Rwandans will soon enjoy the splendid view of the green and environmentally friendly Gikondo Recreational Park as activities are on course to establish gardens with green lawns, colorful indigenous tree species and refreshment facilities in the former Gikondo industrial park, according to Kigali city officials.
Parfait Busabizwa, City of Kigali’s Vice mayor in charge of Economic Development Affairs told Sunday Times that more infrastructure is being relocated from the encroached wetland to expand recreational facilities in the park.
“We have started creating beautiful gardens on part of the wetland as part of developing a recreational park. The more infrastructures get expropriated, the more we will be turning different parts into recreational facilities,” he said.
He further added that the city is closely collaborating with Rwanda Environment Authority (REMA) to complete the design of the recreational park as well as other recreational public spaces in the city.
“Gikondo recreational park will have also have an artificial lake of which the study is still being refined in conjunction with REMA. Under the second phase of the gardens establishment, we will also replace Rwandex with gardens and we will extend the recreational gardens up to where Cadillac night club used to operate because people are being expropriated to establish an Ecotourism Park,” he noted.
Different species of indigenous trees such as sycamore trees, acacia trees have been planted as well as small ponds of waters with paths designed for pedestrians coming for sightseeing.
Officials said that at least a Rw600 million budget has been allocated to the gardens project which is expected to be finished in June next year.
“We are going to establish Kiosks from which different products can be sold such as refreshments and snacks for people,” he said adding that there will be other facilities such as benches and chairs around swimming pools, showers and washing rooms , bicycles lanes, lights and places for photography among many other attractive facilities
Busabizwa also stressed that there are other recreational projects in the city such as Meraneza recreational park on Mount Kigali, a place where people can have a view of the whole city.
Studies show that there is need for at least Rwf4 billion for each of the two projects, namely, creating recreational parks on Mount Kigali and in the Gikondo Wetland, formerly the industrial park.
He said that in the same development model of recreational parks, last year, REMA launched the construction activities of Nyandungu Urban Wetland Recreation and Eco-tourism Park, located in the sectors of Nyarugunga, Kicukiro District and Ndera in Gasabo District.
The park will have kiosks, picnic sites, boardwalks and bridges in marshy areas, toilets, nature viewing areas, bird hides and picnic areas attractive for tourists.
In Nyandungu Eco-park, the plan shows there will be an area designed for wedding photographs, a concession for a café or restaurant and a visitor centre that will explain the contribution of wetlands in conservation and the ecosystem services to the Rwandan economy.
Opportunity for the private sector
The city council says there is need for public private partnership to manage and generate revenues that could help maintain different recreational parks.
Alice Umuhorakeye , the Environmental Protection Officer at Kigali City Council told Sunday Times that after completing construction of such recreational and ecotourism parks, there will be an open call for private sector to start small businesses in the parks that are attractive to visitors.
“After the first phase of wetland rehabilitation with recreational facilities, we call upon the private sector to invest in attractive small business such as Kiosks, refreshment facilities so that we partner to generate some revenues that can help maintain the recreational parks,” she said.
For instance, studies show that Nyandungu Eco-tourism Park which is expected to be completed by 2020, will produce economic, social and environmental benefits and generate over Rwf83.3 million every year thanks to the attractive business facilities.