The IERM Convention hosted by George Municipality started unofficially today in George with the planting of 100 trees at a previous illegal dumping site located in Rosedale.
The trees were generously donated by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) in honour of Arbor Week and the cleaning of the site and planting of trees was attended by a large group of IERM delegates, George Executive and Deputy Mayor’s, George Municipal Councillors, officials from DEFF, and other environmental stakeholders.
South Africa celebrates Arbor Week in the first week of September and the campaign annually affords the government, the private sector, non-governmental and community-based organisations, and the public to be involved in “greening” their communities. Greening in the South African context takes place in towns, townships and informal settlements specifically because in the past the latter mentioned areas were disadvantaged in terms of planning for parks.
The Rosedale site was chosen as it is approximately 8 years old and the area has little facilities. Manager for Parks and Recreation, Radie Loubser indicated that the tree planting today was the beginning of a multi-year project with the development of the park being undertaken in agreement with residents of Rosedale. The Rosedale Neighbourhood Watch has undertaken to ensure that the trees and area is looked after. George Municipality has over the last twenty years strongly promoted the planting of trees with a total of 14 000 fruit and nut-bearing trees having been planted in Thembalethu and 4000 stone fruit trees in Borcherds, Lawaaikamp, Parkdene, and Conville.
Chairperson for the IERM, Bishop Ngobeli (Johannesburg City Parks) thanked the officials of DEFF for the generous donation of trees and challenged the George Municipality to plant 100 000 trees by the end of 2020.
The IERM Convention runs tomorrow to Friday at the Oubaai Hotel, George, Western Cape with the theme of Public Spaces and Places – Current Trends, Future Opportunities, and Global News. The Institute of Environment and Recreation Management (IERM) was established in 1936 to allow networking opportunities for municipal managers who are responsible for the management of public parks, open space and recreation facilities.
The IERM is a non-profit association with 1000 members including 100 municipalities with the mission being to be the leading public sector organisation that promotes sustainable and integrated environmental and recreation management practices. This year’s convention is being hosted at the Oubaai Hotel and Spa with an expected 70 out of town delegates attending.
A number of prominent speakers will present during the various sessions over two days including an overview of the impact the Polyphagus Shot Hole Borer has had on Johannesburg by Adelaide Chokoe of Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo. George Municipality will be ably represented by Priscilla Burgoyne, Superintendent: Parks and Recreation, Directorate Community Services who will present on the Ten-year plan for Parks and Playparks as drawn up by the George Municipality.
Executive Mayor Melvin Naik will host a welcoming function on Tuesday evening of the 4 September and said that he is thrilled to welcome a convention of this stature to George. “George is well placed to receive this number of delegates from all over South Africa and we appreciate the opportunity to show off our beautiful city and surrounds,” he said. A full day of site visits for the delegates in and around the George area has been planned including the Botanical Gardens, gardens at Kleinkrantz, Wilderness Blue Flag beach, Outeniqua Pass and Ballot’s Bay.
Caption: Deputy Mayor Charlotte Clarke who officially welcomed all stakeholders and delegates to the event is seen here with the founders of The Mrs South Africa Green pageant on far left Ndihine Ndzinisa, Ntsoaki Ledimo and Sizani Ngobeni. The Mrs South Africa Green is not a beauty pageant in the traditional sense of the word, but rather a platform for those with a keen interest in creating a better, more eco-friendly ‘planet South Africa’. In line with its ‘Pretty Down to Earth and Pretty Green’ tag line, the Mrs South Africa Green aims to become a one-stop ‘green-eco’ living advocacy platform for sustainable living – from green living to conserving water and energy as well as protecting wildlife and saving plastic pollution.