RESIDENTS ASSURED OF JACK PIDIK PARK PROTECTION
NCD Governor and Chairman of NCD Physical Planning Board, Powes Parkop today (Sunday) assured city residents that he would use all powers vested on him to ensure Jack Pidik Park is protected and reserved for recreation as planned.
He said NCDC workers served demolition notice to TST Group of Companies following their failure to heed stop-work notice served yesterday.
FUNCTIONS OF NATIONAL LANDS DEPARTMENT AND NCDC
Governor Parkop clarified that land title issuance powers lie with the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, not NCDC.
In addition, he said NCDC only has Physical Planning powers to approve or refuse development proposals.
HISTORY OF PARK LAND DISPUTE
Giving a background information to the status of the land portion in dispute, Governor Parkop said in the 1990s the National Government traded the park land with TST which owned land where Port Moresby General Hospital’s new wing is located at 3-Mile.
“At that time, they (TST) only had a temporary licence but used that to bargain for the Jack Pidik land. All these problems are created by National Department of Lands. We are managing the consequences of their irresponsible decisions,” said Governor Parkop.
He stated that the company through Boy Consultancy had a temporary licence to the land.
The Government then, he said, failed to renew the licence, adding the non-renewal provided leeway for TST to secure the land title over the park without consulting NCDC.
PARK LAND’S COURT BATTLE
“Since then, NCDC has been challenging the title transferral on the basis that the land was designated as public recreational land. The matter went to Court and NCDC initially won in the National Court. TST group of Companies appealed to the Supreme Court and in 2004 well before my time the Supreme Court ruled in their favor. Since then we have not allowed them to develop it using our Physical Planning powers as it’s deemed public recreational land on our records. They have since appealed to the Appeals Tribunal at the National level. Sadly, the National Appeal tribunal upheld their appeal to rezone as commercial land.
“They have now submitted a new development plan which we have considered but not made a determination yet because we want to verify the survey plan before we can decide their application. We have written to the Surveyor General to verify the survey plan as their title they have is still conditional and subject to survey. I have met with Surveyor General and have written to him.
“Now while we are waiting for the Surveyor General to determine the survey boundaries, TST through their company Capital Centre Limited have gone and got a Court order without our knowledge allowing them to erect fence. We issued them stop work yesterday and today. We now issued them Demolition Notice so we will go ahead and demolish,” said an erate Parkop.
Fencing is a power of the Physical Planning Board and the Court has not suspended our powers, he said.
“We decide the type and height of fence. So again they are acting illegally so we will demolish today,” he said.