January 2017 catch up

WEST BANK

The homeless issue has been an ongoing one not just this year but for the last 10 years.  For 6 of those 10 FOFS has been actively trying to get the bank developed as that is the only way to clear the problem permanently and not just move it somewhere else.

We have negotiated with Forest Farm who own half that bank,  on  numerous occasions as they own the “The  Golden Mile” ie. the Nichol frontage from Italtile to their property. Field and Study Park’s part of that bank lies below their land which, if we could have incorporated it in a joint development,  would have provided the finance needed for our half to develop it into something aesthetically acceptable. FOFS architect Francois Pienaar has done an armful of plans for this over the years and there have been proposals from others for a Retirement Village, Adventureland,  and a Dinosaur Park amongst others.

Late 2014, after many meetings, presentations etc. we had got Joburg Property Co and Forest Farm together, JPC had appointed Consultants, more meetings etc.  and in March 2015 the Consultants and Forest Farm were to have 3 final meetings and hopes were high.

JPC did not attend any of the scheduled meetings – no explanations. To cut a long story short, as it stands today (11th Jan)  there is no joint development on the table, Forest Farm are going  to go ahead with their plans which I am told are stunning and we – the Park – have now lost out on the chance to benefit from the Nichol frontage above us with them.  Francois Pienaar had submitted equally stunning plans for our section of Nichol frontage as had the consultants.

There are many hoops to jump thru for Forest Farm to comply with Council requirements to do what they want to do ie. a full EIA has to be undertaken and Public Participation.  These will take a long time – 2/3 years to get through them all before we see action on the ground.

What will happen to our section of the Bank is the big question at the moment.  We will continue to keep in contact with JPC and FFarm and closely monitor our bank.

OTHER

GUARDS

Kya Guards arrived on the 1st Feb. after years of asking.  It was decided to put them on the second field where most of the activity takes place with a walk around the entire park at different times. They also take note of people on their own, who is in the Park as well as monitor functions etc. As one is frequently a woman she needs male support when confronting  difficult situations. They are in radio contact with ADT/24/7 their head office and each other.  The guardhouse at the gate is completely vandalized.

NOTE. We have not had one incident of crime reported since they arrived. They are greeted and known by many park users.

MARKET

This is growing and greatly enjoyed.  It will resume  on the SECOND SATURDAY of the month from now on starting on the 11th February and has a name change.   FIELD MARKET will be it’s name from now on.

We had the DECEMBER invasion of Burial Society picnics, with the resulting mess at times but that is what happens despite us handing out bags to groups and not always their fault. Dogs tear them open when stacked and the sorters do the same. It is not possible for Parks to be there every day and we are but one Park that suffers that fate at this time of year. Complainers – this is not a perfect world we live in. We and Parks  do our best. 2015 FOFS paid  to clean up. Join FOFS and help us keep the Park the way you want it to be. Membership on website – www.fofs.co.za.

There was a subtle attempt to establish a DOGGY DAY CARE Centre on the first field of the Park done in a rather underhand way. We made it clear to them and Parks that we would get the community to object.  NO-ONE is going to take away our open space for any venture.

We have had a proposal for a PARK RUN every Sunday early am to 10am for 500 people.While this is a great family fun activity Field & Study has limited access and parking problems and it means we would have 500 people running round and round the perimeter of the Park.  We do not feel this is good for the Park, area traffic and the number of cars would jam up the Park.

Three DOG biting incidents, one lady bitten twice.  Children frightened by bounding over friendly dogs and the few who spoil it for the many. The on leash/off leash debate is ongoing.

We have LOST 5 oak trees so far not to mention many iconic Gum trees due to disease. Parks feel they should come down – some have been cut already – but more remain. There is a debate as to whether they should or shouldn’t. Parks feel they are a danger to the users as they are dropping branches and bark. Now it’s the oaks, to cut or not? Comments??

More were planted on SPRUIT DAY, thank you Parks. The play equipment  maintenance is costly and ongoing  and   each year a major  oiling and painting  is done  by FOFS who also managed, with the help of the PCA, to get the rocking boat brought in from George Lea.

We managed to get one of the first cuts of the year. Both fields were cut . The lower portions  under the trees and along the river desperately need the mowers as it is now not pleasant to walk through the thick uncut grass.  I  have visited the Depot at least once a week  in an effort to get a proper cut. Today (20th) a tractor arrived and cut the 2nd field! No Mowers!!  Our Depot is under equipped and understaffed just to add to the problem. A promise for Monday.

The EROSION of the wier and the trees continues to get worse with each storm. FOFS has had three trees removed from the river so far and another three are going to fall soon.  This is the responsibility of JRA which I have been on about for years as the banks continue to erode away. We got it on the Chronicle front page which elicited a comment from JRA that a ‘study’ was being done of the Braamfontein river banks and should produce something in 5 months.  Time will tell.

FIELD AND STUDY PARK is a priceless green lung in the heart of Sandton enjoyed by those who know it’s there.  Please join FOFS – Friends of the Field & Study (Park) – NPC  www.fofs.co.za – and help us preserve this beautiful place  from those who would interfere with it in any way ie. Council, Developers and others.  It belongs to the community albeit Council owned AND IT IS HERITAGE LAND WHICH GIVES IT FURTHER  PROTECTION.

Rose Johnson.

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