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WestProp sets aside US$1m for wetland resuscitation

WestProp chief executive officer Ken Sharpe

PROPERTY developer WestProp Holdings Limited has set aside US$1 million for the development of a wetland walkway at Millennium Park in Borrowdale West.Speaking during a Press briefing yesterday in Harare, WestProp chief executive officer Ken Sharpe said they would resuscitate the wetland and make it a tourist attraction.

“We have set aside US$1 million for the project and the designs are now available for public input and everyone is welcome to contribute to make this a reality,” he said.“The project fits well into our live, work, shop, and play theme as residents in the aforementioned residential estates would be able to enjoy recreational amenities within the gated community and Zimbabweans at large.”

Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year round or for varying periods and wetland functions include flood control, shoreline stabilisation, water purification, biodiversity conservation and climate change regulation. 

Wetlands also ensure food security and provide livelihoods for citizens, and are considered to be of cultural value.Sharpe said the project was mainly focused on bringing back the biodiversity of aquatic life and developing the piece of land into an ecological tourism facility that has walkways, bicycle tracks, bird viewing sites, and fishing and canoeing facilities.

“We will plant suitable tree species and lawns while preserving the existing vegetation. We are an environment-conscious organisation eager to see environmental sustainability, co-existence, and thriving ecosystems,” he said.

He added that wetland parks had become essential in urban development and that park would be a major attraction when Zimbabwe hosted Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP15) next year.

“This will be a major attraction when Zimbabwe hosts COP 15 in 2025 as this will demonstrate the friendship between nature and human beings. We are prepared to work with all like-minded people to make this project a success,” he said. 

“It is our considered view that wetland parks are an excellent way to promote sustainable urban development and improve the quality of life for people living in built-up areas. For the record, we received our EIA [environmental impact assessment] certificate for the developments in December 2015 and at the time we ensured that the Borrowdale vlei was protected.”

Sharpe said the company had deployed security details within the vlei to prevent soil poaching and dumping of rubbish.“We instigated measures to ensure the sewer lines which run behind Dandaro were unblocked as they perennially were subject to sabotage,” he said.

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