped. You can see her petition here.
The deadline for comments was yesterday, so we’ll see what happens from here about that re-zoning.
Now while we’re on this subject some other related news also popped up on facebook this week about the Jack Pidik Park being sold to a Supermarket chain. (Interestingly none of the major dailies ran this story.)
On facebook, NCD Governor, Powes Parkop gave some background information on the Jack Pidik Park situation, saying:
“I will give an explanation after this session of Parliament ends. It is a long history but the short of it is that the Park was lost before my time. There is a Supreme Court decision. I have used physical planning powers to deny the title holders from developing it commercially. However the title holders appealed against our decision to Minister for Lands [Benny Alan] as required under the Law and he has upheld their Appeal. This now limits our legal option so only political action can stop it. We have spend over million defending Unagi Oval so I am nit sure I will go down that line considering Supreme Court decision. I have started negotiation with the title holder for a win win outcome. If there are other options too, I will consider them.”
It’s scary that this improper rezoning of public spaces has been going on for so long. What’s worse is that even our Governor Parkop is having difficulty fighting to save our parks in Port Moresby. The political will of the Government is severely wanting on this issue of recreational facilities, as blogger Bernard Sinai asked in a similar blog post, ‘Where Do Our Children Play?’ The need for recreational spaces in cities is not rocket science and you only have to look at a big city like New York to see the cultural and social effects of parks in a city.
But the heart of the problem may not only be one of vision and foresight by the MP’s, but the fact that it appears on the face of it that the Minister for Lands & Physical Planning, Benny Alan, has ultimate jurisdiction over land in NCD. This highlights a problem for any Governor in any Province from having full control over development of land in their cities and towns, especially since they would know best what the Province needs.
So if Governor Parkop is going to be forever fighting with Ministers to save our Parks in NCD then we have a serious problem here in how Land is administered between the two levels of Government who have vastly different agendas for our public land.