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After two years as a temporary construction site, Mushroom Farm in Sandton is being rehabilitated as a welcome green lung.

At work rehabilitating the Mushroom Farm
At work rehabilitating the Mushroom Farm

THE work is on the go to restore Mushroom Farm, in Sandton, to its former glory.

The park was used by Bombela Civil Joint Venture, the company responsible for building the Gautrain, as a temporary shaft over the past two years to access the tunnel for construction of the rapid rail link.

But now, all tunnelling and construction work carried out from this shaft have been completed and the site establishment facilities have been removed.

Rehabilitation of the park is in line with Bombela’s environmental plan, together with a complementary plan developed by Mushroom Farm, Johannesburg City Parks, Region E and local ward councillors.

“Bombela has used the Mushroom Farm park as a temporary shaft over the past two years to access the tunnel for construction works. We are proud to be driving the rehabilitation of this green space and hope this will be a lasting legacy for the Sandton community,” says Dave van der Merwe, a director at Bombela Civil Joint Venture.

As part of a broader urban agenda, the park will provide space where people can socialise and relax. Planned facilities will cater for bird watching, rollerblading, jogging and other outdoor activities.

“Once completed, this project will enhance the city’s environmental credentials, making it an even more attractive place to visit,” explains Oscar Oliphant, the senior manager for stakeholder liaison at City Parks.

Rehabilitation began in July with the reinstatement of the underlying infrastructure before aesthetic treatment. Representatives of Bombela and other Gautrain teams have been involved with landscaping the terrain, creating a children’s play area, laying new pathways and installing irrigation.

Landscape artist Strydom van der Merwe and poets Alan Kolski Horwitz and Ike Mboneni Muila have been roped in to the design the park. They have created a plan using the theme of language to create functional objects in the park and address major structural elements of the space such as the fence and pathways.

There is an aerial balloon, placed by Aerial Displays, the operators of the balloon at Montecasino. The balloon is part of a two-year contract between Aerial Displays and City Parks as part of the 2010 city beautification programme.

In terms of this contract, Aerial Displays will improve, monitor and maintain the park with 24-hour security, litter management and waterway cleaning. Balloon rides began on 15 December, at R75 a ride.

The Sandton Central Management District is also working with City Parks on the long-term management of the park once the Aerial Displays contract comes to an end, in a joint effort to ensure the sustained management of this green space.

Other beautification projects in which City Parks has participated include the upgrading of the neglected Moroka Dam and Thokoza Park, in Soweto.