Cape Town takes its parks to the next level

The City of Cape Town has upgraded several of its parks over the past year, including Surran Road Park, Nantes Park, Jack Muller Park and Elizabeth Park.

City Parks has worked hard to turn Cape Town’s flagship parks into world-class facilities as part of an effort to develop public open spaces of which Capetonians can be proud. These upgrades are in line with the City’s goal of being a Caring City, where residents can enjoy safe, beautiful spaces.
“It is so important that residents have the opportunity to enjoy recreational time in the outdoors and have the space to lead active and healthy lives. We strive to think of innovative ways to make our parks places where people love to spend their free time,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Special Projects, Alderman Belinda Walker.

The Jack Muller Park in Bellville is earmarked to be developed as a facility that can host major events – with the goal of ultimately becoming financially self-sustainable. This is a multi-year project and upgrades will continue over the next two years at a total overall cost of approximately R15 million. In the past year, an irrigation system that uses borehole water has been installed as part of the City’s commitment to reduce water demand on potable water resources. A considerable amount has been spent on revamping the picnic area and laying instant lawn. Two security guard structures have been added to the existing one in the park to ensure an increased security presence. Future upgrades will include the provision of a biodiversity area, outdoor gyms, footpaths and a tea garden, as well as the extension of the play area to cater for the disabled.
An open area of approximately 1 hectare has been earmarked to be developed as a Public Open Space in Hanover Park. This area was known as a place where criminal activities took place, and residents felt unsafe. The area now forms Surran Road Park. Today, not even a year after the park opened, this space is used by all age groups for recreational purposes.
Over a two-year period, R2,7 million was spent on the upgrade. The entire area has been grassed and fitted with an irrigation system and large trees have been planted. A skateboard area has been established and is very popular with local youths. A variety of play equipment has been installed, with a seating area for adults to supervise their children.
Formal pathways have also been created to give structure to the design of the park. A performing stage is in the process of being erected with additional trees for shade. A BMX track is on the plan for construction within the next financial year.
Nantes Park is a 26 hectare open space located in Bridgetown, Athlone with the Vygieskraal River running through it. Prior to development, the park consisted only of a small outdated play area. In 2012 a fence was installed around the park for security reasons and a consultant was appointed to design and manage the upgrade of the Park. In 2012, a contractor was appointed for R26 million and was on site from 2 April 2012. The scope of work was to:
•         develop new formal pathways around park
•         build a new tea room, with toilets and a store room
•         develop two new big play areas
•         develop a skateboard park
•         landscape the park
•         develop an amphitheatre
•         develop an outdoor gym
•         demolish one old bridge and build a new bridge
•         install new railing for the other existing bridge
•         develop a new parking area in Appledene Road
•         upgrade Loerie Road (side walk, raised intersections and speed humps)
Thus far 80% of the work has been completed and the contractor is on site to complete the remaining work.
Elizabeth Park in the Bellville CBD underwent upgrades valued at R1,5million over the past year. The project was planned in consultation with the relevant local stakeholders and included fencing the entire park, construction of a retaining wall to eliminate problem vagrant areas, placement of park benches and installation of an irrigation system. Existing pathways have been upgraded and grass and trees planted. This park provides a much-needed green space in a built-up area and it is important to ensure that it is a safe space before further investments into this park can take place.
“We have been encouraged to see how each of these parks has become a point of pride for local communities. It is our goal to create parks which are more than just open spaces, but rather hubs of recreation and social activities,” said Alderman Walker.