Step into history

2018-07-17 06:00
Ward councillors Brandon Golding and Dave Bryant, with Mayco member for assets and facilities management Stuart Diamond, with City officials during a site visit to the Lower De Waal Park running trackPHOTO: Nicole McCain

Ward councillors Brandon Golding and Dave Bryant, with Mayco member for assets and facilities management Stuart Diamond, with City officials during a site visit to the Lower De Waal Park running trackPHOTO: Nicole McCain

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A new jogging track, based on a historical pathway, is expected to transform an Oranjezicht public space into a community hub.

The multipurpose track at Lower De Waal Park, as well as an outdoor gym, is expected to be open for use by the end of this week.

The track was viewed by ward councillor Dave Bryant, Mayco member for assets and facilities management Stuart Diamond, City officials and members of interest groups on Thursday.

The track, which can also be used for cycling, was originally proposed as a figure of eight around the Molteno reservoir. However, challenges around the reservoir site saw the track instead placed on the upper section of the property, opposite De Waal Park.

The track follows the same path which previously existed on the site and is evident in maps from 1895, Bryant explains.

Some parts of the site have been declared provincial heritage areas and others are graded 3A in terms of heritage legislation. This required approval from relevant heritage departments.

The installation of the track and gym equipment will serve as space for recreational athletic activity, Bryant says, and follows requests from residents for more outdoor recreation spaces.

“Residents have expressed a desire for more outdoor recreation spaces and this project acknowledges those sentiments. The track will provide a more formalised place for jogging, and little ones will be able to practise riding their bikes without danger from cars,” he previously told People’s Post (“Park upgrade on track,” 27 March).

During the site visit, Diamond added that projects such as this one are not only about protecting green spaces, but also about protecting heritage sites.

He explained that creating opportunities for the recreational use of public spaces also brings people together, such as seen in the Green Point Urban Park and De Waal Park, and he encouraged Capetonians to “get active­”.

The installation of the track is a step towards connecting the two sections of the park, Bryant added. He said the upgrade of the lower park formed part of a green route, linking the Company’s Garden to Deer Park.

The lower park has never been formally integrated into the upper park space. In addition, there have been safety and social concerns at the site, such as dumping, vagrancy and illegal activities.

Bryant believes turning the space into one which is frequented by the community will help to alleviate some of these concerns.

“By using the park on a more regular basis, the community will become the eyes are ears for law enforcement agencies and make [those engaging in illegal activities] less comfortable operating in the space,” Bryant said.

In addition, public lighting will be installed on the site during the third phase of the project, Bryant said, which will improve the safety of joggers and cyclists making use of the track.

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