Sat | May 25, 2019

Letter of the day | Hope Gardens and Zoo are Hope Pastures worst nightmare

Published:Monday | May 13, 2019 | 12:31 AM

For the past eight years, the residents of Hope Pastures and Mona Heights in St Andrew have been tortured by noise nuisances emanating from the compound of Hope Gardens and The Hope Zoo. These residences were established between 1955 and 1962 as preferred housing communities for government employees and the university staff. Back then, the Botanical Gardens had beautiful foliage and described itself as a venue for quiet recreation and leisure. It did not produce any annoying sounds and neighbours could enjoy the tweeting of birds and the occasional roar of the lion.

Today, not so any more. The once beautiful Hope Royal Botanical Gardens and the Hope Zoo have now become the venues for Carnival and dancehall events, birthdays and office parties with explosive fireworks, even during the week. There is a claim that permission is given for fireworks but this has not been endorsed by the police and no fire engine is on standby at the event.

Some of the most challenging noise nuisance events include company fun days and just to name one, The Guardsman Games, takes place in a Guardsman constructed recreational stadium directly beside Hope Pastures houses and alongside the zoo, of all places, with total disregard for the noise levels and calmer activities allowed by the National Environment and Planning Agency for proper operations of a zoo.

Why aren’t these events held on the outfield at the stadium? The managers of the Hope Zoo/Gardens claim that they are concerned about good relations with their neighbours, yet for years, residents of Hope Pastures, Mona Heights and even Birdsucker Heights complain that for three days every week they are bombarded by lewd lyrics and noise nuisances that violate the Noise Abatement Act. Event permits are given, but not to break the law. The Military Band plays in the Gardens monthly without any noise nuisance.

MONEY HUNGER TRUMPS WELFARE

The managers/event planners of these facilities are hungry for the money obtained from these music events and sacrifice animal welfare, human rights, safety and health, especially of neighbouring residents.

The Hope Pastures community is also plagued with a traffic burden, as party goers are routed through Hope Pastures to enter and leave the Gardens/Zoo after 6:00 pm, resulting in traffic jams and heightened security risks accompanied by a recent increase in reported car thefts.

Also in the pursuance of their objectives to provide recreational space for parties, the Gardens/Zoo cut and burn trees in open fires that produced volumes of unhealthy smoke for days and nights in Hope Pastures, stimulating asthma attacks and other health issues. Open fires are legal violations.

Neighbouring residents experience the first hand effects of endless nights without sleep. Many use earplugs but still complain of difficulty getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep and difficulty concentrating at work and school in the days with drowsiness and fatigue. The aged and children are the worst affected.

The contacted appropriate authorities tell the suffering residents, even after eight years of torture, to essentially deal with it because this big money making industry also provides lots of jobs, but jobs for whom? None of these large, all-inclusive parties at the Zoo/Gardens provide any jobs for the juice or hand cart vendors who are excluded from entry.

Hope Gardens and the Zoo are truly the worst nightmare for Hope Pastures residents, as it seems that money hunger trumps the welfare of the residents and the animals. Shame, shame, shame.

SONIA POWEL

icolynbartley@gmail.com