The Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD) in Heideveld, built at a cost of R13 million, will accommodate approximately 150 children in the infant, toddler and pre-schooler age groups and will serve the Heideveld, Welcome Estate and Vanguard Estate communities.The ECD Centre is part of the capital budget of the City of Cape Town’s directorate of community services and health of just more than R366 million in this financial year spread across four departments, namely recreation and parks, health, social development, early childhood development and library and information services. From synthetic pitches to clinics and the restoration of historic buildings, the directorate is juggling multiple projects across the metropole. “This is about ensuring access to quality services and facilities for our residents, in their communities, for their communities. Each project that the City undertakes is preceded by public participation, which gives everyone a voice in the development of their area, and helps develop a sense of ownership and shared responsibility for these facilities,” says Mayor Dan Plato. The budget is earmarked for new developments, as well as upgrades of existing facilities. “The City has hundreds of facilities across the metropole, but we recognise that the ever-growing list of needs outstrips supply and that’s why we are investing heavily in expanding our portfolio of community facilities, whether it be clinics, libraries or recreational spaces,” Plato says.“It is envisaged that the ECD in Heideveld should be open sometime in the new year and will be utilised as soon as an operator has been appointed,” says Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for community services and health in the City.The facility in Heideveld will consist of classrooms, play areas and ablution facilities in accordance with specifications set out for ECD Centres.The start of the construction of the Heideveld ECD was marked with a sod-turning in September last year. At the event emphasis was once again placed on the importance of early learning and development that leads to success in future years of the child. The ECD in Heideveld is designed to be water and energy-efficient and includes natural ventilation and lighting for long-term sustainability.Other design features include the optimum use of environmental elements such as the sun and wind in conjunction with green technologies such as solar panels. The emphasis is on reducing the need for electricity as solar panels reduce this demand by at least 50%. This also leads to a reduction in operational savings for water and electricity.