Zimbabwe’s West Property finally gets the nod to rehabilitate ‘Borrowdale Vlei’ into a nature park.  

– We are going to restore and beautify this wetland into a nature park thus allowing it, to naturally regenerate, Ken Sharpe said.

John Cassim

Harare, Zimbabwe – A near-dead Borrowdale vlei located between two giant housing developments by Zimbabwe’s West Property in the elite part of Harare, is on the verge of resurrection, following the stoppage of the invasions and ownership wrangles.   

West Property Chief Executive, Ken Sharpe has revealed that alleged culprits of land sales in this wetland have been arrested thereby averting a pending disaster that would have occurred, had houses been built on the vlei.

Among those arrested is the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) director general Aaron Chigona, who has since appeared in court and is on a US$ 300 bail.  

“We are going to restore and beautify this wetland into a nature park thus allowing it to naturally regenerate and in turn bring people and nature together.

Our vision and plans had been stalled by recent developments that had seen the land being sold to another company despite the existence of our plans and commitment to resuscitate the wetland,” Ken Sharpe pledged.

West Property obtained an Environmental Impact Assessment certificate in 2015 but the development of the park was being sabotaged through vandalism of sewer pipes, soil poaching, and illegal waste dumping in the area.

“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. 

The project fits very well into our live, work, shop, and play theme as residents in the afore-mentioned residential estates would be able to enjoy recreational amenities within the gated community and Zimbabweans at large,” added Ken Sharpe

Some of the images by the consultant regarding the wooden foot paths at the Borrowdale Vlei

Rehabilitation of the Vlei

Images shown by a landscape consultant, Richard Wilsher, have shown serious commitment on the part of West Property.

The 62-acre wetland will have natural ponds, cycling tracks, raised wooden walkways, bird sanctuaries, steel fabricated trees, jogging tracks, and fishing and canoeing facilities. 

According to Richard, plants and grass that are meant for such a wetland will be planted and work will end in six months. 

Richard’s design focuses on preserving the indigenous ecosystem while introducing some colorful flora.

An aerial design of the Borrowdale Vlei and how the park will look like when complete

Eventually, some wildlife will be introduced making it a major attraction ahead of the COP25 to be hosted by Zimbabwe in 2025.

Zimbabwe has seven wetlands designated as Ramsar sites namely; Lake Chivero, Driefontein Grasslands, Cleveland Dam, Victoria Falls, Manna pools, Chinhoyi Caves, and Monavale Vlei.

Despite threats of invasions, Monavale Vlei has remained a major source of clean underground water in Harare.

Steps taken by Ken Sharpe have proved to have worked elsewhere on the continent in Kigali, Rwanda, where a dead wetland called  Nyandungu, a 121-hectare ecological park took six years to restore. Today it is the country’s top birdlife tourist attraction.

Park of the proposed fishing and canoeing area according to the design of the Borrowdale Vlei

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