Park a ‘no-go’ zone

John Windell Park looks more like a sand heap these days than a popular beach spot due to maintenance work completed by the City of Cape Town.

Months of City earthworks in a Small Bay public park have some worried whether it will ever resemble the pleasant picnic spot they once knew.

John Windell Park, just off Pelegrini Street, has been a popular spot for beach goers along the West Coast.

The park has its own Facebook page with people posting pictures of sunsets and swimmers.

But about two years ago, visitors to the park started noticing that not all was well.

Agi Orfanos, from West Beach, said the park had been a favourite for families with young children for decades.

“In the mid-1990s, I used to bring my son and dog here for picnics and a swim,” said Mr Orfanos. Now he described the park as a “no-go area”.

Toward the end of 2017, people discussed the “shocking state” of the park on its Facebook page too and posted pictures of “deteriorating” conditions.

Things have grown much worse in recent months.

The City has now fenced off the park and prohibited entry while it does maintenance work.

The paving has been lifted and lies in a heap on the side. The lawn has been removed and machinery and pipes can be seen. Sand bags are stacked along a sea wall leading from the side of the park into the sea.

Last week a large pipe could be seen lying in Pelegrini Street while workers dug a trench in the road. The pipe has since been put into the trench and covered.

“The sea wall was rebuilt, and now a pipe is being laid resulting in the stripping bare of all the lawns and vegetation,” said Mr Orfanos.

“Building materials and rubble are strewn all over as well as in the beach. Everything is dilapidated here,” said Mr Orfanos.

Mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said the City was replacing sewerage infrastructure in the area as part of regular maintenance.

She said the project consists of three phases:

“All three phases will run concurrently,” said Ms Limberg.

She said the brick paving would be reinstated as part of the project but did not give a date.

Asked when the park would be reopened, Ms Limberg said: “Weather permitting, completion is envisaged by the end of November.”

Mayco member for community services and health Dr Zahid Badroodien said the lawn would be laid in September to get it ready for the summer period.

Table View Ratepayers’ Association chairwoman Mandy da Matta said that while it was necessary for the City to maintain infrastructure it had “pushed it to the final hour”.

She added: “This extensive damage would not occur if maintained properly. We understand that the City has to do the repairs and winter is a perfect time to do this necessary remedial work. It is hoped that when the work is completed that the park is restored.”