Cape Town is much more than Grand Parade, Green Point

Cape Times – January 2nd, 2014
Philip M Bam
Grassy Park

YOUR leader in the Cape Times of December 30 lauds mayor Patricia de Lille for bringing people from all over Cape Town back to public spaces, referring to the Green Point Urban Park and the Grand Parade.

You fail to recognise that Cape Town is much more than the Grand Parade and Green Point. You refer to the challenge to make “these public spaces” accessible to all who live in the city.

It is a huge challenge to get Capetonians from as far afield as the Helderberg, Atlantis and the far deep south to enjoy the public spaces within the City Bowl, but what about the public spaces within affordable reach of the thousands of poorer citizens, on then-doorsteps, such as Princess Vlei? Does Atlantis have a space similar to that of the Green Point Urban Park?

The city should be investing in developing relaxing and recreational areas all over this huge, expansive city You state that a perception exists that Cape Town is the exclusive reserve of the affluent and well-connected. You are being kind. It is more than a perception. It is a reality to many poor citizens of Cape Town. We cannot deny that much has been done to spruce up the centre of our city but the city is not the Cape TownCBD.

Communities all over this city have shown their desire to take ownership of. public spaces and have found the city somewhat non-responsive, precisely because of the notion that public open spaces are expendable and can be sacrificed at the altar of greedy development.

Take a look at Princess Viet at weekends and on every public holiday, the place is packed with families who gather to enjoy their public space. Yet, the city has neglected the space and allows it to deteriorate to such an extent that shortsighted and misguided city leadership could claim it needs a shopping mall to keep it in shape.

Why are there no security services provided as at Green Point and the Parade? Why can’t the city provide facilities as it does with public spaces for the affluent? Your readers might not know that the Princess Vlei World, Design Capital project was shortlisted but was thrown out, as is alleged, because of some spurious reason. The truth will in due course be revealed. Perhaps the Cape Times could inquire why it was pushed off the table.

Logra Civic calls for a serious rethink on how we make our public spaces accessible to the poor. Spaces should be developed closer to the people. Our community and thousands throughout the city demonstrated the will to collaborate with our city leadership to take ownership of Princess Vlei and turn it into a space of cultural memory and recreation.

In 2014 the people of Cape Town have a once-in-a-Iifetime opportunity to reclaim a wonderful public open space.

Let the mayor and the city leadership not be found wanting.

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