On Tuesday, 8 August 2017 Overstrand Municipality was host to the panel of judges of the National Arbor City Awards, in the course of the second phase of the evaluation process of the competition. This follows the municipality receiving news earlier in the year that it had made the shortlist for this prestigious honour based on having met the necessary greening and landscape management criteria under scrutiny.
During the visit, Overstrand’s horticulturist, Lauren Rainbird, provided the judges with a comprehensive and informative overview of the different tree planting and greening projects initiated in the various towns across the area. Input was also received from the Director of Economic Development and Tourism: Solomzi Madikane, the Director of Protection Services: Neville Michaels and the Director of Community Services: Roderick Williams, who respectively gave some insight into to how their portfolios aid the management and implementation of the municipality’s greening practices.
To that end, elements such as beautifying the surrounds, creating an environment that is aesthetically appealing to residents and visitors, establishing an investor friendly climate, promoting awareness and appreciation of environmental conservation and development,
the sense of social cohesion that arises from the interaction with nature, the implantation and adherence to sound governance structures and the efficient deployment of resources in accordance, to name but a few were mentioned. Added to that, Rainbird stated, “Our aim is to ensure our communities can co-exist with nature, and that a mindset that allows for a healthy and secure living environment is inculcated.”
The judges then posed a number of questions which were ably fielded by the contingent of Overstrand officials present, following which a tour was conducted of the various greening initiatives in the region. It is anticipated that deliberations should take about a week or so, after which the winning municipality of the 2017 National Arbor City Award will be announced.