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Why Residents Worry About Entertainment Hubs

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A family strolls down Ariapita Avenue in Woodbrook.Photo by Ayanna Kinsale
A family strolls down Ariapita Avenue in Woodbrook.Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

Residents of WOODBROOK want more meaningful and convenient development that preserves and complements the community’s historic value.

The 111-year-old community was sold to the Port of Spain Town Board in 1911. Victorian gingerbread cottages and the National Trust’s Lapeyrose Cemetery are footprints in the area.

The oldest of the 32 streets is named after a British general.

It’s also home to Mandela Park, formerly known as George IV Park, with a rich history sprouting from the Woodbrook Estate, owned by the Seegert family, who made Angostura bitters.

Over the years, Woodbrook has been one of the fastest growing communities in the country.

But within the last 20 years it has seen a new face, becoming the nightlife and entertainment hub of Port of Spain.

However, residents feel their community is not meant to be an entertainment hub.

The change has revolutionized the area attracting more business activity, but residents said they were stifled by the ongoing expansion.

People line up on Ariapita Street, an entertainment nightspot. Photo by Sureash Cholai

According to residents, Woodbrook is becoming “one big restroom” for patrons. They said they had been confined to their homes on several occasions due to illegal parking issues. If they don’t have to deal with parking, problems of prostitution, social displacement, robbery, and excessive insults and harassment from patrons surface.

Every Sunday morning, their driveway is littered with feces, trash, and vomit from people who were partaking in the weekend’s activities.

Speaking to Sunday Newsday, they explained that enough was enough, and promised to do everything in their power to restore it to its pristine condition.

They understand that change is inevitable, but they do not accept change that would compromise their peace, comfort, and security.

They deny being against development, but prefer to have suggestions for improving the community.

“We grew up with business, but it’s not what happens on Arriapita Street,” Lynette Dolly, the head of the Woodbrook Residents’ Committee, said in an interview Wednesday.

In the past, Woodbrook’s business has provided a hassle-free service, she said.

“Keep us moving forward. We have grown and are 60 years independent. If you want heritage tourism, let us show you that we have the best practices and we can deliver it.”

“People who left were evicted from their homes. We were horrified by the nuisance and were forced to sell.”

Dolly said these problems started when casinos came along.

The problem was exacerbated when bars and clubs were allowed to operate inside the residences.

Residents want more schools, century-old churches, and other essential services to become historic and more, in line with the vision of Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell and Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez. I predict it will be replaced by bars and entertainment venues.

And because we believe the judiciary, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the Woodbrook business community, the police, and the government have refused to acknowledge the level of stress and inconvenience we are currently experiencing.

In May residents complained to the mayor during the city’s public corporation’s monthly statutory meeting about the increasing number of socially displaced persons taking up residence on the streets. Many of them occupy space in Augustus Williams Park. Martinez said he was doing his best to address the issue and called on the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services to do its part.

Last week, police revealed a new gang of car thieves targeting Laimer as he parked his car along a side street on Ariapita Avenue.

They are disappointed that the proposal, which they believe could further interfere with their lives, is being considered, even after years of series of consultations.

Cars parked in front of houses on Lewis Street off Ariapita Avenue in Woodbrook on the night of July 28. Photo credit: Sureash Cholai

Commission member Cecil George asked officials to say what the real intentions behind the “epicenter” proposal were. , despair, what is determination? Who benefits? We have come so far to be something different from ourselves in this despair. “

One resident said he had to wait an hour before leaving his house.

She said, “[I]found trash from cars parked on the street, used condoms, bottles, food cartons, and prostitutes peeing on the sidewalk between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. I did,” he explained.

Another resident, who identified herself as Cynthia, said the entertainment scheme was “ridiculous and would only bring an additional element of dishonesty to Woodbrook, harassing residents with noise, illegal parking, blocked driveways, vandalism of property, armed robberies and attacks.” It just annoys me,” he explained. And burglary…”

“Thugs broke into my house with guns, demanded money and beat my family despite all kinds of security. My family had to be hospitalized. We didn’t, all because we have all these activities across Avenue and Woodbrook.”

