Hutchinson Park extension planned

2015-10-14 06:00
The fence around the park has been damaged and the Ilanda Wilds fence have been removed which has resulted in dumping and poses a safety. At the bottom of the picture is the pedestrian path running through to Hutchison Park.
Tania Sandberg

The fence around the park has been damaged and the Ilanda Wilds fence have been removed which has resulted in dumping and poses a safety. At the bottom of the picture is the pedestrian path running through to Hutchison Park. Photo: Tania Sandberg

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AMANZIMTOTI Sports Centre (ASC) is looking to extend Hutchison Park to Ilanda Wilds. “Currently Ilanda Wilds falls under Natural Resources and Conservation while the ASC, in partnership with eThekwini Municipality Parks Department, manages Hutchison­ Park as a public private initiative,” said ASC chairman, Craig Chamier.

The ASC is hoping to raise public awareness around the sports centre and would welcome public support. The extended land can be utilised to create a unique sports, re-creational and general public area for the community. In the map (top right), the area that comprises Ilanda Wilds is highlighted in dark grey.

“ASC is already utilising parts of Ilanda Wilds for mountain-bike tracks, cross-country events and is a popular area for the public to walk their dogs. Priority number one is to re-fence from Hutchison Park, along Riverside Road to the start of the old River Gardens (private property),” he added.

Chamier said the area along Riverside Road and the entrance at pump house no two, which has no controlled access, is an eyesore and is effectively being used as a dump site by all and sundry.

“We are also hoping to connect this area to the King Shaka Park on the other side of the river with a pedestrian-cycling bridge,” he added.

“Managing the area proposes a few challenges, most important is safety and pollution. Another challenge has been that exotic plants are prolific in the Ilanda Wilds area and while an effort was made four years ago, a sustainable plan has not been put into place. At the moment, Natural Resources and Conservation is busy with another clean up.

“We do not have any permanent staff and are relying on EPWP to assist us,” said supervisor Bongani Nzama.

He said the current team of 17 contract workers is a combined team from the bird park, KwaMakhutha and Umgababa. “It is difficult to put a sustainable plan into place as their contract ends on 30 December and for it to be renewed will need to be motivated. The challenge of working with EPWP is also that we have to constantly train new workers,” Nzama added.

A long-term plan that connects Hutchison Park to Ilanda Wilds can be beneficial to all.

“Investors are hesitant to invest in Hutchison­ Park as ASC was only granted a short-term lease of the buildings situated on the Toti Oval, which also houses the sub- tenants, Lords and Legends. Despite doing all in our power to secure a long-term lease in 2010, only a short-term lease was secured. This is a problem facing many sporting bodies in the municipality,” Chamier said.

“I believe Hutchison Park is the life of Toti­ and we will strive to make it a park we are proud of. We want to provide the best possible facilities, in a clean and safe environment for our affiliates. At the same time we hope to create an environment for the public to enjoy social and recreational activities­,” he added.

“In creating a sustainable park, all funds generated are reinvested back into the park. The ASC is also looking for members of the public to assist us in the fight with the alien vegetation eradication. “Toti Conservancy is one of our affiliates and we are working closely with Laura Taylor and her team on the way forward.” The “go-to-ladies” for information on the park are Gugu Khanyeza at or ASC secretary, Cathy Colley at Colleycathy@

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