Locked out. New timings of Al Nahda Park took morning walkers by surprise on Monday Image Credit: Abhishek Sengupta/XPRESS

Sharjah: A sudden change of timings of a popular community park in Sharjah has thrown the morning regimes of scores into disarray and left many fuming.

Al Nahda Park that lies in the heart of the bustling Al Nahda neighbourhood has for years opened its doors to the public daily from 6am. But on Monday, park goers were greeted by a curt handwritten notice hung at the ground’s closed gates saying: “The park will be open from 8am. Thank you.”

When XPRESS visited the site, the guard on duty offered no explanation. However, some morning walkers said they were told it was apparently part of the Sharjah Municipality’s move to standardise the opening hours of the emirate’s 50-odd parks.

An official comment from the Sharjah municipality was not immediately available, but a staff did confirm that most parks in Sharjah currently do not open to the public before 8am. Al Nahda Park’s new timing however has not gone down well with park regulars.

Schedule in tatters

“I have been coming here every morning at 6am for eight years. My entire schedule has now gone awry,” said Sreejith, who is planning to file a complaint to the Sharjah Municipality to restore the park’s original opening time.

“It’s not just me who feels this way. There are at least hundred others affected by this sudden change and all of us are willing to sign the plea,” added the Indian man. Filipina Cecil said she was upset because she won’t be able to do her morning workout with her friends anymore. “Earlier we would walk for half an hour from 6.30am before doing some yoga on the greens, but now with the new timings that won’t happen as we leave for work by 7.30am,” she said.

It’s the same for dozens of office goers like Vinan, Alex and Razzaq who say they have all been using the park’s 600x600-metre walking tracks and greens for callisthenics every morning before leaving for work.

New mum Aliyah said the new park timings inconvenience people like her too. “We come every morning with our babies for a stroll in the park when the sun is still not out. It’s not the same at 8am. Even as a homemaker it’s not feasible for us to go out at that time. It’s really late,” she said. Many other elderly men, women and housewives echoed the same sentiment.