Lagos plans ‘Metropolitan Park’ in new urban regeneration drive

 Central Park from a height, New York City, USA      Courtesy

Central Park from a height, New York City, USA Courtesy

As the city continues to grow and expand with its attendant pressure on the environment, it is expedient that efforts must be made to improve the city and make it healthier for people through sustainable green infrastructure.

IN pursuit of making the Lagos a live-able city, government has pledged to ensure the sustainability of ongoing urban regeneration programmes. To this end, an initiative known as “Metropolitan Park”, designed along the popular Central park in New York, USA, is commencing in 2016.

The project is to be sited at Aiyeteju, in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government area of Lagos, with five hectares of land already acquired for the take off of the project.

Speaking at a press briefing heralding stakeholders’ forum on sustaining green Lagos, organised by the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), last weekend, Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Samuel Adejare, said green activities in Lagos would be pursued hand in hand with the urban regeneration programees embarked upon by the government.
According to Adejare, the forum with the theme: “Sustaining Our Green Lagos”, will be anchored by the eminent scholars and professionals in the built environment, noting that government will seek the support of private investors in partnering with government to achieve the lofty objective.

The proposed recreational park will serve the people of Lekki, Ajah, Ibeju, Epe and its environs. We will need the private sector to be part of this project, which will be similar to the Central park in New York, United State.

As a government, we sincerely believe that the business of governance is both the responsibility of the government and the governed. In particular, the role of the private sector actors in complementing the efforts of government in providing necessary support cannot be overemphasized. I therefore appreciate those organizations that have been playing their roles so far in this regard”, charged the Commissioner.

Adejare stated that regeneration of the environment and its sustainability has been of major concern to successive administration in Lagos State since 1999.

The achievement so far is evident in various landscape and beautification programmes scattered all across the state in accordance with the mandate of LASPARK.

He listed the activities of the agency to include: Administer, maintain and manage all designated parks and gardens in the state; Carry out the general directives and policies of the government in respect of the development, maintenance and management of parks, recreation centres, gardens, playing grounds and open spaces in the state; Grant permits on the payment of the prescribed fees in any of the open spaces in the parks or gardens managed by the agency; Regulate the hours of use of the open spaces in the state parks or gardens by members of the public; Promote afforestation in all ramifications in the state and monitor and supervise pruning and felling of trees within the state, among others.

He said the responsibility to restore the glory and beauty of Lagos environment is a collective responsibility, which all stakeholders must work together, through united efforts to take utmost responsibility of protecting the environmental landscape of Lagos.

The Commissioner said further: “In Singapore, where government was seen as the architect of all the greening programmes, private sector participation in all greening activities has increased to 33.2 per cent. In Nigeria, we cannot be indifferent to this global trend.
This parley is therefore intended to get the required support from actors in the private sectors end also reiterate the importance of the environment to development. Businesses run without the right consideration for the environment cannot last.

LASPARK’s Managing Director, Dr. (Mrs.) Titi Anibaba listed the focus of the forum to include the following: Stakeholders’ involvement and engagement in urban greening initiatives; Adopting and maintaining green infrastructure.

Benefits to the stakeholders; Challenges and the way forward in environmental regeneration; and funding, which is a catalyst to a greener environment.
Anibaba charged that: “As Lagos continues to grow and expand with its attendant pressure on the environment, it is expedient that we make efforts to improve the city and make it healthier for people through sustainable green infrastructure”.
Among the speakers are president, International Federation of Landscape Architect and a lecturer, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Lagos, Dr. Tunji Adejumo as well as Mr. Adile Iroajuh, an environmentalist and an advocate of climate change and green economy.

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