“At the carnival trucks are pulling my wires, so I had to come to the cable company, phone company, and electric company and ask them to put my line back in. Now, this entertainment and If there’s a promotional track all year round, will I now be subject to year-round disruption of essential services?”

“They should revive downtown Port of Spain and put their entertainment plans there instead of on Woodbrook Boulevard and elsewhere. You can make all the sounds you want in and your urine and face can fertilize the soil there.

Retired Antoinette, who gave only her first name, explained what was happening as punishment.

“Why should we the residents of Woodbrook be punished? We have to live with this every year. Noise, crime, inconvenience, filth. Others here for a few hours.” Come and return to a safe and peaceful life for rest and rejuvenation.”

Another resident claimed Rymer threw bottles at the house, smashed the gates, and rang the doorbell as he passed between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Residents hope the mayor and minister will consider all these factors before asking residents to embrace his vision for the community.

They said such proposals are suitable for Queen’s Park Savannah, downtown Port of Spain, or Chaguaramas.

Their further frustration followed an announcement by Mitchell on July 26th.

The Tribe Family of Band’s SUNSETWKN (Sunset Weekend) speeches took place along Ariapita Avenue. Mitchell said he wanted to turn the street into a party strip.

This will allow for a full month of launching a weekend band that captures the essence of Carnival and the culture of TT while also attracting regional and international tourists outside of Carnival, he said.Police, TT Promoter The Association of Bar Owners, the Association of Bar Owners, and the Carnival Band headquartered in the area have all expressed a willingness to work closely with residents to ensure that they can coexist comfortably with each other.

Addressing the issue of unbearable noise levels, the EMA told Sunday Newsday that it is working to control noise pollution not just at Woodbrook but across the country.

The EMA explained in an email that the lifting of covid19 restrictions has resulted in a significant increase in noise-related complaints and that the country is now back to pre-covid19 levels of noise complaints.

EMA has had and been invited to talks sponsored by the TTPS/Woodbrook community and City Corporation in the past, but no talks have taken place regarding the Ariapita Avenue Strip and the epicenter of the year-round carnival/festival. He said he was unaware of what had happened.

In this regard, he said, he strongly recommended extensive consultations with multiple stakeholders.

Most of the reports from the agency’s complaint hotline relate to noise.

It uses a multi-pronged approach, stating that combating the scourge of noise pollution requires a whole-of-society approach.

“This includes a reduction in monitoring timeframes for activities taking place on noise fluctuation permits and recent enhancements to the legal framework through continued dialogue with the police, the TT Fete Promoters Association and the TT Bar Owners Association. included.

The EMA is also conducting a further review of the Noise Pollution Control Regulation (NPCR) to help strengthen strong legislation. The authorities are also embarking on awareness campaigns.

We have received numerous complaints about noise levels from bar and club owners.

“With this in mind, EMA continues to meet with the TT Bar Owners Association and seek their active involvement in increasing the visibility of our membership.”

EMA encourages citizens to call the police and report noise pollution from bars and clubs.

Under Section 70 of the Summary Crimes Code, public nuisance is punishable by a fine of $1,500 or imprisonment for six months.

Following a June meeting with police to discuss joint partnerships to combat noise pollution, EMA is now preparing future engagements with the service, including training and capacity building on noise monitoring.

Limits set by the Noise Pollution Control Regulations:

Me.General area

Daytime restrictions: Monday through Sunday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm:

of. The sound pressure level, when measured as an equivalent continuous sound pressure level, shall not exceed 5 dBA (decibels A) above the background sound pressure level.

b. The sound pressure level when measured as the instantaneous unweighted peak sound pressure level shall not exceed 120 dB (peak).

Notwithstanding the foregoing, no person shall produce or cause to produce any sound that produces a sound pressure level in excess of 80 dBA when measured as an equivalent continuous sound pressure level.

Nightly Restrictions: Every Monday through Sunday from 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM:

of. The sound pressure level, when measured as an equivalent continuous sound pressure level, shall not be more than 5 dBA above the background sound pressure level.

b. The sound pressure level when measured as the instantaneous unweighted peak sound pressure level shall not exceed 115 dB (peak).

Notwithstanding the foregoing, no person shall produce or cause to produce any sound whose sound pressure level exceeds 65 dBA when measured as an equivalent continuous sound pressure level.