ABOUT 520 people have signed a petition protesting the rezoning of Shirley Park in Lautoka.
The rezoning was first proposed by the Lautoka City Council to allow for the construction of a hotel in the park.
However, a group of ratepayers and members of the community are against the proposal citing the park as an important area of Lautoka City.
After handing in the petition to the council office on Monday, spokeswoman Maude Elbourne said while they agreed with development for Lautoka City and the employment it would generate, there should be no commercialisation of the park at any cost, especially when there were other areas in the city that could be developed.
She said there was a recent trend to build inside the green park areas of Lautoka citing the ongoing development at both ends of Churchill Park.
"The council, our urban planners and the acting Minister for Local Government should recognise the importance of the bio-diversity and ecological contributions that the park's central location added to the city landscape," she said.
"The community valued its panoramic views of the waterfront and free flow of fresh air into the park and city.
"I hope good city planning sense and decisions prevail here and that all the stakeholders will be able to find another place for the hotel."
Ms Elbourne said there was concern by many residents that the development in Shirley Park would go ahead anyway.
Meanwhile, Lautoka City Council CEO Jone Nakauvadra confirmed the council had received a number of objections. "We have received a few objections and that is something that we are assessing right now," Mr Nakauvadra said.