Thimphu Ecological Park undergoes revitalization

PEMA TSHOMO
Thimphu

Her Majesty Gyalyum Tsheyring Pem Wangchuck, a champion for environmental conservation efforts, graced the launch of the revitalization project for the ecological park on 5 June.  

This initiative marks a significant step towards restoring the park’s ecological health and enhancing its value for the Thimphu community.

The project, spearheaded by the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTF) and the Youth Development Fund (YDF) with implementation over seen by Thimphu Thromde, aims to address several key concerns.

“The revitalization of this park will be a collaborative effort between YDF and BTF, with the support of Thimphu Thromde,” shared BTF Managing Director Dr. Karma Tshering, highlighting the importance of a combined approach.

The park which is near to YDF is over 10.77 acres are the home to 130 plant species, with 61 percent herbaceous, and 21 percent of shrubs. It is also the home to the endangered bird species Gallinago Nemoricola, commonly known as the wood snipe.

“This particular park needs revitalization as it is home to a lot of local biodiversity, including endangered bird species that require proper attention. We want to revamp the water wetland biodiversity conservation efforts and focus on the birdlife and local flora and fauna,” said Sonam Wangchuk, Chief Environment Officer of Thimphu Thromde.

Further, he elaborated on the project’s core objectives during a presentation.  “We’re focusing on three main concepts: biodiversity conservation and habitat restoration, ecological resilience and climate adaptation, and community engagement and well-being, all within the framework of urban green infrastructure and sustainable development,” he added.

The current state of the Thimphu Ecological Park necessitates a comprehensive revitalization plan.  Worn-out footpaths, outdated facilities, unkept gardens, and inadequate lighting have all contributed to a decline in the park’s usability and enjoyment for residents.

“The overall state of the eco-park indicates a need for more consistent maintenance, better infrastructure, and enhanced safety measures,” Sonam Wangchuk emphasized. 

He added these improvements will make these public spaces more usable and enjoyable for residents.

The revitalization plan outlines a series of improvements designed to address the park’s current challenges and create a more vibrant and sustainable space. 

The plan includes the building of footpath and ramp maintenance by repairing damaged handrails and posts, fixing landings and steps, and designing ramps for accessibility.

The entry gate needs improvement with a new well-designed entry gate that will create a more aesthetic impression.

The toilets and gazebos need up gradation including the existing facilities to be refurbished to provide a more comfortable and functional experience for visitors.

The waterway and ponds need maintenance as the park’s waterways and the ponds are crucial for preserving the wetland ecosystem.

The garden needs to be revitalized with a plan that includes the creation of ornamental gardens featuring cactus, roses, spireas, mushrooms, and hedges, offering a variety of visual interests.

The ornamental tree plantations include the plantations of selected ornamental trees, including red crab apple trees, Malus Red Sentinel trees, and Cercis Canadensis trees which will enhance the park’s aesthetic appeal.

As per the framework shared by the thromde, the estimated cost for the revitalization project is Nu 2.463 million.  The project is expected to be completed within a four-month timeframe, running from June through September this year.

The launch of the Thimphu Ecological Park revitalization project further underscores Her Majesty the Gyalyum’s unwavering commitment to environmental conservation. Her dedication extends beyond Bhutan’s borders, as evidenced by her recognition on the international stage.

In October 2023, she received the prestigious Champion of Rising Leaders Award from the Teton Science School. This award acknowledges Her Majesty’s efforts in promoting sustainability, which have inspired countless individuals and organizations worldwide.

Additionally, Bhutan was presented with the Murie Spirit of Conservation Award last year, recognizing the country’s unwavering commitment to environmental preservation, a philosophy deeply ingrained in the Bhutanese concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH).

The revitalization of Thimphu Ecological Park stands as a testament to Her Majesty’s leadership and vision.  By restoring the park’s ecological health and creating a more welcoming space for the community, this project is expected to contribute significantly to the overall well-being of Thimphu and its residents.

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