Donation makes wheelchair access to Tokai Park possible

From left, Matthew de Villiers and Ashrell Oliphant work in the Wild Card office. TMNP park manager Paddy Gordon, Rilee Palmer and Bianca Arnsmeyer of Berman Brothers Properties and Roxane Roux and Laurian Guy of OneDayOnly.

People in wheelchairs or those on crutches or using walking sticks can find it challenging getting into the Wild Card office at Tokai Park, but not for much longer, thanks to a hefty donation from a property developer and daily deal site OneDayOnly.

It all started out as an April Fool’s day prank when Berman Brothers Properties announced construction of an “exclusive” estate on Lion’s Head.

Laurian Guy, sales manager of OneDayOnly.co.za, said they wanted to do a fun, exciting prank for April Fool’s day and got in touch with Berman Brothers Properties. Between them they came up with a real plan, rendering and costing for The Lion’s Pride Estate, with luxury two to four-bedroom apartments to complement the iconic Disa Park towers and available from R5.6m.

“What made it worse was that those living in the monstrosity would have exclusive access to Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, making it impossible for the general public,” she said.

Marketing manager with Berman, Rilee Palmer, said they were shocked when some people wanted to buy two units. She said premier Helen Zille was in on the joke and tweeting about it but Tarcia Hendricks, spokesperson for Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), was receiving complaints.

Roxane Roux of OneDayOnly said they also engaged a Swiss engineer to design a cablecar up the iconic peaklet.

Asked how this led to raising funds for the wheelchair ramp, Berman’s property and sales manager, Bianca Arnsmeyer, said that on the final page of the plan they said the promotion was sold out but asked people if they would like to make a donation to SANParks.

TMNP park manager Paddy Gordon said they took universal access to the mountain very seriously. He said the boardwalk around Silvermine dam was built with that in mind and it incorporates a riser on the edge so that wheelchairs could not go off the edge. However, wheelchair access was not a standard policy with SANParks, as yet.

“The Wild Card is designed for access and if you can’t have access to the office it’ not good, so this is a wonderful match,” he said.