“Our children are very excited about the new park but we are worried about their safety.”
CITY residents are concerned about the safety of their children who are eager to make use of the new playground in Barkly Road in Homestead.
The parents said that while they welcomed the park, they are hoping that it will be fenced off.
“We were surprised to find a contractor setting up the equipment outside our houses on Wednesday morning. Our children are very excited about the new park but we are worried about their safety. Many accidents occur on the very busy road, especially over weekends. As there is a shortage of recreational facilities, we are certain that children from the surrounding areas – including Santa, Lerato Park and Colville – will walk unaccompanied to play at the park.”
Other community members have meanwhile questioned why a contractor from Johannesburg was hired.
Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture spokesperson Conrad Fortune said on Thursday that the site was identified by Sol Plaatje Municipality.
“As part of a national outreach programme to get more people active, the national Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, under the ministerial outreach programme, identified three outdoor gyms for the Northern Cape, including in Homestead and Galeshewe and one in the Renosterberg Municipality,” said Fortune.
He added that consultation and approval of the projects was done in conjunction with the national Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and Sol Plaatje Municipality.
“As this was a national project, all procurement and appointment of contractors was facilitated by the national Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and not by the Province. We note the safety concerns raised and it is a matter that will be addressed by the municipality, as custodians of the outdoor recreational facility and gym.”
Fortune stated that the facilities aimed to provide the community with free access to gym equipment.
“It will create an enabling environment for cultivating an active lifestyle to combat lifestyle illnesses such as obesity and diabetes.”
Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said the Frank Roro cricket ground and Bambanani park in ward 7 were identified in the previous financial years as suitable sites for the outdoor gyms.
“The gym and playground equipment was installed and funded by the Department of Sports and Recreation South Africa. The national department appointed a service provider to install the equipment. Parks and gardens assisted in cleaning of the parks,” said Matsie.
He said that the sites were chosen as they were easily accessible to the community and were in close proximity to schools.
“The sites had to be at least 600 square metres and needed to have a water point, preferably a tap.
“The municipality will be responsible for the maintenance of the outdoor gym.”