Greasing the wheels for cohesion

2019-08-13 06:01
Steenberg High School Jazz Band entertains guests at the opening of the Eyethu Hout Bay Skate Park.

Steenberg High School Jazz Band entertains guests at the opening of the Eyethu Hout Bay Skate Park.

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There was huge excitement and celebration among Hout Bay residents at the official opening of the Eyethu Hout Bay Skate Park on Friday 26 July.

An initiative of the Rotary Club of Hout Bay (RCHB), the state-of-the-art facility was built for existing and new skateboarders, as well as the youth from the diverse communities in the area.

John Winship from RC Club Newlands said that the joy of skateboarding was that it was a low-cost activity, involving both young and old, where much of the equipment was recycled, and hence, affordable to many.

Winship said: “Above all, it is enjoyed by all the communities in Hout Bay, including Imizamo Yethu, Hangberg and the Valley.”

He adds that the establishment of the park has brought about an affirmation of togetherness, shared ownership and partnership between communities.

“Eyethu is a Nguni word meaning ‘ours’, so of course it all ties in quite nicely. The park serves as a safe space for youth to engage with one another.”

Construction took place over the past six months and cost a total of R1.5m. The Skate Park area is 950m² in total and is designed to accommodate both novices and professionals with a bowl, ramps in different sizes, rails and various other features.

The park is set up for spectators to comfortably watch friends or family skateboarding, and is situated in the busy Main Road, opposite the police station and fire station.

The original idea was developed four years ago by the skate park community and RCHB after one of the Rotary club members, Keith Bull, saw a child almost killed after skating down a side road and into the main road.

He suggested the idea of a Rotary project on the Hout Bay organised Facebook page, and sparked the realisation of a dream for the skateboarding community.

After running into problems with funding for the construction of the skate park in 2017, Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (CCPB) responded to the RCHB public pleas for corporate support.

CCPB then approached Rotary Club Newlands, their corporate social investment (CSI) partner that works closely with the company on major community projects, to connect with the Hout Bay Rotary team and offer the funding shortfall.

“Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages takes community development and enrichment very seriously.

“It brings us great joy to be able to play a role in providing a safe place for communities to enjoy this recreational activity,” said Priscilla Urquhart, public affairs and communications manager for CCPB.

The park sets a precedent for other local communities to follow, drive and lead their own public spaces and aids the community in creating their own crime prevention strategies, through unconventional sports, youth leadership and after-school training programmes.

Funders included the Rotary Clubs of Hout Bay, Newlands, Claremont, Totnes England, Vilshofen Germany, Club 790 and the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, while the site was provided by the City of Cape Town.


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