Dubai: With Dubai Municipality brainstorming ways to develop Safa Park, Gulf News caught up with park users to get their view on the iconic oasis located in the heart of the city.
Opened in 1975, the park has long been a popular family attraction with plenty of space for sports activities, picnics and barbeques. However, in 2016, a part of the park had to make way for the Dubai Canal project leading to changes that residents still have mixed feelings about.
Talib Julfar, CEO of Dubai Municipality for Infrastructure Services Sector told Gulf News, “There are some adjustments being currently made to the garden areas. The Municipality is conducting research on visitors’ needs and putting together a strategic plan to further develop the park. We’re in the process of organising some brainstorming sessions to improve the park.”
Farah Jabak, a mother of three, said, “The park was more spacious before the Dubai Canal Project. It was the best park in Dubai and the most crowded. Now there’s barely anyone. We’ve been coming here for seven years but lately there’s too much construction around the area that we rarely come as often. There used to be a beautiful pond here as well and it’s such a loss that it was removed. It is still a spacious park that has not lost its appeal,” she added.
Mary Joy, a visual designer, agreed, “For 10 years my family and I have been visiting this park almost every week. I love how quiet it is and it is a great place to relax. My children used to love the pond with the fishes, we were so disappointed that it was removed. The canal is beautiful and we love walking there but it did affect the park negatively for me. I preferred the park before these adjustments.”
Amna Al Fahim, an Emirati who lives right on the canal, added, “Initially the canal made living in the area difficult, it would take me 30 minutes to drive out of my own neighbourhood. The park got cut down because of more projects and more buildings. Dubai does not need more buildings; it needs more green. The community made more use of the park than the canal. The canal is a great attraction but it was not necessary to cut down the park for it.”
Others believed the canal had added to the aesthetics however.
Don Ravindu, a regular park visitor, added, “The canal and the bridge are beautiful additions beside this park. The view is better now and more people are coming to this area. My family and I have enjoyed this park for eight years”.
Ousman Gosta, who plays football in the park, said, “My team and I from Cameron football club have been coming to this park to practice for years. The water is an essential addition to this city, it adds that natural element that reminds me of home.”
Anna Krasnova, cabin crew, said, “The nature of my job has allowed me to travel and see many parks around the world. Safa Park is definitely comparable to international parks and is a beautiful destination.”