A group of City Bowl residents plan to upgrade their park into the next tourist link between the city and Table Mountain.The Friends of Van Riebeeck Park have created a proposal that will see the park transformed into a facility to rival that of Green Point Urban Park. The organisation has been meeting with various roleplayers to present the proposal, dubbed the “Platteklip Project”, and have already received support from ward councillor Brandon Golding.The first phase of the long-term plan will see the installation of lighting, upgrade of the pathway and rehabilitation of the river.Friends chairperson Gary Anstey says: “Van Riebeeck Park occupies a unique space in the City Bowl in that a city park directly borders Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). The Platteklip stream runs down through the park and trees dot the landscape. A number of residents observed that community-led attempts to revitalise urban parks produce fantastic public spaces which are enjoyed by the broader community. For example, look at Green Point Urban Park and the exercise equipment at Three Anchor Bay.“Thus the Platteklip Project has taken shape which aims to capitalise on its unique position. The project is about investing in a legacy project which will make the city proud and provide recreational and educational space for residents and ratepayers.”The proposal centres on the concept of the park as the gateway to Table Mountain. “The architectural vision is to restore the link between the mountain and the sea by extending the existing green belts, pathways and parks from the Waterfront to Platteklip Gorge on Tafelberg Road, Anstey says.“The heritage vision is to surface the architectural, social and political stories associated with the space – the slaves, washerwomen, the kramats, the schools and institutions in the area. Building on the work of others, it is to expand and tell the story of Camissa (sweet waters), share the flora endemic to the area, the tales of the introduced species and the fauna that make it home.”The cost of the total project is in the region of R8m, Anstey says, and the organisation is looking for donors to contribute towards the upgrade.Golding has already committed R325 000 to the first phase during this financial year and a further R250 000 in the next financial year. The first phase will be implemented within the next 12 months.“The first phase entails a walkway from the top of Gorge Road heading for 200m up to a meeting and sitting area, with a welcome entrance to focus attention and facilitate passage, and lighting. It will entail rehabilitation of the river and reinforcing the river banks,” he says.Subsequent phases involve extending the boardwalks down to Homeleigh Avenue, installing inter-generational play equipment, creating pedestrian paths and cycle tracks around the playing fields, information boards, tree and plant identification tags, water splash areas for children and seating. The organisation has also proposed using a building on the land as a coffee shop.“We need champions willing to expand the project – fine educational institutions who will adopt different aspects of the flora, fauna, geology and social history. For example, [use the] horticultural opportunities to rehabilitate areas, engineering opportunities to rehabilitate and secure the watercourse, design opportunities to modify the architectural vision in specific locations, social opportunities to use the space for meeting friends, thinking, reading or working,” he says.“[We’re looking to] build on the volunteerism demonstrated thus far by OvP Landscape Architects, Architects and Environmental Planners, who designed the Green Point park, who have generously drawn up concept drawings for the overall framework of the park itself and detailed work for the first phase. However, a fortune of work is going to be done with Sanparks to integrate the city plan with the TMNP plan. Our small team of nine volunteers desperately needs people with different skills and who are willing to make a difference.”V For more information visit the Friends of Van Riebeeck Park page on Facebook or email email@example.com.