Thursday, October 2, 2014

Safa Park

Safa Park April 2014

My heart broke a bit today.  There is a large canal project that started in Dubai last year that will run right through the city.  There was a lot of discussion when it was presented to the public because the fate of the city's beloved Safa Park was at question.

I read several articles in the local papers, and I seem to recall reading on more than one occasion that the park would remain as is, and the water was going to run next to it.  As of today, I am not so sure.
Foggy Morning Safa Park Field Trip

Every morning as I take my six year old son to school or drive to work I pass the park and witness the progress.  The trees in the parking lot on the Sheikh Zayed Road side where cleared to make way for new roads.  This did not surprise me as I expected the parking lot to go.

Fast forward to today as I drove along the side of the park and there I saw the demolition happening inside the park. How can this be?  I was speechless.

My favorite tree in Safa Park

My son was with me and equally shocked.  He started to talk about how sad many of the trees looked, and began to label them.  "Happy, sad, happy, sad, sad, happy..." The number of sad trees quickly outnumbered the happy ones.  He then realized the fate of the trees along the perimeter and several meters into the park.  These will all be cut down.

I am not a typical tree hugger, but my heart aches a bit to write that sentence.

Safa park was a gathering place for many.  It was representative of Dubai with all the many walks of life and cultures enjoying the largest, urban green space in Dubai.  It has been around since at least the 1970s, maybe longer.  For a country that is only 42 years old, it is an important landmark.

Citizens and residents would go there to meet, enjoy time off with their family, play sports, do yoga, enjoy the new cafe that opened, visit the  market, read a book, take a school trip, and more.  Just a quick Google search for Safa Park and its significance is quickly understood.
Burj Khalifa Overlooking Safa Park

We had my son's birthday party there earlier this year.  He liked it so much he was considering it again for next year.

I see the other areas that Dubai has developed and they are beautiful once finished.  They landscape and care for them well, and there have been many new parks that have come up in the last several years I have lived here.

I appreciate them all, but Safa Park has this unexplainable soul.  As soon as you enter the park gates, there is an energetic calm given off from all the nature there.  Perhaps this is why so many of those trees look sad long before the construction has reached them.  The impact of demolishing one side is felt by the other.  It is very interesting how nature is in synch this way.

Watching my son & husband in Safa Park

Many of the pictures I have seen of the development look nice.  Some look green, which is good, but in the meantime it is heart breaking to watch. As the cooler months set in, and the seasonal birds migrate through they will find their beloved park in a different state.

I feel a little helpless and at a loss for words as I write about this.  I am a resident of Dubai and maybe it is not my place to share this opinion.  Perhaps, but I love that park, its nature and what it represents for Dubai.

So often, I really wish the way forward did not come with a price of something that seemed so perfect in the first place.

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