Surat has a few natural drains running across from east to west. Most of the areas along the drains were misused for dumping waste and illegal activities like animal slaughtering. Crime, nuisance and illegal activities started developing as a result of lack of accessibility and creation of unsafe zones. Some stretches along the drain also became the hubs of unwanted mosquito breeding.
To curb such activities, the Surat Smart City is creating a ‘Wild Valley Bio-Diversity Park’ by rejuvenating existing wasteland along the creek. Meanwhile, digital elevation modelling is proposed for the planning of the project. The innovative and already experimented (elsewhere) technique – Miyawakiu will be implemented. In this technique, different species are planted together and nearby like an actual forest that enhances and accelerates plant growth. The project aims to rejuvenate the existing wasteland along the creek by proposing varied range of activities through the following components:
- Public Park with a special focus on children and the elderly;
- plantation of natural species of flora to maintain good air quality;
- walking trails, and cycle tracks;
- maintaining the natural storm water course;
- interconnection of water retention ponds; and compound walls, fencing, gates, and railings, etc.
In addition to developing a bio-diversity park for preserving flora and fauna, the project envisages to make the wasteland accessible for public use by developing it into a usable public space. Through the City Investments to Innovate, Integrate and Sustain (CITIIS) grant, the project intends to mobilize the city ecosystem to facilitate partnerships between stakeholders to define common goals and road maps.
- Rejuvenation of existing wasteland along the creek into wild valley Bio-Diversity Park and creating large chunks of city greens.
- Reducing foul smell from the creek, prevention of water pollution by phytoremediation, and improving air quality through plantation of natural species.
- To increase overall green cover by providing non-conventional recreational spaces like children’s play area, senior citizens corner, parks with facilities for disabled people, etc. To reduce impact of heavy rainfall by creating water retention ponds and creating spaces with favourable areas for birds and other species.
The bio diversity park will be developed with minimum intervention to the natural terrain. The project proposes extensive plantation of natural species that will help to control urban temperature and mitigate the extreme effects of heat and cold. Financial sustainability of the project will be ensured through user charges, advertisements, parking charges, shared bicycles and solar vehicle sharing system.
A participatory approach will be adopted that involves local citizens, people’s representatives, and experts from varied fields. Environmental activists, nature clubs, and NGOs would be associated with the project during conception, designing and implementation. Local leaders have already been informed in detail and their suggestions are incorporated as per the needs of the area.