Plan to renew Elsieskraal

2018-05-22 06:00
Some of the residents involved in making the plan a reality. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Some of the residents involved in making the plan a reality. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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With environmental changes hitting hard in Cape Town, a group of local residents feel that a little bit of effort can prevent severe consequences.

They have joined hands to establish a plan to renew the local Elsieskraal Canal and restore it to its river state.

The residents had their first meeting at the canal on the evening of Tuesday 15 May to discuss the way forward. They are hoping to work closely with their local council to come up with a date for a public meeting where the concept will be verbally communicated to everyone­.

Currently their Facebook page has 144 followers, most of whom are in favour of the idea.

The river, which is now known as a canal due to the high concrete sides, runs from the side of Bellville past Elsies River and down to near the N2 where it pours into the Liesbeek River. It was transformed into a canal about 20 years ago, which resulted in the death of the natural vegetation and impacted on its heritage significance in the community, locals say.

Although the canal is cleaned occasionally by Expanded Public Works Programme employees, residents say the canal is known as nothing more than a dull space that poses a risk to bypassing pedestrians.

These residents believe that this situation can change and the river can be turned into a space that unites the community.

Founder, Rachel Mash, says since the idea was shared through a Facebook page, more ideas on how it could be developed have flooded in.

“The aim is to bring life to this dead river and promote biodiversity within our community. Should that be a success and we have support, there is a lot that will be done. People have come up with ideas of creating a bike lane, a pedestrian way, a small park for gatherings, and the ploughing back of indigenous plants protecting natural vegetation. All that would be implemented once we have successfully revived this river.”

Mash says they understand that due to the concrete, it will take years for the canal to become a river again, but healthy and well-maintained surroundings will make a difference.

“An expert has advised that a first step of bringing it back to life is by leaving natural vegetation growing within the canal undisturbed as it will speed up the cracking of the concrete and bring back that feel of a natural flowing river,” she says.

Another resident, Jacqui Tooke, says she is happy to be part of this initiative. She says it will create a safe space for everyone in Pinelands while playing a role in conserving nature. She says the city is currently facing severe environmental changes that have negatively affected natural resources, thus indirectly affecting citizens.

She appeals to local organisations, residents and businesses to support the idea.

Mash says all interested parties are advised to adopt a portion of the river and do something to improve it.

She says there will also be weekly clean-ups where interested parties will meet and share ideas.V To find out more, visit the Facebook page: Renew the Elsieskraal River.

With environmental changes hitting hard in Cape Town, a group of local residents feel that a little bit of effort can prevent severe consequences.

They have joined hands to establish a plan to renew the local Elsieskraal Canal and restore it to its river state.

The residents had their first meeting at the canal on the evening of Tuesday 15 May to discuss the way forward. They are hoping to work closely with their local council to come up with a date for a public meeting where the concept will be verbally communicated to everyone­.

Currently their Facebook page has 144 followers, most of whom are in favour of the idea.

The river, which is now known as a canal due to the high concrete sides, runs from the side of Bellville past Elsies River and down to near the N2 where it pours into the Liesbeek River.

It was transformed into a canal about 20 years ago, which resulted in the death of the natural vegetation and impacted on its heritage significance in the community, locals say.

Although the canal is cleaned occasionally by Expanded Public Works Programme employees, residents say the canal is known as nothing more than a dull space that poses a risk to bypassing pedestrians. These residents believe that this situation can change and the river can be turned into a space that unites the community.

Founder, Rachel Mash, says since the idea was shared through a Facebook page, more ideas on how it could be developed have flooded in.“The aim is to bring life to this dead river and promote biodiversity within our community. Should that be a success and we have support, there is a lot that will be done. People have come up with ideas of creating a bike lane, a pedestrian way, a small park for gatherings, and the ploughing back of indigenous plants protecting natural vegetation. All that would be implemented once we have successfully revived this river.”

Mash says they understand that due to the concrete, it will take years for the canal to become a river again, but healthy and well-maintained surroundings will make a difference.

“An expert has advised that a first step of bringing it back to life is by leaving natural vegetation growing within the canal undisturbed as it will speed up the cracking of the concrete and bring back that feel of a natural flowing river,” she says.

Another resident, Jacqui Tooke, says she is happy to be part of this initiative. She says it will create a safe space for everyone in Pinelands while playing a role in conserving nature.

V To find out more, visit the Facebook page: Renew the Elsieskraal River.

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