Saturday, May 19, 2007

Residents say park project caused houses to flood

Saturday, February 17, 2007
Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Residents of Menteng, Central Jakarta, reported Governor Sutiyoso to the city police Friday over the ongoing redevelopment of the historic Persija soccer stadium.

The residents alleged the renovation had violated environmental and heritage laws and caused construction damage to the surrounding park.

"The redevelopment of Persija stadium is illegal. It violates the laws on the environmental impact analysis (Amdal) and the heritage conservation of Persija soccer stadium," a resident, Nazly Pujihati Siregar, said.

She said the project had caused a number of houses and streets in Menteng to flood up to 50 centimeters deep.

The law on heritage conservation declares the Menteng soccer stadium, which was built by the Dutch administration in 1921, a heritage site.

Before lodging their complaint, about 15 residents protested outside the park. Workers stopped them from going any further.

German-born historian A. Heuken, who has lived in Menteng since 1960, said the project was not in line with current spatial planning frameworks, which showed more green areas than previous plans had.

"It does not fit with Sutiyoso's promises as over 40 percent of the property has been cemented over, damaging water catchment areas.

"The park is now located higher than its surrounding, thus the water will flow onto the streets or residential areas," he said.

The administration demolished the soccer stadium last year, despite protests from Menteng residents and Persija club members.

The administration began landscaping the park last October.

On the four-hectare property there is a grassy area, two greenhouses, sports facilities, a playground and a four-story parking lot, which can accommodate more than 130 cars.

The sports facilities include soccer, basketball, roller-skating and jogging facilities, while the two greenhouses are to be used for flower shows.

An official said Sutiyoso would inaugurate the park next month.

"We will go ahead with the plan to beautify the area. It is for the sake of the public. They can start playing sport in the park after the inauguration ceremony," said Juli Lubis of the central Jakarta municipal office.

He said there was no connection between the flood and the park's construction.

"The claims the project worsened the floods do not make sense. It (flooding) has been happening for many years now. We built 48 rainwater seepage pits in the park in addition to the drainage system."

The redevelopment of Persija park is part of the city administration's plan to convert 14 percent of Jakarta's area, or 9,156 hectares, into green spaces by 2010.

Protests directed at Sutiyoso in the aftermath of the floods, which affected around 70 percent of the capital, are mounting.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Jakarta Residents Forum (Fakta) also reported Sutiyoso to the National Commission on Human Rights over the floods.

Forum chairman Azas Tigor Nainggolan said the floods, which claimed 98 lives in Greater Jakarta, were categorized as a human rights violation. (02)

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