Friends of the Park up and running

2015-11-24 06:00

An organisation to clean up Van Riebeeck Park is now up and running, but the park’s transformation doesn’t end there.

The Friends of Van Riebeeck Park, recently established and in the process of registering with the City of Cape Town, has a vision far beyond a clean and safe space.

The Friends dream of increased recreational and educational usage of the park by residents and learners in the city bowl, with the development and sharing of the historical, cultural and geographic dimensions space which borders the Table Mountain National Park.

“Over 20 brainstorming ideas emerged, including a welcome centre, a geological display, a water feature for kids, pedestrian walkways, designated picnic areas, pop-up tea or food stalls for event days, lighting, rehabilitation of the flora in the area and an intergenerational park,” Anstey says.

A number of extensive litter clean-up operations have already been carried out along with specialised cleaning of the river bed, explains The Friends’ Gary Anstey.

“Already more residents are using the park for recreational purposes,” he says.

The Friends are currently focussing on obtaining the support of institutions in the area and will be using social media to carry out a membership drive. Bushes and grass have been extensively pruned and cut back and a mountain bike and cross country track has been initiated by St Cyprians.

“St Cyprians parents drove the establishment of a mountain bike and cross country running track through the park in October this year, with a view of extending its route. At the same time, Highlands House has indicated that they would like to see an exercise park established for the elderly and that will be suitable for youngsters as well. They envision that this facility would be open to the broader public during normal hours with a qualified occupational therapist available at certain times in the month for the broader community,” he says.

The organisation hopes to create a safe public space for all – from toddlers to the elderly – with facilities that everyone can enjoy.

“We hope to eliminate antisocial behaviour, such as washing and bathing in public, urinating and defecating in public, littering, accumulation of rubbish, pollution of the river system, making of fires in a park, and the risk of fire in an area where the southeaster howls, permanent overnighting and squatting by vagrants,” Anstey says.

V Residents are encouraged to ‘like’ the group on Facebook or to send an email of support to

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