Park gets gym fit

2015-04-30 14:47

Gym equipment to the value of R32?450 in Claremont. Residents can now enjoy a workout while watching over their children as they play in the park. 

astrid februarie

Gym equipment to the value of R32?450 in Claremont. Residents can now enjoy a workout while watching over their children as they play in the park. PHOTO: astrid februarie

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The installation of gym equipment has improved the attractiveness of a local park in Claremont.

The City has installed three pieces of equipment to the value of R32 450.

“It was requested by the ward councillor for the area and funded through his ward allocation funding,” says Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects. She says that the equipment is well-used by visitors.

Broken bottles, human faeces, old mattresses and vagrants used to turn residents away from the park, as People’s Post previously reported (“Certainly no walk in the park”, 19 December 2014).

At the time Abdul Kerbelker, executive manager of the Claremont Central Improvement District (CID), said by nature public spaces belong to the public, but it is the responsibility of the community to ensure that the park is well kept.

“Residents should not point a finger at the City for not doing enough, if they themselves are not doing anything to improve the situation,” he said.

“Many homeless people have nowhere to go, therefore the park and public spaces give them a sense of belonging. We can simply not just have them ‘removed’. We have to work together to find a solution and not just point fingers at one another,” he said.

The CID has staff that do regular visits to the park. They report any anti-social behaviour that is noticed in the park, says Walker.

“The City has also employed expanded public works programme workers to do clean-ups and minor horticultural maintenance on a weekly basis. This has contributed greatly to the reduction of vagrancy in the park,” she says.

A resident and chairperson of the Friends of Bishoplea Park, Christopher da Silva, told People’s Post last year that the park was “certainly not the place mothers with children would feel safe to enter”.

“We are looking for ways in which we can make the park a safer place for everyone. Locking up the park will not stop anyone from gaining access, as it is easy to jump over the fence,” he said.

Da Silva said turning the park into a techno facility with free Wi-Fi for all, vandal-proof power points for mobile devices will add to the value of the park and keep people coming back which will ensure that the park is busy with people.

“We will continue to research similar examples in Europe and Asia and then adapt ideas for what suits us best. This cannot be considered a park that just caters for local residents. This park is also frequented by workers in both the surrounding residential area and the Claremont CBD,” Da Silva said.

Walker says the park is locked by a security company in the evening and unlocked by them in the morning.

“We could not find any record of vandalism of the equipment. Only normal wear and tear has occurred,” she says.

Asked if the City plans on installing gym equipment in other parks in the area Walker says that there are no plans yet, “but discussions will be held by City parks with the relevant councillors to install more of this type of equipment as it is being well used by the community”

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