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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Heritage group fights to save Burnham Park

HERITAGE advocates are protesting the latest plans of the city to set up parking facilities at Burnham Park.

“The master development plan for the Burnham Park Complex by the University of the Cordilleras which is the basis for the proposed ordinance has not undergone thorough and widespread stakeholder consultation and is the subject of many objections,” said Adelida Lim, Baguio Heritage Foundation president.

“In view of the following, we strongly demand that the UC plan for Burnham Park be revisited following sustainable resource management approaches and with due regard to the historical and environmental significance of the park,” Lim added.

A multi stakeholder’s consultation is advised to generate alternative measures to enhance the natural character of Burnham Park for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

The said plan must deliver social equity and environmental sustainability.

Councilor Edgar Avila, committee chair for Urban Planning, Lands and Housing has started Public consultation for a Burnham Park parking structure at the old auditorium site which has opened the doors for proposals to come in.

The next round of talks is set on April 11, Wednesday with the committee on Public Works headed by councilor Maylen Yaranon and the committee on traffic and transport legislation led by councilor Benny Bomogao on the multi-level parking facility.

“Section 3 of the supposed ordinance which reads “the City mayor is hereby authorized to implement the design and construction of the Baguio City Auditorium, Parking Building and its amenities is hereby authorized to enter into a memorandum of agreement with any interested parties for the implementation of the same,” said Lim.

Is antithetical to democratic practice and opens floodgates to abuse and violations of principles of transparency.

“Until there is a masterplan for Burnham Park that sets a definitive picture of the enhancement of the park that validates the collective aspiration of the people of Baguio, we firmly insist the building of any structures within the Burnham park area be deferred,” Lim added.

Earlier in the week, the “Baguio We Want Forum” led by University of the Philippine chancellor Raymond Rovillos gathered stakeholders for a meeting regarding the Burnham park issue.

The group is ready to attend the public hearing next week and inform the council on their stand and counter proposal like the Baguio Heritage Foundation thinks of UC master plan, created in 2010 needs to be updated and publicly consulted.

In July 2017 the Baguio City Mapping of Heritage Sites and Structures project was completed by Rowena R. Boquiren, Ph.D., June Prill-Brett, Ph.D., Charita Delos Reyes, Ph.D. and Roland Albert Romero.

The report included over 50 structures and areas in the city for their historical significance and importance.

For Burnham Park the recommendations were to pursue local ordinance, link with the sector of Department of Tourism (DOT) and approval of declaration by the appropriate agencies. Address public awareness, led by the LGU.

“With the stream as water source that feeds into what the Ibaloy described as miñac, the Burnham Lake and its surrounding area was designed by and named after premier American architect and urban planner Daniel Hudson Burnham,” that was Burnham described.

Before Burnham’s 1904 design was set in place, the flat, mossy area served as watering hole for cows after feeding on grasses all over Kafagway.

Its clusters that cater to the interests of the young and old public park goers include the Burnham Lake, Children Playground, Skating Rink, Rose Garden, Orchidarium, Igorot Park, Melvin Jones Grandstand, Athletic Bowl, Picnic Grove, Japanese Peace Tower, Pine Trees of the World and Sunshine Park.

To date the declaration of Burnham Park as a Significant Historical Site, it pends to National Historical Commission of the Philippines the requirements need to be submitted.
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