BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan appealed to residents here to give the proposed multi-level podium car parking facility at the vacant lot near the Ganza Restaurant at Burnham Park a chance considering its benefits to the city.
“We all know that the area has long been used for parking and the project is only intended to maximize its use for the purpose of alleviating the parking problem and generating income for the operation of the park,” the mayor said.
Close to 10,000 signatures have reportedly been gathered by the “Baguio We Want Forum” to oppose the parking plan and to bat for the retention of the park as such to protect it from commercialization.
But the mayor said the development of certain portions of Burnham Park for income generation is allowed under Executive Order No. 224 series of 1995 as amended purposely to allow the park to become self-sustaining.
By virtue of the order, the city identified portions of the park for development purposes and these include the Ganza parking lot and the site of the former city auditorium.
The mayor said the Ganza parking project should not be confused with the proposal to put up multi-level parking structures at Melvin Jones.
The Melvin Jones proposal which dates back to 2002 has not yet been approved as it needs a lot of studies and consultations.
Whereas the Ganza area has been specifically earmarked for parking and has been used as a parking lot for a long time now thus the city is more inclined to convert such into a multi-level parking area to provide more parking service and at the same time generate funds for the park’s upkeep.
Three councilors last May proposed a resolution requesting the construction of a podium car parking at the Ganza site, the area between the Orchidarium and the Children’s Park, the former site of Pantranco and the whole stretch of the city library.
Councilors Benny Bomogao, Michael Lawana and Faustino Olowan said this is in the light of the city’s pressing need for parking areas in view of its booming tourism and other economic industries.
The city council referred said proposal and other related measures to the city engineering office, the city building and architecture office and the city planning and development office to come up with an immediate plan to identify roads within the central business district which can be used as parking sites.
The said offices were also asked to draft a long-term plan which includes the conduct feasibility studies and plan for the setting up of parking areas at the Old City library site, the Pantranco area, Ganza parking, Camp Allen, slaughterhouse terminal and other appropriate areas and identification of site for north-bound and south-bound terminals outside the CBD.
The said proposal was subjected to a public hearing recently and most of those who attended agreed to the construction of parking facilities but questioned the selection of the site particularly the area between the city library and the children’s park.
Earlier, an investor has proposed the construction of a multi-use commercial complex at the city auditorium site as part of the multi-billion peso upgrading of Athletic Bowl, the tennis court and swimming pool under the Public-Private Partnership scheme.
Under the scheme, the commercial building will be run by the investor while the Athletic Bowl and facilities will remain as city government properties and will continue to be managed by the city government with the revenues to be generated from these facilities will go to the city coffers.
The terms of reference for said project was approved by the city council and was referred to a technical working group for the conduct of a feasibility study. /Aileen P. Refuerzo