The City of Cape Town has identified the Khayelitsha Wetlands Park as a development priority. Development plans and benefits of the project are outlined below:
The Khayelitsha Wetlands Park (KWP), a district park stretching along the entire northern edge of Khayelitsha, has been identified as a development priority by the City’s Community Services Directorate. Future upgrading of the area brings with it a number of value offerings on which the City is hoping to capitalise.
The budget for the 2012/13 financial year focused on further infrastructure development, including the establishment of ablution facilities, research and supervisory quarters, and office accommodation; the development of a water body and landscaping to enhance the aesthetic value of the facility; and the implementation of zoning recommendations for the future development of the area.
“There is a lot more to come. The opportunities presented by this urban wetland park include the establishment of habitat diversity, environmental education and eco-tourism, economic benefits for the community, and visual relief in an urban environment. It can become a showcase for sustainable development,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Special Projects, Alderman Belinda Walker:
One of the objectives of the KWP Business Plan is to create as many job opportunities as possible during the development process. During this financial year, 24 job opportunities were created with funding from the Capital Budget and 79 jobs were created through the Operating Budget – 24 of these being on a full-time basis for 12 months.
Expanded Public Works Programme funding also created 96 temporary job opportunities over a period of six months, and further development down the line will ensure that many others will benefit.
In addition, discussions aimed at creating a partnership with the Community Policing Forum are at an advanced stage. The aim of these discussions is to create a Park Warden’s Forum that will focus on reducing the risk of crime and vandalism in the park.
“These wetlands have been viewed by the community as a crime hotspot for too long. The proposed Park Warden’s Forum will go a long way towards ensuring the creation of a Safe City for the local community,” said Alderman Walker.
The focus for the next financial year will include the implementation of structural plans for further development including the construction of a Spray Park; the installation of outdoor gym equipment; and further landscaping – thus ensuring that the community has a recreational space that they can be proud of.
Simultaneously, a structured event plan will be implemented to optimise use of the facility and to increase the public awareness of what the facility has to offer.
The City is grateful to Councillor Mthwalo Mkutswana and Councillor Amos Komeni for their contribution towards establishing the Steering Committee for the facility. To date, their Ward Development Forums have facilitated all of the public participation and community liaison processes on this project.