For the past five years, the Forum has been consulting with community members to develop this vision through workshops, surveys and meetings. The Forum also has a team of architects and professional designers who are donating their time to work with the planning department of City Parks to make sure that developments are done according to the wishes of the community.
Many of the improvements have been made possible by Councillor Kevin Southgate, who has allocated a large proportion of the ward budget to Princess Vlei every year. Cllr Southgate has also been instrumental in assisting the Princess Vlei Forum with leveraging other resources from the City to improve the environment and facilities at Princess Vlei.
Recent developments on the eastern shore include:
- A new entrance and boom gate, designed to limit access to the park at the night. This is restrict after hours drinking on site, vandalism, theft and dumping. The boom is open at sunrise and closed at sunset, but arrangements can be made to open at other times on request.
- Brick paving of the entrance roadway and parking lot
- The erection of a wooden viewing deck
- Stone braai stands with surrounding walls. These were installed in time for those wanting to braai on the Easter weekend. Families using the new stands were pleased with the chopping blocks for wood, and hoped to see tables and benches installed soon.
- A communal braai stand, probably to be located under the large trees close to the ablution block.
- A children’s play park near the braai stands
- Kirstenbosch has undertaken to help with landscaping the area around the braai stands
- A 5 km walkway and trail to go around the vlei. This will include a bridge over the northern canal, and will include a short section accessible to wheelchairs, prams and so on.
Trudy Gibbons from the City offers regular community walks from the Eco-Adventure center on the Western side of the vlei, and there are plans to host a weekly Park Run around Princess Vlei later this year. These activities will help to transform Princess Vlei into a rich and vibrant asset to both community and nature.
Progress made by the Manager at Princess Vlei
Denisha Anand, the manager at Princess Vlei, is settling into her job and making a huge difference to the area. Denisha's work includes restoring the strandveld and fynbos on the site, working to improve the water quality, alien clearance, monitoring of flora and fauna species, liaising with the community and the City, and environmental education.
The Princess Vlei Forum raised money from the Hans Hoheisen Trust, with the help of CTEET, to employ a full time manager. Denisha works in collaboration with the City management team.
Having a full time manager has enabled the City to free up some resources to the site, such as the deployment of a team of EPWP workers who have been involved with alien clearance and many other tasks. We hope that the City will take over the funding of this post in due course.
To find out more about Denisha's work, download her latest report here.