‘Park was a waste of money’

2019-01-29 06:00
The Seawinds Smart Park just after it opened.

The Seawinds Smart Park just after it opened.

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Seawinds residents say the money that was invested in building the smart park in the area should have been invested into building houses or a training facility for the youth.

The City of Cape Town recently sent out a statement saying it is dismayed at the wanton destruction and vandalism which has turned the multi-million rand Seawinds Smart Park into a pile of rubble and ash, and reduced the building to a charred skeleton.

Built at a cost of R7.6m, the facility was opened on Heritage Day, 24 September 2017.

Mayco member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, says there is nothing left of the park, which was opened a mere 16 months ago.

“These features are now burned to ash, vandalised or stolen. The park has been damaged to such an extent that it is unrecognisable as the same space it was when it opened. For that brief time it provided families with world-class features that included a water play area where children could learn about the water cycle and splash around in shallow water; a younger children’s play area; a multi-purpose playground; two multi-purpose courts that could host a variety of ball games; a picnic area and covered stage, as well as outdoor exercise areas. Sadly, criminals have destroyed this facility and the ideal it stood for. Families no longer have a beautiful, safe place to enjoy and the children of the area now have even less recreational space to call their own,” he says

Badroodien says the City cannot fight the scourge of vandalism and destruction alone. Each one of us needs to be more responsible. “We must report acts of vandalism and theft to the police and Law Enforcement as and when we witness them. This requires both active citizenry and exercising our moral duty to do what is right.”

However, resident of the area, Aysha Davids, says that had the City listened to them all this could have been avoided. “We made it clear that we didn’t want a park here. What was pressing for us and still an issue is housing. We told them they should use the money to build houses,” she says. However, she says their suggestion was dismissed and they were told the park will go on as it was already in the pipeline. “It was forced on us. Remember at the time it was launched there were water restrictions, so it really didn’t make sense to have a smart park which will use water in the midst of a water crisis,” Davids says.

Davids adds that the City must listen to the people. “This just shows what happens when the officials don’t listen to the people. They didn’t involve the community in all this. Even when the whole park was done no-one really came to the community and engaged with us on how the park should be used and what our part will be as the community, hence the waste of money.”

Ward 67 councillor Gerry Gordon says when the process started she was not yet the councillor.

“I don’t know the prior discussion, but we went on with the park because people wanted it. They said other areas are getting parks so we wanted to bring it to them, but it has been reduced to nothing.”

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