Park could beat playground blues for Holy Cross

The Searle Street Park could offer a playground solution for Holy Cross Primary.

The use of the Searle Street Park could offer Holy Cross Primary School a solution to its playground blues.

For many years, Holy Cross has sought permission from the City to convert the field next to its main building into a fully fledged playground. The pupils already play on this field, which is on the corner of Searle and Nile streets, but it is subject to District Six land claims (“‘Playground’ earmarked for D6 claimants,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, September 20, 2018).

However, Ward 57 councillor Yusuf Mohamed told the Tatler last week that he and Ward 77 councillor Francine Highham had met with Holy Cross and City officials in April to discuss the possibility of the school using the Searle Street Park as its playground.

Ms Highham said the municipal park could offer a solution but it would need work to make it safer, including removing broken glass, trimming trees, demolishing the abandoned public toilets, fencing, and painting and repairing playground equipment.

In April, the City built a raised pedestrian crossing across Searle Street, offering safe passage to the park, and it posted a 30km/h speed sign in the vicinity of Hanover Street and Chester Road.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews said the City prioritised traffic-calming measures for areas with a lot of vulnerable pedestrians, such as children, the elderly and those with special needs.

Holy Cross principal Nomthandazo Zweni said she was grateful for the safety improvements and glad that the councillors had spoken to the school about the possibility of using the park as a playground.

“It has been a complicated issue trying to find a playground for our pupils,” she said.

The teachers would be able to assist with a scholar patrol and would monitor the pupils at the park, she said.

Mr Andrews said the school had not made a formal application to lease the park, but he was aware that the councillors had met with the school to discuss how to meet its needs.

“The options are being investigated, and, once concluded, we will be able to advise the school accordingly.”

The raised pedestrian crossing across Searle Street offers safe passage to the park.

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