Park upgrades not to residents’ standards

Children play in the newly upgraded park in Bramble Way.

After years of neglect, Bonteheuwel’s parks have been spruced up by the City of Cape Town, but residents say they’ll need more than a splash of paint and new equipment.

Bramble Way, Hardepeer, and Kiaat Avenue parks had repairs and repainting done and gym equipment installed. The parks had deteriorated over the years, said Bonteheuwel ward councillor, Angus Mckenzie.

“In Bonteheuwel, we have tried very hard to turn that around. This financial year, which will be ending in the next few weeks, we have completed the revamp of three parks in the area, adding much-needed gym equipment to those parks.

“Wonderfully, this equipment has been well looked after and even more so is being used by hundreds of kids and parents on a daily basis,” he said.

Mr Mckenzie said Bessie Avenue and David Profit Street parks would be revamped in the next financial year, starting on Saturday July 1.

But the chairman of the Community of Bonteheuwel Association, Abie Clayton, said the parks should be maintained regularly as they were frequently vandalised.

“Someone needs to watch the park so that the equipment is not vandalised and stolen. Before, the neighbours would look out for the parks, but that doesn’t happen anymore.”

He said the City should hire someone living nearby to act as a caretaker.

“No one wants to do it for free,” he said.

He also claimed the upgrades had not been done fairly, as not all the parks had the same equipment.

“Different areas have different things in the park. What you put in the one park you must put in the other park. It’s unfair for one to have more than the other. The park in Jakkesvlei Avenue is not really being used because of the gangsterism, and that is a fully equipped park,” he said.

But Mr Mckenzie said Bonteheuwel’s park upgrades matched a citywide standard.

Maintenance of the neighbourhood’s parks had cost more than R100 000 and the upgrades themselves had cost R300 000 in the past financial year.

“The challenge we sit with is vandalism of our parks by residents themselves,” he said.

Bonteheuwel resident Soraya Salie said that despite the upgrades some parks still had no swings.

“If we want to save our youth, we need to have proper parks for the children to play in and proper recreational programmes. The parks are also not safe because they are hidden away,” she said.