A stretch of ground in Orange Farm along a natural dam, once a dumping ground, has been rehabilitated and is now a beautiful park and wetland.
EXCITED and delighted residents marvelled at the beauty of their new Lakeside Park, which opened in Orange Farm on Tuesday, 1 February.
Executive mayor Amos masondo plants a tree at Lakeside parkExecutive mayor Amos Masondo plants a tree at Lakeside ParkThe R4,5-million multifunctional park was recently completed by Johannesburg City Parks; it is the latest step in the City’s comprehensive strategy to the green the environment.
Executive Mayor Amos Masondo and a group of mayoral committee members attended the park’s opening, held to mark World Wetlands Day. The day is celebrated on 2 February every year to underline the importance of protecting wetlands and preserving marshes.
Lakeside Park, which stretches along a natural dam and storm-water catchment area, was transformed from a neglected dumping ground riddled with water contamination and crime.
It now has a butterfly themed garden that has been landscaped with trees, water features, paved pathways and tranquil picnic areas, a soccer field, playgrounds, braai facilities and a communal food garden.
Arriving at the facility, the mayoral party was shown around the food garden and the park by City Parks officials. They were impressed by the vegetables that were being produced by the community. Some of the produce is already being bought by the local Pick n Pay.
Speaking at the celebrations, Masondo encouraged people to support programmes aimed at restoring wetlands. “Wetlands play an important role in acting as a sponge during high rainfall periods and further act as a reservoir to store carbon, which is important in combating the impact of climate change,” he said.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has identified wetlands as one of the most important life support systems on the planet. But inland and coastal wetlands are being damaged and degraded faster than any other type of ecosystem. This means that people all around the world are becoming more vulnerable to flooding, drought and storms.
Masondo also spoke about the success of the Klipriver/Klipspruit Rehabilitation project in Soweto.
A thriving garden (Photo: Enoch lehung, City of Johannesburg)A thriving communal food garden (Photo: Enoch lehung, City of Johannesburg)Residents adjacent to new parks along the Klipriver have become more involved in the daily operations of their parks, which has resulted in a marked decrease in illegal dumping, graffiti, litter and vandalism.
Some 3 200 trees have been distributed to households in this neighbourhood to further support the City’s greening programme. “This lays a foundation for the transformation of the greater Orange Farm area into a greener oasis in the few coming years,” said Masondo.
The community was also encouraged to respect the park by the member of the mayoral committee for environment, Matshidiso Mfikoe. “This is your park and you need to report damage and vandalism to City Parks rangers,” she said.
The councillor for Ward Two, Silwayiphi Mkhize, thanked the City for providing an ideal place for people in the community to enjoy the outdoors. “It is a tremendous asset to our community and I am proud to be part of it,” said Mkhize.
Skhumbuzo Mthimkhulu, an Orange Farm resident was delighted, saying he would make good use of the facility. “It is a great place to have fun,” he said, explaining that previously he travelled to Soweto’s Thokoza Park “to hang around”.
Joburg has opened several parks in recent years. In August 2010, for example, it opened a medicinal park in Vlakfontein, south of the city centre. The Vlakfontein Medicinal Park provides an abundance of medicinal plants to treat various ailments, from the rich traditions of the Xhosa, Zulu, San and Khoi, Tswana and others.
The 19 000 square metre park was developed at a cost of R2,5-million and serves approximately 9 000 residents in Vlakfontein.
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