Locals float ideas for Vlei

2015-09-01 06:00
Two lifeguards watch over Princess Vlei as residents walk by. 

astrid februarie

Two lifeguards watch over Princess Vlei as residents walk by. PHOTO: astrid februarie

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The release of a draft concept development framework for the greater Princess Vlei area is an important victory for the Princess Vlei Forum campaign. They believe it shows that the City has listened to the community.

However, many questions were raised when residents took the opportunity last week to engage with the Forum again to discuss the framework.

The City’s framework sets out the overall vision for the development of the greater Princess Vlei area into a natural recreation site, and was drawn up with the consideration of various documents and stakeholders.

Bridget Pitt, secretary of the Forum, explains that these include the views of the local community, which were gathered by the Forum through several workshops, surveys and meetings, and encapsulated in a document that was presented to deputy mayor Ian Neilson last year.

An open day was held to enable the public to view the plan and comment on it.

“This follows the successful campaign waged under the umbrella of the Princess Vlei Forum to prevent the building of a shopping mall on the banks of Princess Vlei,” she says.

Pitt says the Forum has been motivated by two important objectives. First, to ensure that Princess Vlei is developed and protected as a site celebrating nature and heritage for all to enjoy and second, to ensure that this transformation occurs with meaningful community consultation.

Uniquely placedPitt explains the vlei is a complex site, with a complex history.

“Its natural features, location and social and cultural heritage come together to create a space that is uniquely placed to bridge many divides in our divided City,” she says.

Pitt says the Forum’s vision for the vlei is that it needs to be accessible to a range of groups, and should offer spaces where people can meet and offer activities which build community and connection.

“It should reflect the cultural identity and history of its users, be safe and continue to engage community in its management through clean-ups, stewardship progammes,” she says.

At the meeting residents, after viewing the City’s draft framework, raised their concerns. They were given the opportunity after a group session to present what they would like to see happen at the vlei.

Their concerns included that there was no wheelchair access. They wanted the vlei to be fully accessible to the public, including for the blind and anyone with a disability.

Residents also shared the sentiment that there needed to be adequate parking, safe play equipment which needed to be age-appropriate. They would like to see a skateboard park as well.

They further agreed that there needed to be a craft centre where locals could showcase and sell their work, as well as a memory centre with information about the history of the vlei.

Residents also put forward the idea of a Khoisan museum and ongoing education provided to conserve and restore the vlei.

They also agreed that there needed to be a bridge connecting people from one side of Prince George Drive to the vlei.

CostThey further agreed that the City of Cape Town should be responsible for all the expenses.

But they said that with a cafe and a facility where people could sell their artwork the Princess Vlei could become self-sustainable in future.

Pitt says the Forum will now put together a document with all the concerns raised as well as the suggestions the residents put forward. They will pass this information on to the City before a final draft document is put together.

For more information email imagine@­princessvlei.org.

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