We in Fourways love our Kingfisher Park. It’s a beautiful space that allows us to walk our dogs, entertain our children, get some exercise and take in the gorgeous sunsets over the Magaliesberg in the distance.
The only drawbacks are the doggie does, occasional safety concerns from undisciplined dogs and humans, and an incomplete service from City Parks, the result of its classification of the park as an Undeveloped Park.
Following many years of various individuals and groups having worked to uplift the park independently of each other, a number of them have come together to form the Kingfisher Park Committee. The intent is to legally adopt the park under the City’s Adopt-a-Park initiative with the aim of implementing and sustaining park upgrades. The committee will work in partnership with the municipality and according to its by-laws, and will look to raise funds to improve the aesthetics, cleanliness and safety of the park.
Committee Chair, Mark Van der Merwe, a Fourways resident, says, “Recently there has been much concern about the park being plagued by rumours of drug trades and alcohol use, in addition to other problems that have arisen there, such as park goers being attacked by dogs and individuals intimidating visitors. While some projects to secure the park have worked, for example funding from Montecasino and residents years ago, led by community stalwart Pat Amerseder, that resulted in the erection of the palisade fence, there were other sponsorship initiatives that did not gain momentum, despite good intentions.
“We believe that, this time, the community’s efforts will pay off. This is because we have formalised a team of community activists, including those from I Love Fourways, into a committee that will be registered with the City of Johannesburg and will work through Council and the local Councillor, Candice James of Ward 93.
“When the team met to discuss how we could upgrade the park, we agreed that issues would be prioritised into three groups: 1) Those that needed to be solved NOW; 2) those that could wait a year; and 3) those that could be done at a later stage.
”The first priority was to clear the park of all of infringements of the law, such as people sleeping, drinking alcohol and conducting potential drug trades in the park. This was about enforcing law and order in and around the park and keeping park goers safe. With the assistance of security company TRSS, this has been achieved. The park is now cleared at 6pm every evening and securely locked, according to appropriate by-law regulations, to prevent security issues. The park is opened promptly at 6am for early morning visitors.
”The next step was to create a committee that could manage the day-to-day operations of the park and identify a guide that will allow residents to eventually adopt the park under the City’s Adopt-A-Park initiative. The latter will take time as it is a lengthy process, but work has already been done in making the park a better place. It is being cleaned regularly, new trees and shrubs have been planted, more pruning is taking place and the park is being locked at night to enforce safety.”
Any individual or company who wishes to join the initiative, become founding members, offer their time, services, materials and/or funds may contact:
Committee Chair, Mark Van der Merwe, on [email protected], 0733554191.
Fundraiser, Susan Mottram on [email protected], 082 465 8718.
THE TEAM: All residents, all volunteers
Mark van der Merwe, a Fourways resident who is actively involved in reporting and resolving municipal issues in public places. He is Chair of Ward 106, assists with service delivery in Ward 115 and is Chair of the Kingfisher Park Committee, which falls into Ward 93.
Day-to-day park issues are being headed by Mary Borkett who has been a crusader for the park and Norscot Koppies for many years.
The Security portfolio is headed by CPF member Paul Williams, a man who is often out on crime prevention blitzes with Douglasdale SAPS and the CPF.
Horticulture is led by Charles Kuhn with support from Andre Wentzel, both of whom spend hours at the park planting and taking care of trees and shrubs.
Fundraising will be headed by Susan Mottram, a local estate agent from RE/MAX Masters and the lead of the verge clean ups on Douglas Drive and Leslie Avenue West.
Media relations are being managed by Carolyn Penny of I Love Fourways, our neighbourhood champion of good causes.
All communications with Council will be handled by Councillor Candice James along with Katherine Ross-Dingli, Environmental Ward Committee representative, Ward 93.