New rec room for young and old

Children enjoy the play area at the conclusion of the unveiling ceremony.

A new recreation room was unveiled at the Seaview community residential units in Hangberg last week.

A collaboration between residents of the council flats’ A, B and C blocks and the City of Cape Town, an unused laundry room has been converted into a space that includes a library for younger and older readers, gym equipment and children’s play area.

At the unveiling ceremony on Friday September 7, ward councillor Roberto Quintas said he had been approached by residents to see if the vacant room could be put to better use.

After sending out notices of intent, Margie Biggs, a Hout Bay architect, came on board and offered to draw up the floor plan, while resident Cathy Levi-Evans also donated early childhood development toys and equipment. Switch Playground also donated gym equipment.

The project was managed by Hangberg resident Elizabeth Sias. Several residents pitched in to paint the room.

“There is a lot of building going on in Hangberg, but what is important to note is that the Seaview community chose not to use this space for themselves, but rather use it for the benefit of others, especially children who can now come in to play under supervision,” Mr Quintas said.

“We intend putting in tables at a later stage, so that the facility can also be used as a dedicated study room and homework area. You must remember that this is your room now, so you will need to be responsible for it.”

He quipped that older residents would now also have a space to “work off the vetkoek”.

If the project was successful, Mr Quintas would appeal to the City to install similar spaces in every new housing development established in Hangberg in the future.

Stuart Diamond, the mayoral committee member for assets and facilities management who gave the project the green light, also attended the unveiling ceremony.

“I love seeing communities taking responsibility for themselves, and we as the City are trying to build communities where they can do things for themselves. This used to be an empty shell, but now you have a space where you can get to know your neighbours and each other,” Mr Diamond said.

He appealed to the block residents to be a “shining example to others”, and said he looked forward to seeing how they would take the space forward.

Michelle Yon, one of the residents who first approached Mr Quintas for assistance, said the facility would assist in keeping the youth off the streets, particularly after school and during weekends and school holidays.

Another resident, Elizabeth Fish, hoped the new recreation room would dissuade youth from selling tik and dagga in the block.