Athletics track proposal on the cards

KAYLYNN PALM

Sub-council 12 has submitted a motion to the City of Cape Town to probe the possibility of building a grass athletics track in Mitchell’s Plain.

The proposed track was discussed during a Sub-council 12 meeting on Thursday March 17 at the Lentegeur Council Chambers.

Sub-council 12 chairperson Eddie Andrews said the City had reported back to the sub-council that Stephen Reagon Sports Field (which the sub-council had recommended as the site for the track) would have huge associated costs as the drainage system and the spotlights had to be relocated. He added that the Swartklip sports ground and the JQ sports ground had been suggested as alternative options.

“The need for the requested space to only be utilised by the athletics fraternity was also further substantiated by the lack of dedicated training space for athletes.

“At this stage the intension is to secure the space and it would be a grass track.

“Subsequent meetings resolved to consider Swartklip facility as an option as there is a stand already and the field identified could be demarcated only for athletics.

“There is a need for a track in Mitchell’s Plain as we have primary and high schools who have to procure transport to host a school athletics meeting or participate in a meeting,” he said.

Danny Christians, councillor for Ward 81, which includes Rocklands and parts of Portland and Westridge, said the track would benefit schools and running clubs in the area. He said during the 1980s, police had used the track at JQ sports grounds extensively, as had the Mitchell’s Plain community.

“Why do our schools have to go to Athlone and Green Point, when they can use the facilities in the area? Our schools are very active when it comes to athletics, so this would definitely benefit the youth and the clubs,” he said.

When the Plainsman visited the JQ field on Thursday March 17, the track was overgrown with grass and bushes and there were mole hills and dirt.

Mr Christians said while the field was poorly maintained, he believed it could be revitalised.

“It has been downgraded, but still has potential. The site needs a full inspection and then it will be determined how much money can be spent on the upgrade,” he said.

Mr Christians said it would need to be cleared of excess vegetation, a fence and lighting would have to be installed and ablution facilities built.

Mr Andrews said it was important to encourage and support children if they had a desire to participate in sports.

“The support should not only be limited to personally encouraging the athlete but also canvassing all stakeholders (which includes government) to build the necessary infrastructure where it is needed.

“This would include attending public meetings especially the Integrated Business Plan (IDP) for the City where community members have the opportunity to again formally submit requests,” he said.