Trafalgar to be upgraded

2016-02-23 06:00
Trafalgar Park an integral part of the community since 1905 is due for an upgrade and development. PHOTO: GARY VAN DYK

Trafalgar Park an integral part of the community since 1905 is due for an upgrade and development. PHOTO: GARY VAN DYK

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A landmark park in Woodstock is up for an upgrade and some residents in the area feel it is long overdue.

Trafalgar Park was formally established in 1905 for the residents of District Six and was then known as the East End Plantation.

During the early decades of the 20th century, this three hectare park consisted of a garden with flower beds and a rose garden, similar to the Company’s Garden during the same period.

The southern extension of the park was covered in pine trees, which extended across the lower slopes of Table Mountain. The park also contains the French Central Redoubt (fort) which was declared a National Monument in 1968 and which has been upgraded.

“However, over the years, the park has not been used optimally,” said the City’s Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, Johan van der Merwe.

“Some upgrades have been done to the heritage resources, swimming pool and fencing but the new emphasis is on integrating the entire park which will encourage a sense of community ownership and increased use of the park by law-abiding local residents and the community as a whole.

“The City has followed an organised and inclusive approach with local residents and business to see how we can make our vision for this historic park happen.”

A vision plan was therefore drawn up, a safety and security framework has been developed, and the process of establishing a trust fund to manage private sector donations has begun.

“This is an important year for the residents of District Six especially and our hope is that this public space can be changed into a community and family-friendly space.”

Gordon Richards, a long time resident, who was visiting a play park in the area with his grandchildren, felt that this would be a good move for the area.

“The park has always played a special part in this community. As I child I can remember the Christmas choirs performing here, and it was a favourite place to have your wedding photo’s taken.

“Mine were taken here,” he chuckles.

Richards also felt that the upgrades must focus on safety and security.
“There must be some kind of control over the park,” he says.
“Sometimes there are just too many unsavoury characters hanging around the place and they interfere with the children. If there is control, the park will become a place that can be enjoyed to the full.”

With the help of the communities of Woodstock and District Six, an Integrated Management Framework (IMF) for the park has been developed which will help to drive the vision for the beautification, landscaping and heritage upgrades of the entire park.

The focus of the IMF is not only on conservation because the character of each precinct within the park clearly dictates a unique approach for its development.
There will therefore be an integrated management approach to aid conservation, to encourage a greater use of open space, and to drive new development and landscaped areas.
The most southern part of the park, south of Nelson Mandela Boulevard, also presents new opportunities within the District Six community for open space uses in conjunction with the local communities.

Once the plan is adopted by the community and the sub-council, the City will start with the phased planning of various upgrade projects.

“Success will only be achieved if we all work together towards the same goal,” concluded Van der Merwe.

This is how it will look after the proposed upgrade.

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