Hopes for new life at Princess Vlei

Community members plant indigenous vegetation.

The Princess Vlei Forum has partnered with the City of Cape Town to transform Princess Vlei into a community park where nature can be celebrated.

The completion of phase one of the Princess Vlei Park was marked on Saturday August 5.

It includes an entrance gateway and pedestrian pathway.

People from the surrounding communities lent a helping hand on Saturday, by cleaning up the area and planting indigenous fynbos.

Children, their parents and the young at heart did not mind getting their clothing dirty as they got stuck in the garden work.

Ward 72 councillor Kevin Southgate welcomed the community.

“Today we have planted 250 plants and this is only phase one of the transformation of Princess Vlei. This is phenomenal and we hope these plants will grow and will be here for generations to come.”

Mr Southgate has allocated funds from the ward budget and has pledged to give an annual amount while the Princess Vlei Forum has also raised funds to employ a manager and assistant at Princess Vlei for three years and schools in the surrounding areas will be included in programmes based on environmental education.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said they wanted the area to be used in a positive way to prevent anti-social and criminal behaviour.

“We will be talking to law enforcement and Metro police about making sure that things are in order at the vlei and also that vehicles do not park right onto the grassed areas but at the same time the community is going to have to take ownership and use this space respectively.”

Gary Stewart, deputy chairman of the Princess Vlei Forum, said there were a number of reasons why the vlei was important to the community.

“People have memories of coming here as youth. It has heritage significance.This area is not what it used to be but the Princess Vlei Forum is all about making the area useful again and it holds the potential to develop our youth.”

Ian Lewis, a Grassy Park resident and volunteer for disaster management, said it was wonderful to see community members getting involved.

“I remember my family and I would come here on a Sunday afternoon and it was a place to relax. I am glad that it can come back to that, where families can come and enjoy themselves.”

People dusted off their boots and clothing as the day ended, and the crowd took part in a botanical walk around the vlei.

Phase one of the park’s development includes an entrance gateway off Prince George Drive.

It also includes a pedestrian pathway which flows onto a timber viewing deck overlooking the vlei and a paved parking area.