Colin Wardle, Sea Point
The letter, “Help uplift Sea Point” by Helene Turvey (Atlantic Sun, March 22), made a few suggestions.
Ms Turvey believes property developers operating in the area should undertake to uplift Sea Point, and as a developer, Blok has tried to do some of them.
As part of our ongoing strategy to reinvest in the communities in which we develop, Blok in partnership with Future Cape Town, the City of Cape Town and key stakeholders such as residents, business owners as well as local designers, have developed a number of urban intervention projects to uplift some of Sea Point’s public spaces.
Over the past five months we have been trying to renovate the Sea Point Pavilion’s stairs – which coincidentally is similar to one of Ms Turvey’s suggestions – in the hopes of expanding the project to other areas in future. However, we have been met with resistance by gatekeepers of the area.
The proposed painting and repair would be done by the Lalela Project – which did the iconic V&A Waterfront’s Breakwater stairs – using water-wise techniques and at no expense to the public.
We were particularly excited to partner with the Lalela Project on this intervention as they also provide arts education for at-risk youth to spark creative thinking and awaken their entrepreneurial spirit.
After receiving support from the Department of Arts and Culture, we still required the support of various other stakeholders such as vendors and business owners in the immediate area, the ratepayers association and, The Friends of the Sea Point Pavilion.
Most of the stakeholders contacted supported the proposal, and others who initially had apprehensions, gave their approval once our proposal and commitments were amended to meet their concerns.
Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, some gatekeepers in the community have evaded our efforts to meet them and discuss some of the concerns they still have.
These delay tactics come at a high cost as they deprive the communities they aim to assist improved facilities, while the prolonged application process exhausts project budgets.
We haven’t let this discourage us and will continue to our efforts to reach these stakeholders in order to ensure the project succeeds. Beyond this, we have a number of interventions planned for this year that we believe will add value to the area, and call on residents of Sea Point and its surrounding suburbs such as Ms Turvey who are passionate about improving their public spaces to continue supporting us in these endeavours. In the meantime, anyone who would like to learn more about some of our previous interventions such as the Thornhill Park renovation and the Blade bike parking concept along the Sea Point promenade, should please visit: http://blok.co.za/urban-living/urban-interventions.