Project aims to create positive space

Executive committee members Emmy Timmie, Samantha Mohammed, Neville van Schalkway and Elma Simpson.

A new co-operative project for Lavender Hill and the surrounding areas such as Seawinds and Hillview will hopefully mean a better future for residents of these communities.

The Krotoa Community Empowerment Project is in the process of registering the co-operative.

The aim of the project is to start a community food garden project at an open field in Military Road.

The co-operative hopes to use the field, a hotspot dumping site, and transform it into a vegetable and herb garden with a nursery for other plants, a compost yard, worm farm and a Khoisan hut where school children from the area can learn more about the culure.

There are also plans to use containers to create a community library, internet café, eco resource centre and a meeting venue for the community.

Chairman Neville van Schalkwyk, who also runs a community garden in Hillview, said the project will create employment and opportunities for residents in the surrounding areas.

“We don’t just want a food garden. There’s a need for something much more than a food garden and we will try to create that through the co-operative.

“We want to create opportunities in the long-run where we can become sustainable,” said Mr Van Schalkwyk.

“We’re also looking to have a tourism spot where tourists can come to the garden and learn more about the community, thus creating even more opportunities. We also want to educate our people about healthy living and the environment and how to protect it. It’s all in the bigger plan of things.”

Mr Van Schalkwyk said empowering residents is vital to creating a stronger and better community.

“We cannot always look to government for handouts. At the end of the day we need to create opportunities for ourselves. That is most needed in our communities. We’re looking to create those options,” said Mr Van Schalkwyk.

Mayor Patricia de Lille has given the thumbs up to the project and promised to help the co-operative when the group’s objectives were handed to her at a meeting held in Lavender Hill two weeks ago.

“We encourage projects like these because it shows that people want to make positive changes in their communities. I support it 100 percent. When communities decide that they will take the reigns and work towards creating a positive initiative I am all for it,” she said.

“These are people who are not waiting for government to act, they are acting themselves and I will do whatever I can to help where I can,” said Ms De Lille.

The project will hopefully be launched later this year after a lease agreement is signed off for the open field in Military Road.