Unkempt park irks resdents

Mr Pauling and Ms Sexton standing by the poles where the municipal park sign used to be. Ms Sexton's dog was waiting patiently for a treat.

Concerned community members in the area surrounding Willow Park in Dowerglen, Edenvale, are speaking out about the state of the park.

Willow Park finally fenced off

According to Dowerglen residents Mr Wolfgang Paulig and Ms Barbara Sexton, Willow Park is plagued by a number of issues.

The pair said community members take it upon themselves to keep the park clean and they try to maintain it.

“Barbara and other members of the community often pick up the rubbish and litter lying in the park, ” said Mr Wolfgang.

Ms Sexton said sometimes the litter is around the bins, or they just do not get emptied consistently.

She said often community members take the black bags out of the dustbins and remove the bags themselves.

Ms Sexton said in the winter when the plants die back, you can see all the litter.

“The work done to the park by the municipality is very haphazard,” said Ms Sexton.

“One of the greatest concerns with regards to the litter is the impact the litter has on the wildlife and the environment,” said Ms Sexton.

Mr Paulig agreed and said when there are heavy rains the litter in the park is washed into the body of water at the park.

He said the birds that make frequent use of the park have been affected.

Mr Paulig said recently, while walking in the park, he saw one of the victims of the litter left by park goers.

He found the body of a bird that had gotten itself tangled in fishing line left on the banks. The bird was hanging from a branch in a tree.

“We have no problem with the fisherman coming to the park – they are nice guys. They must just not leave their fishing line or litter at the park,” said Mr Wolfgang.

The pair said not only does the litter affect the wildlife and pollute the dams, it also affects the aesthetic value of the park

According to the pair, another concern for the community is the lack of upkeep of the park by the municipality.

Mr Paulig said on December 10 a large portion of the grounds had the grass cut, however the more harder to reach areas still have long grass.

“Barbara had to pester the municipality so much,” said Mr Paulig.

He said in the past eight months he has only seen the municipality empty the rubbish bins once.

He said staff from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality came on December 12 with edge trimmers but he never saw them cutting anything.

Mr Paulig said in the past few months the benches in the park have been deliberately broken and cannot be used.

“It is so nice to sit on the benches in the afternoon but now the community can’t use them,” said Mr Paulig.

Paved pathways through the park have also begun to become overgrown.

Mr Paulig believes that when the grass is cut and the grass is left on the paving, it allows for plants to grow over it which leads to the pathways becoming overgrown.

Ms Sexton said the rules at the park are unclear to park goers, as the sign which is meant to dictate the rules to the community is missing

“I feel like it has become pointless to complain to the municipality but I will keep on doing it,” said Ms Sexton

“In ward 19 there are about 14 parks, but out of that only four are useable,” said Councillor Bill Rundle of ward 19.

He said Willow Park is a beautiful park and it has a large variety of bird life.

Clr Rundle said another challenge for the park is the amount of broken glass bottles near the jungle gym.

He said community members do spend time at the park to walk their dogs and go for runs.

Mr Paulig said the park is quite popular for residents in Dowerglen and the surrounding areas.

“Many people from outside of the Dowerglen area come to visit the park and enjoy a day out,” said Mr Paulig.

Ms Sexton said it will be horrific if nothing is done about the park and the community can’t use it.

A request for comment was sent to the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality on December 12 requesting comment by December 14 at 9am

No comment had been received.

Stephan Lehman

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