The dream finally became a reality at the Hout Bay sports complex this week as first ground was broken on the long-awaited Eyethu skatepark.
Stakeholders who have worked tirelessly on the project since it was first proposed four years ago watched as the trucks moved on Tuesday November 20.
The trucks brought building sand to the site alongside the AstroTurf. The surface area will be raised and compacted, before heavy machinery begins construction on the first phase of the project in January.
Among those at the ground-breaking ceremony were members of the Rotary clubs of Hout Bay and Newlands; architect Lawden Holmes; Eyethu skatepark project co-ordinator Vicki Scheffel; members of the Hout Bay Sports Council; skateboarding legend Dallas Oberholzer, of the Indigo Youth Movement, who is responsible for the technical build; local skater MJ Johnson; quantity surveyor Yan Bathfield; and Imizamo Yethu community leaders.
The City gave final sign-off for the project in September (“Skatepark on a roll,” Sentinel, September 21).
The skatepark project is expected to create a safe recreational space for children from all walks of life in Hout Bay and beyond.
The local Rotary club and Eyethu volunteers have raised some R900 000 for the project, thanks to donations from its own members as well as Peninsula Beverages through the Newlands Rotary Club, Totnes Devon Rotary Club and the 790 Directory. Crowd-funding and golf days have also helped to bring in the money.
Rotary Club of Hout Bay president Keith Bull was unable to attend the event but said the ground-breaking was a “momentous day” in the development of the skatepark.
“It is a project which has come into existence because of the strenuous efforts of the community itself. We are indebted to the Rotary Club of Newlands, in particular John Winship and Graham Finlayson. We could not be where we are today without their unstinting help and the amazingly generous financial support from Coca Cola Pen Bev as our major sponsor,” he said.
“I would also like to thank all other donors and in particular our partner Rotary clubs and our principal fund-raiser, Club 790 Directory under the directorship of Adele Hayden and Elise de Beer.”
Mr Oberholzer said a decision was taken to only begin the build proper in the new year, as many youngsters would be using the Hout Bay sports complex in the December holidays.
“There is already very strong board-riding culture in Hout Bay. The skatepark will allow us to pass the torch to the younger generation, so we can create a more integrated and inclusive board-riding culture in Hout Bay,” he said.
Loyiso Skoti, of the sports council, said the skatepark would play a pivotal role in uniting all three communities in Hout Bay.
Fifty percent of the labour force employed to work on the project will be drawn from Hout Bay.
Rotary Hout Bay’s Peter Dutton said they had about R900 000 of the likely R1.2 million final build cost available.
“So, while we have enough to build a first phase, we are looking at having to raise a possible further R300 000 to complete the build,” he said.