RESIDENTS’ EMOTIONS MIXED OVER PARK CHANGING
By: Venal Naidu
North beach residents are up in arms because the Olive Convention Centres (OCC) wants to change the Douglas Carpendale Park into a parking lot.
Charmaine George, a senior member of the community said, “This is a residential area.
We have kids walking around to go to the beach and school.
This can pose a danger to them because the roads are not equipped for heavy traffic and it will become rowdy.
We will not experience the peace and quiet that we are used to.”
The OCC is also home to the Durban Ice Rink. Owner, Sastri Ramiah, has been given permission by the eThekwini Municipality, to turn the local park into a parking lot in order to
accommodate the revamp of the Ice Rink, which is expected to be of Olympic standards.
OCC is known for hosting major events from the likes of South Africa’s Got Talent, X Factor, university graduations as well as government functions. The park is located
approximately fifty meters away from the convention centre.
“Having a parking lot will serve the patrons quite well as they could walk to and from their cars quite easily,” said Wayland Isaacs, an employee.
Community members have spoken out strongly towards this but have all been told to wait for the court case.
Community members also have pointed out many alternate options such as the old Drive-In which is approximately three hundred meters down the road.
They said that it is vacant 99% of the time and can accommodate up to a thousand cars but they have turned a deaf ear says community member Edwin George.
The children are the ones who are thought to be most affected by this decision as most of the children play soccer and cricket there on a daily basis.
Zia Mohammed (9) said that he does not know where he will play. He added that his mother only lets him play in the park so she can watch him from the window as their flat is directly opposite the park.
Some residents though are happy with the proposed developments. Sergio Van Leeve, a resident, said that this will be an excellent omen as there is a lot of “characters” that have
been living in the park recently and have increased the crime rate in the area.
“Members of the community must not forget that they are not going to uproot the surface and tar the area.
They have promised everything will be done on the grass and the trees will not be interfered with. As a community, we must think about these pointers before doing
anything drastic,” said Leeve.
Community members have signed petitions against the proposed developments and not await for the court’s decision.