From dump to play park

2016-11-01 06:00
Children enjoy cycling at Carmel Community Park. The park was built by a resident out of her own pocket.

Children enjoy cycling at Carmel Community Park. The park was built by a resident out of her own pocket.

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Una Holliday from Hout Bay turned a dump site into a park so that children could have a safe place to play.

Single-handedly she started the Carmel Community Park which has become a favourite spot for many.

Holliday, who has been a resident of the area for 35 years, decided to create the park years ago to give children a safe place to play.

For Holliday it was sad that children didn’t have a place to play so she thought a park would be a good addition to the area.

“The place was a deep hole with trees around. It was just a bush and it didn’t look good at all. People were using it as a dump site. Not only was it bad for our environment, it also affected our property value because it wasn’t nice at all,” she says.

“The first thing I did was to clear the trees. I think everything was God-ordained, because by the time I started working on the park, an estate was being built nearby. The owner of the estate had levelled sand and he had to transport it to Muizenberg. I talked to him and he agreed to give me the sand. It was 500 truck loads that were delivered here to fill the hole and to level it. It saved him so much money and time. It also helped me start on my journey of having a park without any trouble,” says Holliday.

With the help of one or two people she managed to turn the dump site into a park. The park has swings, a jungle gym, slide, benches with Bible verses and sayings, a cycle track and a stage which they have been using for Christmas carols for years.

“Everything that is here I bought out of my own pocket. I got a few donations but most of the things here I did myself. I did it over time and I think the benches were one of the biggest expenses.

“I maintain the park all the time. I still pay for things to be done at the park up to this day. I make sure that everything that needs replacing is replaced and make sure that the grass is kept short and there are no weeds. I get someone to help me and I have to pay them. If I have to total the money that I have spent on this park it’s a fortune.

“When I look at the park I feel proud. It’s an achievement and it improves the value of all our properties. Above all it gives children in the area a safe place to play,” she says.

“It really feels nice to see the kids enjoy themselves. It’s a nice place for everyone,” she says.

Holliday believes that people should take initiative. “People should not wait for someone to do something for them. Be active, do things to improve your area.”

She says she gets help now and then and she could use more help.

“Helping out to look after the park or getting donations to keep it clean will go a long way. But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. I love what I do and seeing kids play just makes it worthwhile.”

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