Following a site meeting at the Kevin and Justin roads playpark in Ottery last week, a fence has been erected to separate the soccer field from the playpark.
“Soccer is one of the strong drawcards in the area,” says ward councillor for the area, William Akim.
The already enclosed field was intruding on the rest of the playpark and vice versa.
“We engaged with the community first, because ultimately this is what they wanted. We spoke to some of the people who were present there and some of the parents who were at the park. They were all in favour of us separating the park from the sports field,” he says.
However, the project was not without its fair share of hiccups.
“We had an issue which came up on the Thursday evening. Some of the drug users who frequent the park removed 13 of those concrete poles which did not set yet. I went around to Ottery and spoke to those guys who were there just to get information from them if they can tell me where the poles are,” adds Akim.
A resident in the area had witnessed part of the incident and informed him of her discovery. “A lady told me who the people were who stole the poles. She showed me where the poles were. We eventually received six of the stolen poles. I think the thieves were disturbed because people recognised their faces, so they knew they were going to report the matter,” he says.
The would-be thieves used a wheelie bin, which Akim says was heard by residents when being wheeled down the road during the night. “Residents probably confronted them and they ran away. We found the poles and then I was given the names of the guys who stole the poles. A police case was made by those who saw them. The contractor who was there needed the case number, because when the City needs to make payment, they will ask him for proof of what they did,” explains Akim.
The poles were subsequently replanted, with residents in the area volunteering to ensure nothing more was removed or stolen from the project, which Akim says cost R20 000. “They (residents) took responsibility for what is happening in the area. The type of fence that we used was wire mesh fencing. I didn’t want them to put a gate between the park and the soccer field, because the gate will end up being removed. Rather keep it open for access for people to move freely between the two areas. The residents are happy at the upgrades over there.”