Subway gets new lease on life

Community police Forum representative Peter Humphries, Ward 72 councillor Kevin Southgate and Enver Dollie from the Passanger Rail Agency of South Africa.

Heathfield residents and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) have joined forces to clean up and beautify Heathfield station.

Hands off our Subways is a community-driven initiative to make subways across the city safer and to tackle drug abuse.

Stations in areas including Kenilworth, Brackenfell and Nyanga have already been worked at.

“We hope to take this initiative all over the Western Cape and potentially the rest of South Africa,” said George Kiewiets from Prasa.

There were plans to paint a mural at the Heathfield station but the walls still needed to be prepared.

The vision for the mural includes trees, mountains and hand prints of local schoolchildren.

The mural will also feature the slogans, “Hands off our Subways“ and “We love Heathfield” which will be done by graphic designer, Christopher Lategan.

Paint, spray paint and donations have already been collected from various local business owners such as Amien Khan who donated 20 litres of paint, Yeshua Primary School, the local pizza shop, bakery, butchery and building companies, as well as the Princess Vlei Civic association and a personal donation from ward councillor Kevin Southgate.

Officials from Metrorail and community members met to discuss maintaining and securing the area.

“We have put a lot of time, effort and resources to really see a new subway emerge out of this,” said Mr Southgate.

Concerned resident Dion Collison said discussions were around the broken glass theory, which is based on the idea that even one misdemeanour, no matter how small, will lead to more crime if not tackled immediately.

He said residents should be able to feel safe when using the subway.

Mr Southgate said: “I have committed myself to work with the committee and the local community in terms of steering this (initiative) which was born out of a deep concern that we had for the station itself.

“First of all the look of the station because it was filthy and untidy, it wasn’t well kept or maintained by Prasa and also the security risks that we are exposed to in terms of the subway and the state of the subway”.

Prasa Corporate Real Estate Solutions (Prasa Cres) has agreed to fence off certain areas of the station.

Prasa Cres stated at the meeting that a tender would be sent out for the procurement of clear view gates.

Two pints of paint will be donated by Metrorail to help with the maintaining of the subway.

The mural is said to be completed in the upcoming weeks.