Newsasanda-wetland-restoration

The theme of this year’s World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2023 is: ‘It’s time for wetland restoration’. As we are celebrating World Wetlands Day tomorrow, the City of Cape Town is proud to say we are spot on with the theme. We are currently spending R16 million on the restoration and rehabilitation of the Asanda Villlage Wetland, situated between the N2 and Asanda Village, in Strand.

The Asanda Village Wetland is a large public open space that forms part of a pedestrian route between the Van der Stel train station, the N2 freeway, three adjacent schools and the surrounding residential areas of Asanda Village, Nomzamo and Lwandle.

‘Those driving past, or living in the vicinity, would have noticed some activity lately on what used to be a dumping ground, full of litter and filthy dammed water. I am happy to say we are hard at work, transforming parts of this 5ha site into a children’s play park with paths for cyclists and pedestrians, while repairing the stormwater drainage system and rehabilitating the wetland to turn this into a healthy ecologically functioning system again.

‘The City’s investment in this project amounts to about R16 million. I have visited the site earlier today to witness the progress to date. I am looking forward to the completion day, and I’m sure the local community does as well,’ said the City’s Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning, Alderman Eddie Andrews.

The City identified this site for restoration some time ago after realising the site was initially set aside for conservation purposes prior to the development of Asanda Village. Environmental reports at the time indicated fairly diverse and abundant fauna, frogs and birds supported by the wetland.

A co-design workshop was hosted with various stakeholders and the local community in 2015 to assist the City with the conceptual design for the wetland park. Security, access, and recreation were identified as top priorities by the community during the design process.

In 2019, a multi-disciplinary team was appointed to do the detailed designs for the Asanda Village Wetland Park, with the objectives being:

  • A rehabilitated and ecologically functioning wetland area
  • A stormwater system that can handle the upstream catchment, the site itself and area downstream
  • A formal non-motorised route through the public open space – meaning, a walkway that can be used by pedestrians and cyclists
  • Hard and soft landscaping upgrades
  • Multi-use recreational and play areas

The detailed designs were informed by assessments and investigations undertaken by the professional team to address the lack of maintenance and degradation of the wetland, illegal dumping and littering, and the poor stormwater management system.

The detailed designs were shared with the community in October 2020 where further input was provided.

‘The construction commenced in June 2022 and is currently underway. If all goes as planned, the project should be completed by June this year. Once done, we will have a healthy functional wetland and a green space for children and the local community.

‘The surrounding property owners will also benefit as the new upgraded stormwater system will ensure proper drainage of the area which will mitigate flooding and ponding, in particular during the wet winter months.

‘We are extremely proud of this project, and I want to thank the community for their interest and support. The protection of our natural areas is vital – it gives our children and residents green spaces in the middle of the city where they can interact with nature,’ said Alderman Andrews.

‘I challenge all to meet here again in five years’ time and test the viability of this important project because much of that rests with the effort that the City puts into managing solid waste and enforcement of the management plan for the wetland, among which controlled grazing, removal of solid waste, controlling human movement and encouraging local people to use it as a recreational space. Addressing solid waste is, I believe, the greatest challenge in making parks such as this one an amenity for communities. The condition of wetlands and other water courses is a real gauge of the condition of the catchment, and in a city, this translates into a real reflection of successful service delivery,’ said Dr Liz Day, specialist freshwater ecologist, who accompanied Alderman Andrews on the site visit.

Why wetlands are important:

  • They enhance water quality, recharge water supplies, reduce flood risks, and control erosion
  • They provide a habitat for aquatic and terrestrial plants and birds – at least one third of all endangered species
  • They provide opportunities for recreation, sites for research and education
  • Examples of wetlands are seeps and springs, lakes and ponds, mangrove swamps, marshes, estuaries and floodplains

‘In November last year the City of Cape Town was granted accreditation as an international Wetland City. This is a huge honour and recognition of the best-practice work that the City has undertaken with innovative policies and plans to ensure Cape Town’s wetlands are protected, rehabilitated and restored. We are continuing this work. The Asanda Village Wetland Park project is another example of our commitment to preserve our natural assets. This is a key priority for the City, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because our natural environment protects us from natural disasters and ensures our future resilience to climate change,’ said Alderman Andrews.

Captions: The theme of this year’s World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2023 is: ‘It’s time for wetland restoration’. As we are celebrating World Wetlands Day tomorrow, the City of Cape Town is proud to say we are spot on with the theme. We are currently spending R16 million on the restoration and rehabilitation of the Asanda Villlage Wetland, situated between the N2 and Asanda Village, in Strand. Alderman Eddie Andrews, the City’s Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, visited the site earlier today to see how the project is progressing.