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Planners warn against public facility conversion

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The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Lagos Chapter has cautioned against unauthorized conversion of public use facilities like car parks into estates.

The Chairman of the Chapter, Adebisi Adediri raised the concerns on the sidelines of the 70th birthday of town planner Makinde Ogunleye, in Lagos.
He said, the public needs to understand that car parks as provided in any master plan are public facilitie, which shouldn’t be converted for other uses either by the government or individuals.

“We are aware that Lagos State has a high housing deficit but converting car parking spaces to make provision for residential buildings isn’t the right way to go. These facilities exist to solve certain traffic and transportation issues. At the moment we are facing serious traffic congestion on our road, some of which is as a result of on-street parking. I am glad that the government is already addressing the issue of on-street parking”.

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However, he reiterated that the most effective way of addressing the issue is by creating public car parks and henceforth stopping the conversion of these facilities. According to him, the development control mechanism to be used is prompt implementation of the car parks as reserved in the model city plans adding that if the car parks are functional, it becomes difficult to convert.

He therefore urged citizens to serve as monitoring officers for the government and consistently speak up whenever they notice any infractions.

“The Lagos State Government just established the Physical Planning Appeals Committee in the State. They could report to this committee and from there necessary steps would be taken. This committee is also a development control mechanism that can be used.”

Speaking on the contributions of Makinde Ogunleye to the profession, Adediri charged young planners in the country to emulate his good virtues, stating that his commitment to the profession is unparalleled.

“There are very few senior colleagues that have shown constant support and commitments to the Chapter. One of them is Makinde Ogunleye. He is always ready to serve in any committee. This is an example of selflessness, commitment and leadership. He mentored several junior officers when he was in the Lagos State Civil Service. So, I think young planners can learn all of these from him. They need to show consistency in their dedication to the Profession and the Institute”, he said.

The former President, Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), Moses Ogunleye who was the guest lecturer charged practitioners to improve on commitment to professional service delivery as exemplified by the celebrant.

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