The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has charged all Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to develop at least one recreational park in their areas.
Nii Lante Vanderpuye, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development gave the charge on Wednesday during the celebration of the World Habitat Day and ‘Urban October” in Tema.
Mr Vanderpuye said the importance of such parks to residents especially the aged, women and the youth could not be overemphasised, therefore the need for MMDAs to collaborate with chiefs and traditional leaders to acquire lands in their jurisdiction for the construction of recreational parks.
He added that an additional sporting centre or stadium must also be put up to promote sporting activities among the youth in the various areas.
The Deputy Minister also impressed on the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) and the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) to within a year, construct at least five of such parks to serve the 25 communities the TDC has created.
He said it is his expectation that within the next five years, all the 25 communities would have a befitting recreational park each.
He said the theme for the celebration “Public spaces for all” was timely, as it brings attention to the need for well designed and managed public places and streets.
The theme, he added, ties in with the objective of the Ministry to promote a sustainable, spatially integrated and orderly development of human settlements in towns and cities in the country.
Mr Vanderpuye stated that it also reflected the urgent need to protect, maintain and reserve public designated spaces to promote social cohesion and improve the quality of life of the people.
Ms Christine Evans-Klock, United National Resident Coordinator, Ghana, said Urban October was developed to raise awareness, promote participation, generate knowledge and engage the international community towards a new urban agenda.
Ms Evans-Klock added that during the 31 days of promoting a better urban future, it provides a platform where partners could converge and debate on urban issues.
Mr Isaacs Ashai Odamtten, Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, in a welcome address, said open spaces were crucial for all especially the poor and vulnerable as it increases equity and combat discrimination.
Mr Odamtten said to promote such spaces in Tema, his outfit was embarking on projects to restore Tema to its former glory as a well planned city.
He said the second face of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park would soon commence to provide a well resource recreational place for the residents of Tema.
Nii Tetteh Otu I I, Paramount Chief of Kpone, urged state institutions in charge of planning and building to immediately stop any form of encroachment on public spaces and shoulders of roads instead of waiting for the place to develop into slums and moving in to demolish.
He said slum dwellers, squatters and encroachers would always call for compensation when they are allowed to have their way before authorities move in to eject them.