Hotel park sale raises furore

​Crowne Plaza Hotel swimming pool overlooking Harare Gardens
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has called on residents to fight the proposed sale of part of the iconic Harare Gardens to Africa Sun (Private) Limited for its expansion programme.
Africa Sun has proposed acquisition of an estimated 2,2 hectares of the lush garden park for the extension of Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Saviour Kasukuwere has since issued a legal notice seeking residents' input over the proposed sale of the recreational park.
In a statement, CHRA said it was against the unilateral decision to off-load the park to the hotel group.
"CHRA opposes the sale of part of Harare Gardens on the basis that this would amount to privatization of a public space which has over the years acted as a recreational facility for Harare residents.
"In 2015, CHRA engaged the Harare City Council in a bid to oppose the sale of part of the Harare Gardens and our position still stands.
"We are concerned that the park is slowly shrinking as a result of various 'private projects' which will eventually make it inaccessible to ordinary members of the public," CHRA said.
 The residents lobby group, argued there was insufficient debate on the impact of the sale of part of the Harare Gardens.
CHRA said it was against a situation whereby the Harare City Council sought to raise funds by encroaching into public spaces and in the process, making them inaccessible to the general public.
The Harare Gardens, which is also a wetland, has a historical value which must be preserved and this is only achievable through protecting the area from private interests, the group said.
"CHRA will also petition the responsible authorities to ensure the destruction of Harare Gardens, a recreational area and wetland, is stopped."LOCAL NEWS

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