October 2016 Newsletter

CATCH UP  NEWSLETTER – OCTOBER 2016

MARKET

This continues to grow and the last one this month had 80 stalls.  The big green container that has appeared in the Park is for the storage of the tables for the market. Handri, who runs the Market,  has plans  for it to benefit the play area.

OWL

One small white faced owl,  foreign to our part of the world,  caused a flurry of  visitors and birders to the Park.  His presence was on the internet and we had visitors from far and wide with their cameras visiting the Park to see him.

TREES

Due to the ongoing neglect  of the erosion at the wier, we have now had another huge gum tree fall into the river.  Another three are in danger and will fall once the rains start. FOFS has tried for 4 years to get someone to take responsibility for this erosion as it is not only the trees that are disappearing but the huge hole around them below the wier is eating into the bank of the Riverwalk of the Park and undermining the wier itself on both sides.

Finally after this latest tree fall and four years of asking for action, Parks and Environment are going to visit the Park, take photographs and hopefully be able to raise funding from a Council Dept. to deal with this issue before we lose not only the bank and trees,  but the wier itself.

There is also a main sewer outlet at stake. Crisis Management again. FOFS will again remove the fallen tree as Parks (Trees) don’t have the equipment – in this case gum boots – for the team to be in the water to do the job.!

WEST BANK

There have been two raids on the Bank. One by JMPD who came in from Peter Place on the other side of the river by removing sections of the palisade fence. Trucks, bulldozer, police cars and vans and police and others – I know not who – swamped the bank while the bulldozer scooped up the belongings of those living there, dumped them in the trucks to be dumped at Linbro Park.  A total waste of time, money, man power and resources.  These bully boy tactics do not work because everyone stayed as they have done for 10 years. Raids all those years.

Second raid using fire this time the day before Spruit Day.  They have previously burnt their belongings – I witnessed this . They set fire to the grass and destroyed belongings again. They are human beings trying to survive in the only places available to them. They are not going to disappear in a puff of smoke. The George Lea saga is testimony to that. While those involved there feel they have succeeded in clearing what was never a Park anyway, all they have done is to displace the many living there who will find somewhere else and as I predicted, our West Bank is where I said many would come and this is currently happening with numbers increasing and their problem becomes our problem. Typical NIMBYism. (NOT IN MY BACK YARD).

WEST BANK 2

The negotiations between JPC (Joburg Property Co.), their consultants, Forest Farm and their consultants and us has taken a step backwards with changes to the original ideas. We were not privy to the last meeting where Forest Farm consultants were to present their proposal to JPC.

This painful process we have been involved in for 6 years. We do know that Forest Farm are serious about expanding and improving but as they own the entire Nichol frontage in requires a deal to be struck  for the 6ha Park land behind it to succeed as an extension to the existing Park.

We will not give up as  extending the Park across the river has been a goal of FOFS since we started “managing” the Park.  For more info read our history.  We will keep you informed but I fear another year has been lost.

WATER

With our strict water restrictions, the tap at the entrance to the Park became a source of free water for numerous individuals who arrived by car with 25litre containers, washed their cars etc. Emails flew from irate residents so to solve the problem quickly the tap has been moved inside the Park putting an end to the drive in tactics, the old one has a lock so that when we ARE allowed to water we can use it.  We have  Mr. Peter Ginsberg, a nearby resident and FOFS member to thank for the quick action as he paid for this himself.   Peter we thank you for this generous gesture.

Rose Johnson

082 784 1933

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