Residents of Subryanville, Georgetown say that they are still waiting to be engaged by the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) over the use of the Farnum Community ground and other issues affecting the residential community.
Residents of the community have raised concerns on the use of the ground after noticing that a portion was being developed by Mayfield Rodrigues, proprietor of Mae’s School, for her students, thereby restricting the use by members of the community.
Rodrigues has told the residents that she was given a lease and approval by the M&CC to carry out works. The work has so far included the construction of a concrete fence across the ground.
Last year, the Mayor and City Council had ripped out a fence at the same location, citing that permission had not been granted for any construction on the ground.
However, residents, at the beginning of this year observed that the construction of the fence had recommenced. They said when they enquired from the school under what circumstances it was rebuilding the fence, the Administrator of the School, Stacy French, informed that they had acquired a lease from by the M&CC for the use of the ground.
In a letter, dated January 24th, 2018, to Mayor Patrica Chase-Green, residents raised their objections to the construction of the fence on the community playground.
“Residents were doubtful that such a decision could have been made without community consultation or notice, particularly, as residents are on record objecting to any restriction of access to the space,” residents said, while pointing out that their constituency representatives were unaware of permission having being granted by the council.
The residents further informed the Mayor that they “are prepared to pursue every avenue available to prevent this conversion of community space to private, for-profit use.”
The residents said that they are still awaiting a response from the Mayor on the letter, which was also copied to Lionel Jaikaran, Deputy Mayor, Royston King, Town Clerk, and Councillors, Linda Gomes-Haley and Carlyle Goring.
At a recent community meeting, Damien Fernandes, a resident, pointed out that works on the ground had stopped sometime around the 24th of January. He explained that some of the fence panels from the perimeter fence, which were replaced by the school, had been taken down and stored in the school compound. Around the same time, the base of the fence was also broken by the construction crew, and steel rods had been exposed, posing a danger to students.
In addition, Fernandes said that the school had also ripped out the two basketball rings which they had installed, leaving damage behind. He noted that during the construction of the fence, the work crew had left builders waste behind, including boards with nails, broken pieces of concrete and steel which were now covered with grass and posed a danger to the users of the ground, especially the students from the school.
At the meeting, residents disclosed that the upgrading of the ground by the school was only being done in their interest, as a means to improve the business. As a result, residents are calling on the council to withdraw any permission already granted for use of the Farnum Community Ground, and to remove the new fence erected across the width of the community ground.
According to the residents, over the years, they have contributed to the ground’s maintenance, but encountered increasing challenges due to severe and persistent flooding.
At the beginning of 2016, residents said that they had worked closely with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure to repair multiple collapsed culverts along primary drainage canals, in a bid to reduce persistent flooding and have seen results. They noted that they during the recent rainy season they observed the drainage had significantly improved.
The Farnum playfield was first established as a community ground for the residents of Subryanville/Fraserville, Kitty and Campbellville, and has since been managed within the spirit and framework of a public space.
Additionally, the residents are calling on the M&CC to intervene on the opening of a new daycare facility in the community, as they said it would be changing the outlook for their community from residential to semi-commercial.
They pointed out that the community is congested with traffic during school hours and some residents are forced to find alternative routes while others have to contend with the traffic.
One resident said on mornings he would take at least 20 minutes to exit from his Third Avenue home to Sherriff Street because of the traffic congestion.