The Johannesburg Zoo hosted the unveiling of the new R45 million parking structure on 2 August following two years of construction.
The new parkade, which was built at the site of the original parking lot, will now be able to hold over 700 cars and 15 buses. The previous parking lot had been able to hold 200 cars but had left many visitors and residents feeling frustrated at the lack of space.
The chief operations officer for Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, Bukelwa Njingolo said, “There was a needs assessment done with the community and we could see as the managers and people who are living in the space, that it was not working; the numbers were growing.”
“Aesthetically we ensured that it doesn’t become an eyesore; we ensured that it responds to conservation and environmental sensitivities,” she said.
The project was held up for about six months after an old rubbish dump was discovered. Tim Truluck, the ward councillor for Ward 117 said, “We had some setbacks, mostly because they found an old rubbish dump and had to work out whether it was valuable or not because of heritage issues but it was quite exciting because we could see what people were burning and using a hundred years ago in this area.”
Njingolo also highlighted the importance of using small and medium enterprises (SMEs). During the construction, 13 SMEs were engaged and 90 job opportunities were created.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development for the City of Johannesburg, Nonhlanhla Sifumba said, “This is a big achievement for the City and the zoo as the parkade will alleviate traffic congestion and provide a hassle-free visitor experience.”
“I cannot help but think of the importance of the parkade to the people and visitors of Joburg. The 115-year-old zoo remains the most popular place of learning, conservation and recreation in the city and it welcomes over 500 000 visitors per annum,” concluded Sifumba.
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