Persons who usually go up to the North Post Heritage Park for a 'breeze out' and barbecue lime during the two days of Carnival experienced shock and disappointment when they met the place overgrown with tall bushes and the main shed collapsed.
Though the steep slope still affords a lovely view of the Caribbean Sea and the cool breezes blowing in are still part of the welcoming ambience of the Park, the condition of the immediate area offers no safety nor relaxation.
We contacted the North Post Enhancement Organisation, a 40-plus group that acts as custodian of the Park. We learned that the two Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) gangs that comprised people from the area were dismantled over two years ago. The Park has been left largely in abandonment despite the Organisation's attempts to restore some level of its former state.
The North Post Heritage Park sits at the head of the Diego Martin Valley and is sited on state land. However an area comprising 20 acres of the total acreage is usually cleared for the
park. The Diego Martin Regional Corporation had taken the decision to prioritise work in improving this Park. There were donations of breakers, wiring, a meter-box for lighting the area and other essentials but these were all stolen. Since then, nothing has been done to return the Park to its former state.
In its glory days, the park placed second in the Tidy T&T Competition. Several cultural programmes were staged annually including parang at Christmas and 'Pan in de pine' around Carnival time. During the annual Great Race event, as many as 400 people were catered for with bake and shark, souse, mauby and other local foods. The Park is always one of the best vantage points to view the Race. Regular all fours tournaments have also been held on the grounds under the pine trees.
The park is also a base for hike-a-thons over the hills at the head of Bagatelle, Covigne then down into Tucker Valley, Macqueripe. Church groups and health watchers usually come to the park for its wholesome atmosphere.
In 2003, our Outfit HUDHUE Trail Blazing and Conservation Outfit was the first to camp under the pine in the Park during the last leg of our Northern Range Hike-a-thon.
Just recently, the first shed sited near the entrance to the park collapsed. The wood had rotted for lack of maintenance. The other large shed sited deeper inside the park shows signs of imminent collapse as its structure is in an advanced stage of decay. The pine trees throughout the area are now lost in a tangle of tall bushes and grasses.
Original plans drawn up by the North Post Enhancement Organisation feature signages, facilities, an established camping area, security, food court, amphitheatre and a small administrative building that blends into the natural ambience of the Park.
Most urgent though is the need for funding to get the proper wood and posts to rebuild the collapsed main shed. An urgent meeting with the Diego Martin Regional Corporation to call for the re-introduction of the URP gangs is also a priority. The people in the area depend on the work to earn decent livelihood and without the work of these gangs to maintain a clear and safe Park, the park cannot return to its former beauty and popularity.