UPDATE: A previous version of this article mislabeled the area involved as Willow Park when it is actually Collondale. We regret the error
While the ongoing municipal strike has left the Buffalo City Metro area looking increasingly filthy, one community in Collondale is proving that it is still possible to keep things clean.
It started back in January of 2017 when the Collondale community finally got fed up with the lack of response from BCM.
“We’d been waiting for more than over a year for BCM to come and do some bush clearing,” said one of the organisers, Carie-Anne Richter.
“We had a lot of crime. What happened was they were breaking into houses and cars and, because this grass was so long, they were just disappearing. So we eventually decided that we needed to do something about it. We couldn’t just keep sitting back and moaning about it.”
The community came together and began organising their own clean-ups, hiring equipment from Coastal Tool Hire and setting to work, cutting the grass and clearing the bush.
“When we started, there were so many trees that you couldn’t even see the [Emanuel Pinkster] Church,” Richter said.
Using funds acquired through donations, they hired unemployed people from around the area to help cut down trees and pick up litter. While the project started small, it has only grown in scope over the last two years.
“We’ve built our own park as well. We did it for our community because the nearest park doesn’t get maintained and the bush is right across the road.” Richter.
During the municipal strike, the Collondale community has worked hard to keep litter off their streets, hiring locals to do regular clean-ups or picking it up themselves. Despite their efforts, however, the lack of municipal refuse collection is starting to take its toll.
“I must have about 20 bags standing in my yard,” said Richter.
As a community-led programme, they rely on donations in order to maintain their cleaning efforts. They have organised a number of fundraisers – from asking community members to donate any spare cash to holding raffles.
Anyone looking to donate or find out more about the project, can contact Carrie-Anne Richter on at 082-255-1394 or Linda Petzer on at 082-450-5199.