THE water reservoir on Currie Road, which probably has one of the most spectacular views of the city, has become one of the many neglected open spaces in Durban and is highly under-appreciated by the city and under-utilised by residents.
However, the Durban Botanic Gardens, under the curatorship of Martin Clement, has proposed an innovative way to make this space usable and to take advantage of the views of the city.
Speaking on the plans for the space, Clement said the grassed area on top of the reservoir provided an ideal opportunity to create a green link between the upper part of the Durban Botanic Gardens and Currie Road, which was historically the early top-most boundary of the Durban Botanic Gardens prior to road and residential development.
The initial phase of a project will see all the minor maintenance work that should have taken place, carried out. This includes restoring the post and rail fencing, replacing the fence around the pump house and clearing the path that leads to the Gardens, among other things.
“What was once a densely overgrown passage of invasive alien plant material adjacent to the reservoir has been cleared by both the Durban Botanic Gardens and the Water Department revealing the potential of a recreational green linkage, along which we are proposing to construct a walking trail that will provide recreational opportunities for walkers and trail runners and help connect the local green spaces in the area. Suggestions to date in consultation with our City’s Urban Design Department have included replacing the old damaged bollards, removing the unsightly barbed wire on top of the reservoir, and installing an outdoor gym along with several benches,” said Clement.
He said the top of the reservoir with its great view over the city lends itself to early morning yoga and other contemplative activities, along with a good cup of coffee.
“This space makes for a great tourist stop over point – an outdoor gym would supplement those wanting a more active workout while the trail down towards the upper portion of the Gardens and beyond would satisfy the local trail running and walking community with potential routes linking below Currie Road to the main part of the Botanic Gardens/Greyville and above towards Berea Park as a means to improving connections between our local parks and green spaces,” he said.
Clement said the Gardens had begun discussions with local security companies in the area as part of developing a joint security management plan aimed at improving security for local residents and users of the top of the reservoir and adjacent trail.
Ward councillor Chris Pappas, who was excited about the initiative, said future plans had not been finalised yet.
“It is the idea of the Urban Design Architects, the Durban Botanic Gardens, the Parks Department and my office to get input from the public on how we can make this space more livable and user-friendly, without inconveniencing the residents living near the site,” he said.
Further suggestions from the public, local residents and expressions of interest by businesses who see an opportunity that will be beneficial and compliment the healthy recreational potential of the site and help activate it for the wellbeing of the local community in the area are welcomed.
People can email Councillor Pappas at: firstname.lastname@example.org.