What will the park's future be?

2018-09-26 13:53
Lympleigh Park is reportedly the biggest public space in Plumstead. Photo: Nomzamo Yuku

Lympleigh Park is reportedly the biggest public space in Plumstead. Photo: Nomzamo Yuku

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The City of Cape Town has to decide on the future of Lympleigh Park in Plumstead, as there is some controversy surrounding it.

It is reported that Law Enforcement has been dispatching nine officers a day to monitor the park in the past three weeks, leading to rising tension in the community.

According to Wayne Dyason, Law Enforcement spokesperson, the action was taken following complaints from some local law enforcers about irregularities taking place at the park.

This involved people walking their (off-leash) dogs at the park despite the restricting bylaw and signs in each corner of the park that dogs are not allowed. As a result of the action, offenders were fined R500 for contravening the bylaw.

“In this particular case, other law-abiding people who walk in Lympleigh Park have complained about loose-running dogs in the area. The local neighbourhood watch has also implored our officers to enforce all bylaws. Officers then conducted a few operations in the park. To be ‘law-abiding’ means to obey all the laws no matter how insignificant they seem to the offender. The rules are there for a reason and our job is to enforce them.

“The consequences of untethered dogs running in public places can in some cases be severe. Examples include dog fights resulting in severe injury or even death to beloved pets, and serious injuries to other innocent dog walkers who obey the rules when they are attacked by other people’s loose-running dogs. These are extreme examples, but it has happened in the past. Then you also have dogs dropping their waste in the park and the owner, because they could not care or did not see the dog relieve itself, does not pick it up.”

The action by Law Enforcement resulted in some residents deciding to propose a change to the bylaws at the park and a petition was reportedly started.

Residents now have ideas and want the park to be made more user friendly and be upgraded to accommodate the needs of the community.

Resident Lynne Hakimi explains: “There is a group of us that have come together to work together to uplift the park in Lympleigh Road. It is such a valuable resource and should be the heart and pulse of the community. However, we feel that it is being underused and does not cater to the diverse community needs.

“There are a number of organisations in the area catering for the needs of disabled children, but nowhere for them to access outdoor equipment.

“We have met with Recreation and Parks Department officials around making certain upgrades.”

The proposed renovations at the park include­:

. Fixing the perimeter fence and removing redundant concrete structures and poles in the park

. Cleaning and replanting the flower beds in the park.

. Enclosing an area for toddlers with appropriate toddler-friendly equipment. This will also keep the toddlers safe as they will not be able to run onto the street.

. Installing wheelchair-accessible swings.

. Enclosing an area that will allow dogs to run off leash.

. Installing dog poop bag dispensers so there will be no excuse for not picking up dog poop and the park community can self-monitor that people clean up after their dogs.

“It is important to note that the wheelchair-accessible equipment and the fencing for the dog park will be self-funded.

“We are not asking for any public funds,” Hakimi says.

Ward councillor Monty Oliver says he is aware of the concerns around the park and has been promised a petition.

“I have not received the petition yet but it has been promised to be delivered to my office by [Thursday] 4 October,” Oliver says.

He says the rules of parks management will not be changed, in particular allowing dogs to be in the park “off leash”.

Oliver says these are not “harsh” bylaws if things are done properly “for the benefit of the majority and with the help of our Law Enforcement staff”.

“Our Recreation and Parks Department does not have funds for an enclosure but we believe some community members will supply the required money if permission for a fenced-off area is acceded to.”

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