First blind-friendly park welcomed in Bellville

Mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron with some pupils from Athlone School for the Blind at the blind-friendly park in Bellville.

Pupils from the Athlone School for the Blind are reeling with excitement following the official opening of the first blind-friendly park in Bellville.

The City of Cape Town unveiled the park on Tuesday August 23. The park took over five months to complete. Transport for Cape Town (TCT), the City’s transport authority, has used approximately R1.1 million from its budget for non-motorised transport for the park (“Bellville welcomes blind-friendly park,” Northern News Thursday March 31).

The park in Beroma is fitted with special designs and features including a scented garden, acoustic way-finding, a goalball court and an extensive relief mural. Goalball is a team sport designed for the blind.

“Learners from the school have visited the park over the past few days to give the new play equipment and features a test-run. Some of the local residents even came to have a look and expressed their satisfaction, promising to take ownership of the park,” said the City’s mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron.

Athlone School for the Blind principal Fletcher Fisher says the pupils are very happy with the park, as it is designed specifically for them.

“This now gives our children a chance to mix and play with other children from the community. The children don’t have much interaction with other people, so this gives them that opportunity and a chance to feel part of the community,” he said.

City officials met with ward councillors, the Athlone School for the Blind and a mobility expert to hear about how those with limited eye sight “read” public spaces.

“We were told small interventions make the world’s difference for those without eyesight when they have to move around in outdoor spaces. We have tried to transform this open space and we are proud of what we have achieved,” said Mr Herron.