Parks open but don’t forget masks

The Friends of Arderne Gardens reopened on Wednesday July 22.

The Friends of Arderne Gardens has welcomed the garden’s re-opening after it was closed for nearly four months due to the national lockdown.

The Claremont landmark reopened on Wednesday July 22 with many new and regular visitors, said Friends of Arderne Gardens (Fotag) secretary Rose Meny-Gibert.

This comes after the City’s recreation and parks department opened parks for exercise on Monday July 13.

Dr Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community service and health, said cleaning and maintenance in the parks had caused some delays in reopening them, but they were all open now.

“July is the start of the new 2020/2021 financial year when procurement processes are just beginning to get the relevant contractors appointed to perform maintenance work. Maintenance teams are now operational.”

Ms Meny-Gibert said the lockdown had allowed Arderne Gardens’ lawns to regenerate.

“Autumn came and went and winter arrived with some wonderful rains, and we now see the early signs of spring with our famous array of azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and even snowdrops starting to bloom. It is clear that the garden rather enjoyed the peace and quiet of lockdown. However, the Friends team are currently busy, clearing, weeding and replanting, and we hope for further rain to see us through into summer.”

Ms Meny-Gibert said security staff had been asked to check that all visitors wore masks and kept their distance from others.

“We ask the public to please respect these regulations and enjoy the garden again.”

UCT student Tia Makohliso said the lockdown had started to take its toll on her and she was happy the garden was open again.

“Its refreshing to be in nature and to see other people, even while having to maintain the social distancing.”

Meanwhile the Friends of Bishoplea Park also welcomed the reopening of the park that its members have taken under their wing.

“The park is regularly used by locals who enjoy the play facilities with their children, as well as local dog owners for daily exercise. Furthermore, the park is also very popular with those who work in the Claremont precinct.

“The facility was sorely missed as a breakaway option during lockdown,” said Lydia van der Merwe, of the Friends.

She commended park keeper Gavin Wood for keeping it looking “absolutely spotless”.

Dr Badroodien urged the public to adhere to safety regulations.

“Social distancing, wearing masks and frequent sanitising of hands (as well as any touch points of equipment used), is the responsibility of each user.

“The public is encouraged to strictly observe these safety precautions in order to avoid health risks.”