It is known as the “Chukker Road Open Space” in Kenwyn and has always had issues with vagrants and illegal dumping, but there are now efforts being made to spruce up the area.
Kenwyn residents suggested the land be turned into a nature reserve or biodiversity garden, something similar to the Green Point Urban Park.
Kenwyn resident Riley Adams regularly jogs around derelict piece of land to keep fit but has always felt that it could be so much more.
“The space is perfect and is only going to waste. If everybody put their heads together, I am sure it can be turned into a space for everybody to enjoy, as there is some huge potential,” she said.
Ms Adams suggested that the same model used to design the Green Point Urban Park be used to come up with ideas for the Chukker Road land, with cycle tracks, walkways and plenty of different kinds of plant species.
“That model seems to be working for Green Point. Everybody simply loves that space. But it won’t be necessary for everybody to flock to Green Point; they can also visit Chukker Road, which has the potential to be just as beautiful,” Ms Adams said.
So far clean-ups, morning runs and a tea garden have been organised by the Friends of Kenywn Nature Park.
In 2013, Friends chairman Grant Alexander jumped at the opportunity to start working on the Chukker Road Open Space project, after having worked as a conservation student at the Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation area, opposite the open space.
Mr Alexander, who is originally from Wetton, said the idea was to turn the space into a nature garden, which could be used by the community, with various plant species and animals, along with jogging trails, braai and picnic areas and educational tours as well.
However, he said, the challenge was to get the community behind the project, as many had liked the idea but failed to step up and physically support the project.
“Many of the community members have shown interest and said they liked the idea, but the challenge is getting people involved in the project as many of them just don’t turn up,” Mr Alexander said.
For Mr Alexander and the Friends, another benefit of starting the biodiversity garden would be protecting the land from development, “by giving us a shared piece of nature to enjoy, and by making the neighbourhood a better place to live, for ever after”.
“We hope to rehabilitate the Chukker Road Open Space and fill it with beautiful wildlife and facilities for the neighbourhood to braai, meet, picnic and generally enjoy the area,” Mr Alexander said.
The Friends of Kenwyn Nature Park, registered as a non-profit organisation (NPO), is now calling on the public to support the idea of starting a biodiversity garden at the open space. “We are looking for assistance from anybody or everybody within the community. I would like to see this space coming together over the next few years. We are working on a plan, but we need the community to get behind this project,” Mr Alexander said.
To support the project or get involved, contact Grant Alexander at 079 825 0099 or GAlexander@live.co.za