Call for skate park to be repaired

DGS (Dik Ge Skate) member Devon Krige, 21, takes a leap on the cracked and potholed Westridge Gardens skateboard park.

Mitchell’s Plain youth are trying to get Westridge Gardens skate park resurfaced to offer a youth skate programme.

In recent months they have reached out to mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and ward councillor Ashley Potts.

DGS (Dik Ge Skate) members, including Reagon Roman, 17, from Westridge, Devon Krige, 21, from Woodridge, Qiyaam Mentor, 26, from Rocklands, Antonio Willemse, 23, and Stephen Pitts, 30, both from Portland, met the Plainsman at the park on Wednesday February 16.

They say they have been trying to meet up with these local government representatives since November last year.

Mr Pitts said they are just representatives of the many skateboarders who frequent the park daily and who want to make a difference.

“Many of us have been injured already and we fear future injuries, especially for children new to the park, who are not familiar with the cracks that have become potholes and pushed up gravel,” he said.

They mentioned that the park could be an alternative to youth roaming the streets, and getting involved in crime, drugs and gangsterism.

Mr Willemse said unsavoury characters were loitering in the garden, who were affecting other park users.

“We also need a law enforcement or metro police presence,” he said.

He said in the past the officers would be based in the gardens and would oversee the activities in the garden and the park.

Mr Roman said many groups have used the competition arena like the skate park and have done “patch-up jobs”.

“They’ve done this all these years but this park has not been maintained. This is the oldest part of the garden which has been left in ruins and has become stone city. It has been neglected,” he said.

Pictured at the back, from left, are DGS (Dik Ge Skate) members, Antonio Willemse, 23, Devon Krige, 21, from Woodridge, and Reagon Roman, 17, from Westridge. In front are Stephen Pitts, 30, from Portland, and Qiyaam Mentor, 26, from Rocklands.

Mr Potts said the City of Cape Town’s recreation and Parks team has to meet with the youth to clarify their concerns.

“The challenge of course being their urgency for action beyond what is possible through the standard City procurement protocols and tender route,“ he said.

The group had sent him WhatsApp texts.

He has agreed to meet Mr Roman next Thursday March 3.

Mr Potts said he had discussed the possibility of creating a friends of the skate park group, with multiple registered stakeholders, who seek to partner with City in this regard.

They would have to be registered on the City’ database.

“Regarding the repair of the skate park, it would need to meet stringent regulations for everyone’ safety so only compliant contractors will be permitted to execute repairs to this space,“ he said.

He agreed that the group could create a needed diversion for youth across Mitchell’s Plain, from the many social ills they confront daily.

He wants to work with all respective entities to see the skate park restored to a functional state once more.

“I pledge my commitment to this end and only ask that skaters and residents be patient and allow the due process to run its course so we could reach the desired outcome,” he said.

Mayor spokesperson Lyndon Khan said there was a message on social media to Mr Lewis about the skate park.

They were then directed to email the mayor but had not done so yet.