Taking charge of Zoo Lake during the festive season

City Parks' regional manager for Region B, Alton Rankin, points to the damage caused by hot coals which in turn caused the tree to collapse, injuring two park users earlier this week.

The Rosebank Killarney Gazette recently reported on a number of shocking incidents taking place within the park, including a hundred year old tree burning down to the ground and another incident where two men were critically injured after a tree had been blown over by a gush of wind. The most harrowing report between these being that of a 20-year-old car guard being raped by a 40-year-old vagrant. The vagrant has since been arrested and is awaiting trial.

These reports depict a rather dark picture of the 2015 festive season, but residents living in and around Zoo Lake – as well as those who are passionate about its preservation – will welcome the news that City Parks and Zoo, Metro police and Parkview Police Station have teamed up with the Zoo Lake Users Committee to ensure that Zoo Lake will once again be restored to its former glory.

All these stakeholders met at the Lake on 11 December just as the festive season kicked off in order to discuss various preventative measures to see that by-laws are implemented and to see that all crimes and types of reckless behaviour, are curbed for good.

Not only has Metro and Parkview police since held a number of blitz operations in the park to confiscate litres and litres of alcohol, eradicate under-age drinking and give a stern warning to users to abide by the law. But leaps and bounds of progress has also been made to see security beefed up at the park for the foreseeable future, including agreement on behalf of City Parks and Zoo and the Zoo Lake Users Committee to get the initial plans finalised to begin the first phase of fencing the park in.

Other triumphs include the rehabilitation of trees that have been burnt at the stump due to park users dumping hot coals and ash at their bases, and urgent calls being made for veterinary services to see to the geese flocks. Due to the tree rehabilitation, a number of trees were deemed too damaged to rehabilitate and will have to be removed. City Parks and Zoo have committed, however, to plant new, indigenous trees.

Keep an eye out for the first edition of Rosebank Killarney Gazette coming out in the new year, where full feedback is expected from the Zoo Lake Users Committee, Joburg City Parks and Zoo, Joburg Metro Police and Parkview Police Station, on the various successes they have achieved to maintain, improve and preserve Zoo Lake and the park for all to enjoy in 2016.


Joni Tollner

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