x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Parks and recreation hot topics on new call-in programme

Pleas for gyms and swimming pools at some parks were among suggestions made to Dubai Municipality's "Managers on Air"

DUBAI // Pleas for gyms and swimming pools at some parks were among suggestions made by callers to Dubai Municipality's "Managers on Air" initiative, launched yesterday. The Public Parks and Horticulture Department received more than 20 calls from residents and a lack of dedicated parks and recreational areas was the hot topic for discussion. Ahmed Abdul Karim, the director of the department, sat through the two-hour session and said the response to the call-in programme had been positive.

"Along with the public, the department also benefited a lot as we got to be in direct contact with our clients." Most complaints, which ranged from calls for more lavatories to improved landscaping in public spaces, were valid, he said. "We had a few female callers as well who inquired about the ladies' day at Jumeirah beach park and another lady caller suggested swimming pools for ladies in these parks."

Authorities expect the call-in programme to attract a wider audience as word spreads about the initiative. The callers represented a range of nationalities, including Emiratis, Indians and other Asians. "Some Asian callers suggested more cricket pitches in the community parks. Presently, there is just one cricket pitch in Dubai, which is at the Zabeel Park in Bur Dubai. This is a useful suggestion and we consider it seriously," said Mr Karim.

The comments, suggestions and complaints raised by the public would be taken seriously and all efforts would be made by Dubai Municipality to correct flaws and simplify procedures, he added. He did warn, however, that adding new facilities to the parks could result in increased entry fees. The job of hosting the programme will be rotated among the various departments that have direct contact with customers.

During the next Managers on Air session, which is planned for Aug 27, Khalid Mohammed Shareef, the director of the Food Control Department, will join other senior officials from the department to address the public's concerns. Future sessions will feature the Public Health Services, Waste Management and Environment departments. Residents interested in talking with staff from the Food Control Department on Aug 27 can call on the toll free number: 800-4999.

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