THE Department of Parks and Gardens (DPG) headquarters in Accra, risk losing a portion of its reserve as there are ongoing engagement with stakeholders to discuss an application for change of use of a portion of the Department’s Switchback reserve from Green Civic to Exclusive Civic.
Green Civic is defined as a restricted place designed for the growing of plants and flowers while Exclusive Civic means the otherwise.
The change is to pave way for the construction of an office complex on the reserve for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ghanaian Times has gathered.
Though the decision on the re-zoning is yet to be approved, the Eco-Conscious Citizens GH, an environment friendly pressure group, has called on the Ministry to relent on its decision.
The Ghanaian Times cited a letter signed by the Secretary of La Dadekotopon Municipal Assembly Spatial Planning Committee (LaDMA), A.F.Mompi titled, “Invitation to a presentation on an application for change of use of a portion of Parks and Gardens Switchback from ‘Green Civic to Exclusive Civic’ to aid the construction of an office block for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.”
According to the letter, “the current land use zoning of the subject site Green Civic made the current proposed development on the land a non conforming one, however, the Ministry is seeking for a change from Green Civic to Exclusive Civic.”
“Due to the nature of the place and role it plays in the environment, LaDMA seeks to bring together stakeholders from the various built environment professional bodies and other relevant agencies to discuss the application,” the invitation letter stated.
The Ghanaian Times in May reported that more than 140 trees and 5,000 flowers were destroyed at the DPG headquarters for the construction of a multipurpose complex to be used by the department.
Responding to it, the Ministry refuted claims that portions of land belonging to the DPG were being released to a private developer to construct a multi-purpose complex for its use.
According to the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr O.B Amoah, government had not entered into any Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with any entity, and there was no plans for a private developer to develop the headquarters of DPG for residential use or office complex, adding that “the government had decided that it would develop the office complex for the Department by itself.”
Against the backlash, Awula Serwah, the Coordinator of Eco-Conscious Citizens GH, expressed disappointment at the engagement saying, “I am astonish that the Ministry under which Parks and Gardens fall is attempting to rezone the area.”
Though the decision was yet to be accepted, she said “we will continue to fight until the application for rezoning is permanently tahen off the table and Parks and Gardens land reserved solely for parks and gardens”.
Awula Serwah also called on the officials at DPG to update their plans to combat the effects of global warming and feedback on national tree planting campaign.
The group has since April 30, 2019 petitioned the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to, as a matter of urgency, preserve the land for what it was intended for.
BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY