Over 1,200 people have signed an online petition calling on the government to stop building a police post on the green space at Adam Smith Square, Woodbrook.
It says the proposed post would destroy the green space without curbing lawlessness and will disrupt the environment necessary for the community's health and wellbeing.
The petition said the 110-year-old community has been appealing to the government to immediately “halt the offensive work which has already begun.”
Residents and property owners said there was insufficient consultation and dialogue on the issue with community groups such as the Woodbrook Residents Committee and the Woodbrook Community Council.
It said green spaces are imperative for communities' mental and physical health, for tourism, and maintaining a beautiful TT.
“Green spaces and trees absorb rainwater and are valuable when flooding occurs. Adam Smith Square provides pleasing aesthetics for the surrounding properties and serves as a rest and relaxation area for the wider community. Building on the park will degrade the value of the properties that surround it. Gentrification of the area will only be for the benefit of the wealthy and does not consider the long standing-community of this neighbourhood and the wider society.”
The petition noted that Adam Smith Square is a valuable location for music and cultural events, and a meeting spot for families and friends during these events, and building on it would destroy traditional events and meeting spots.
“The park should be enhanced as a green space to encourage nature to thrive and to be helpful as a water absorption site during heavy rains. More trees should be planted so the park can play a valuable part in the fight against climate change, as well as to improve the health and wellness of our society.”
It also said in terms of police presence, the Woodbrook Police Station is one and half blocks away, and there are eight other police stations within a one-mile radius.
“Visibility of police is necessary, and Ariapita Avenue is a perfect location for foot and scooter patrols. Police can hide in buildings. Our authorities can achieve enforcement of laws without another building.”
The residents also said they do not welcome public washrooms in this green space.
The petition said there were unoccupied derelict properties on Carlos Street on the opposite side of the street to the proposed police post, and asked if those buildings could be bought to build the police post and public facilities.
“Developing and enhancing an area for culture and tourism includes preserving the layout and design of all historical green spaces within Port of Spain. The government must work with the communities to protect the parks and squares left to us by our forefathers, not destroy them.”
The construction is part of a $15 million project to enhance Ariapita Avenue, and work has already begun.