Nature Park Forced Closure Land Issue

The Nature Park in Port Moresby is closed for business indefinitely. The park was affected in a dispute over the land.

Pic: Twitter/@ConfigGuyPOM

Why Nature Park Closure

It is known that the University of Papua New Guinea owns the land on which the park is situated. However, the National Capital District Commission, Lands Department and University of Papua New Guinea are in a debacle over the land forcing the Nature Park to close indefinitely.

The long time residents of Port Moresby would recall how rundown the facilities and grounds were before a new park management came in 2014/2015. It was a wasteland of broken boardwalks, rubbish and dead plants.

Understandably, the park and its owner must pay any money  it owed to UPNG. But does it have to end up with a court battle? Sadly, not!

There are probably other intervention or mediation measures the landlord can take to not disturb the operations of the park.

The Nature Park, in a statement, said
'The recent announcement of the indefinite closure of the Port Moresby Nature Park is a result of a land acquisition matter before the courts between the Department of Lands, the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) and University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG).'  Official Statement 12/11/2019
Have all avenues being exhausted before  the landlord went to court?

I am sure UPNG, in its wisdom, can seek re-address through the city hall or talk directly to the park management to amicably resolve this issue.

Perhaps the first thing in this debacle is allowing public access to the park. In an ideal world, the disgruntled parties would not see it fit to hold the public to ransom for some uncollected debt.

Also, the Nature Park and its owner must pay any money it owes to UPNG as per the Contract Agreements, if any.

It is, in fact, sad to see a recreational area so used and so enjoyed by the general public (and at this busy time) has closed.

So, in the best interest of the users of this beautiful and well-managed park in the city, please resolve this matter immediately.

Let us, the public, use the park and its recreational grounds as we approach the Christmas holidays and festive periods.

Follow the conversation on Twitter. Let us know what you think.


Here is the Public Statement released by the Nature Park management on their Facebook page on the 12th November 2019.

                  
   ---------------STATEMENT----------------

Port Moresby Nature Park recently celebrated its obtainment of International Wildlife Welfare-Accreditation from the Zoo and Aquarium Association of Australasia, the first Pacific Island facility to have passed what is considered globally as the most scientific and rigorous assessment of animal management for zoos and wildlife facilities.  This comes after 7 years of tremendous transformational change with over K7million in public-private partnership funding being spent in the redevelopment of the Park.  As a charitable organisation, the Park has and continues to rely heavily on the commitment of NCDC, the generosity of sponsors and donors, and visitation by the community.   

It was NCDC’s vision to establish the Charitable Trust, overseen by an independent board that would become PNG’s leading recreational space inspiring through education the guardianship of PNG’s unique natural environment.

When one visits the Nature Park it is evident of the staffs commitment to delivering exceptional experiences.  The Nature Park is now the highest visited attraction in Papua New Guinea with over 140,000 visitors, including over 24,000 school students that attend the Park’s educational schools-excursion programs.  In fact, next year the Park will reach it’s 1 millionth visitor through the Park.  Further to this, the Park is a shiny example of the tourism potential of Papua New Guinea and regularly plays a tourism role for key International Events such as APEC and is visited by almost 1 in 5 international visitors to this country.

Over the last 4 years, the Park has taken seriously its role in wildlife conservation and research through its dedication to wildlife conservation and research supporting CEPA, our universities, PHD students and conservations organisations.  This has included the rescue and rehabilitation of hundreds of injured, orphaned and abandoned wildlife, research into pig-nosed turtles growth rates and the release of turtles back into the wild, and breeding programs for endangered and little-known PNG animal species.   The Nature Park has provided many, many opportunities for undergraduate and further education students to gain valuable on-the-job training and skills.

Not only has the Papua New Guinean community taken notice of the Park successes, but so too the Park has shone on the Global stage receiving a number of prestigious awards including a 2016 Award for Innovation and in 2018 an Education Award, both by the Zoo & Aquarium Association of Australasia. The Nature Park was also inducted into the Zoos Victoria Hall of Fame Awards for its commitment to partnership development in 2017 and in 2019 the Park became the first attraction in PNG to receive a Hall of Fame award by TripAdvisor for 5 years of continuous Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor. 

Port Moresby Nature Park has quickly become a shining example of what can be achieved through public and private partnership and what a small, charitable organisation can achieve with the right strategic planning, leadership, NCDC, Government and business support, and when combined with a motivated and passionate workforce dedicated to the service of the community.  The Park has always dared to dream big for the benefit of the community and biodiversity.

The recent announcement of the indefinite closure of the Port Moresby Nature Park is a result of a land acquisition matter before the courts between the Department of Lands, the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) and University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG).

NCDC has managed and funded the site since 1993 (formerly as the Botanical Gardens and now Port Moresby Nature Park) investing tens of millions of Kina in this time to ensure that throughout the space has remained opened for the public.

The Port Moresby Nature Park remains committed to NCDC and its goal of securing recreational spaces and activities that improves the lives of its citizens.  Recreational spaces are an important extension of community and when they work well, they serve as sacred spaces to stage our public lives.  Additionally, the Nature Park serves as a facility for education, tourism, research and conservation, all vital activities worth securing for future generations to come.

The management of the Port Moresby Nature Park would like to take the opportunity to thank the general public for its outpouring of support towards our organisation.  Please stand firm in the knowledge that the Nature Park is committed to the community and to conservation and with the support of NCDC will continue to ensuring that the Park remains PNG’s leading recreational space dedicated through education to the guardianship of PNG’s unique natural environment.

We look forward to opening our doors once more and will advise the community in due course.

Ends.

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