The network of historical lanes in Green Point are now brighter and cleaner, thanks to a group of residents.
Started in 2017, the Friends of Green Point Lanes recently celebrated its second anniversary.
The founding member and chairperson, Elizabeth Knight, said they formed this group because they noticed many of the lanes and small gardens were neglected and damaged spaces.
She said this had a negative impact on the environment and community.
“Mindful that the lanes fall within the City’s long-term spatial planning framework, it is not coincidental that the positioning of MyCiTi bus stops are at the end of various lanes, we concluded the only choice was transformation to reverse the decay of these historical networks that play a crucial role in integrating the community,” she said.
Ms Knight said they wanted to emulate the work done by a neighbour who had established a garden in a lane off Joubert Road.
“Our goal was ambitious – to transform all 25 lanes and gardens in two years. With financial support from neighbours and generous funding from American friends, we have been rewarded with a burst of growth and vivid colours this spring.”
She said when they started, the condition of the lanes was not conducive to gardening. They were supported by the City with the removal of excessive building rubble that had been dumped.
She said because they had no funds to buy plants, they had to source cuttings from neighbours’ gardens.
“The municipal nurseries in Newlands and the Green Point Urban Park were also generous with plants. The soil conditions were inhospitable so we chose to plant only hardy succulents. An even greater challenge was saving and carrying grey water so planting sessions mostly took place in the winter months,” she said.
Ms Knight said keeping the lanes free of litter is a constant challenge but they had been urging neighbours to manage their litter and this is having a positive impact. She said the feedback from neighbours, particularly those who use the lanes, had been positive.
Touching on plans for the future, Ms Knight said maintenance of the lanes and gardens would continue to be challenging.
“We have some 25 gardens. This will be our focus as well as encouraging more people to enjoy the lanes and parks. There is room for improvement but at the moment we are enjoying what we have achieved,” she said.
Ward councillor Dave Bryant congratulated the group on its success. “I’m proud to be a part of helping to sponsor some of the project via ward allocation funding,” he said.
If you are interested in joining the group and can help with plants, planting, weeding, grey water or financial support, contact Ms Knight on 076 597 2640 or firstname.lastname@example.org