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City Parks, Kara strike deal


AN information hub that will provide knowledge on the natural environment to the government, other decision-makers and learners is on the cards for the City Parks depot in Midrand.

The utility signed a memorandum of understanding with Kara Heritage Institute on Monday, 25 January to collaborate on environmental research, skills development training and community outreach programmes. The institute's chief executive, Reggy Kgatle, said the partnership would enhance co-operation in the areas of information exchange and training.

"It is Kara's dream to have a relationship with entities that have common objectives in improving the lives of people." Kara Heritage Institute is a non-governmental organisation that promotes the development of African heritage and indigenous knowledge systems.

As part of the agreement, City Parks will make available the Midrand depot and buildings for refurbishment for use by both parties as offices and training facilities. Kara will help fund the upgrading of the facility.

The depot is currently used by City Parks to store its equipment and resources used to maintain Midrand. City Parks' operations executive for parks, cemeteries and trees, Geoffrey Cooke, said the agreement signified a strong commitment by both organisations to work together.

"The partnership has the capability of producing best results in terms of job creation and aligns with the mayoral priority of creating more jobs."

City Parks and Kara will also work with the University of Pretoria, which signed a similar agreement with the institute in 2008 to write course materials. Students will help to develop the information hub.

City Parks' managing director, Luther Williamson, emphasised the importance of working with other departments in educating communities. "We are excited about the potential of this agreement and the opportunity it provides for us to bring our experience to bear, working together with trusted organisations like Kara."

He was pleased the utility would be contributing towards horticultural and other skills development.

The agreement comes in the International Year of Biodiversity, during which the importance of conserving biodiversity will be stressed.