Protected Areas Commission raising level of, resurfacing National Park athletics track

Dear Editor,

The Protected Areas Commission would like to bring your readers, especially National Park users, up to date with the work on resurfacing the athletics track at the National Park, an activity under the Three Parks Initiative.

Regular flooding is a challenge for most areas in the National Park, as the Park is on average lower than much of Georgetown. The Park can thus only be effectively drained after much of Georgetown drains. Addressing this problem will therefore involve more than simply improving drainage within the Park, but will require the raising of the Park in sections. This will also have to be undertaken in the Botanical Gardens and the Zoological Park. As you can imagine, this will require large amounts of earth and sand, and significant man and machine hours.

With support from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environ-ment, under the Three Parks Initia-tive, we have been able to commence this effort at the Athletics Track. The Track has long been one of the lowest spots in the National Park, with much of the area being underwater during the rainy season and therefore inaccessible to both athletes and our maintenance machines. The rehabilitation aims to reduce flooding and allow the track to be in use for longer periods during the year. The project will be implemented in three phases

1. Stockpiling of sand and earth

2. Excavation of the top layer of earth and backfilling with the sand and other stockpiled material, and

3. Spreading the top layer of earth, levelling, shaping and compacting.

We are excavating and reusing the current top layer of earth to finish the ground, as we have so far been unable to source clean earth with minimal debris. Reusing the existing earth will minimise the potential for the introduction of obstacles, which could pose a danger to the users of the area.

The rehabilitation project began approximately one month ago, so we are currently in the first phase, as we work to stockpile over 7,000 cubic metres of sand.

The entire process will therefore take some time, and may be further impacted by the weather and machine performance. Each phase will present us with its own specific challenges, but we are working to address them as much as we can beforehand, in order to minimise any delays.

I would like to take this opportunity to once again apologise to Park users, and especially the athletes, for any inconvenience caused during this time. The coaches and athletes have so far been very patient with the works, and we have tried to reduce disruption to certain parts of the track. In our discussions with the various groups and individuals that use the track, it is clear that all stakeholders are committed to seeing this project through.

I would also like to invite interested businesses, individuals and other groups to join with us as we seek additional donations of sand and clean earth. The donation of materials will allow us to slowly raise these parks, and transform them into all-weather green spaces for the use and benefit of current and future generations of Guyanese.

 

Yours faithfully,
Damian Fernandes
Commissioner
Protected Areas Commission

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