Controversy over Feria Mecanica

A controversy has arisen over the cutting down of trees on the grounds of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center in order to make room for the traveling amusement park known as the Feria Mecanica. The Ministry of Sports, Juan Marichal, has denied that the trees will be cut down, claiming that some are only being pruned and that there is no mass felling planned.

The issue caught the public’s attention when ex-President Joaquin Balaguer criticized the action of the Sports Ministry and its contract with a Canadian company to accommodate the Feria Mecanica. The fair visited Santo Domingo at the end of 1995 but was erected on wasteland at the western end of the Malecon as it did at the end of 1995. Dr. Balaguer’s condemned the felling of the trees, which is the method he believed would be implemented to clear the area.

Mr. Marichal says that Dr Balaguer has been erroneously advised, and that the ecology of the Olympic Center will not be damaged by the pruning of the trees.

Despite Mr. Marichal’s comments, the National Attorney General ordered a halt to the cutting down and/or pruning of the trees on 28 October, further fueling the controversy.

The Feria Mecanica was erected on the 30 de mayo highway (Malecon) last year, despite the objection of Santo Domingo Mayor Rafael Subervi Bonilla, who claimed that the amusement park would pose an ecological hazard to the city.