Secure park for kids

Ellen Fedele, Plumstead

A few weeks ago I proposed funding a skate-boarding ramp for the young adults of Steurhof Village as I noticed many of the children wander around in the streets playing cricket or football and run the risk of being injured by speeding vehicles.

Unfortunately, the grassy bit of land at the end of Francis Road has been earmarked for the use of South Peninsula High buses, I was told, so this idea was out.

However, the park in Old Kendal Road is there for the children to use, but they admitted to me that they do not like to do so due to the drug users, drunkards and vagrants who loiter there.

I suggest locking up the park for use at certain hours only, during afternoons for the children and creating a small skateboard ramp for the children, a few of whom I have had the privilege of teaching.

I further approached a local sports stadium whose management very kindly agreed to host children on a weekly basis – I would provide transport and and parental supervision for the duration of this outing, giving the children an outlet to play football, baseball, cricket etc to their hearts content in a safe and secure area.

Speaking to them, they all said an ecstatic “yes” to the ideas.

The response from the new committee head of the Steurhof Village Association was less than enthusiastic –
I was told that many after-school activities were in place for the children and my offer was not “needed” for the area.

What I was not told, however, was that the homework club was only for primary school pupils and the holiday programme was in place for children up to he age of 15.

The older children seem to just have to fend for themselves with regards to sports activities or keeping themselves occupied.

I am offering to pay for the concrete and installation of safety features etc in the park myself if the city engineers give the go-ahead. Could the DA councillor and Steurhof Village committee head kindly respond to this new idea please?

Councillor Carol Bew responds: We are always open to partnerships with the public.

We are always open to new, innovative ideas and success cannot be achieved without stakeholder involvement, especially local civic associations.

There are a number of possibilities and I will be meeting with the City Parks officials to discuss the projects for the new financial year.

Our children of Steurhof are already being transported to William Herbert sports fields twice a week where they take part in soccer and baseball

(assistance with transport will be well received).

As indicated, there is a homework club (where help would also be welcome) and holiday programmes (supported by the Department of Social Development).

There is also a Power of Women Programme that was established to empower the women of Steurhof and so have a knock-on effect to the children. This was done out of ward allocations and run by the Social Development Department.

When investigating a skate park a while back, I was told that the close proximity of the park to flats and houses made it a noise issue as the continual banging of the skateboards caused a nuisance. However, when we discuss the new projects, I will pursue this once more.

If a well-meaning resident wants to go into a private agreement with some parents and residents then I am sure that could possibly happen. However, the City can bear no responsibility for any financial implication that may arise or injury that may be happen.

I would love to raise funds to tar the park so that the children can play soccer, cricket, baseball, tennis etc right in their own backyard.

Any sponsorship towards this is most welcome. A palisade fence around the perimeter is also needed .

I have discussed with the various stakeholders in the community and will invite Ms Fedele to a round-table discussion with the stakeholders and City officials.