Monday, September 29, 2008

6000 people trash 2010 public park

A wild, illegal party with about 6 000 revellers all but trashed Pioneer Park in Wemmer Pan over the weekend.

On Sunday morning, La Rochelle residents woke up to the sight of thousands of broken bottles in the park and in the lake.

Local ward councillor Bev Turk and South of Joburg (Sojo), an association of businesses united to clean up the southern parts of the city, are infuriated at the mess the illegal party-goers left behind.

They said this was the second time in a month that the park had been trashed.

Turk said she saw a banner advertising a "Bula Boot" event, in which youngsters take their pimped-up cars to a competition to see which was the best.

"I made inquiries and found they had no permission. I phoned the SAPS and the JMPD, who promised to stop it before it started, but by 4pm no one had shown up, and the cars were already pouring in.

"Only later, after more calls, did the JMPD arrive to confiscate liquor and make a few arrests, but by then it was too late," she said.

The revellers also upset a group of young schoolchildren on a rowing camp.

"They came to use their toilets because none had been provided. Those who could not get in just urinated anywhere. There were children as young as 13 drinking. With the number of bottles we found, it is a miracle no one fell into the water and drowned," Turk said, adding that neighbouring residents had had enough.

Such events needed approval from City Parks, emergency management, the SAPS, the ward councillor and disaster management to ensure safety, but none was obtained.

Turk said she would start a petition among residents to try to force the council to clean up the park and stop illegal events.

Nicky Vakaloudis, chief executive of Sojo, said that earlier this month a youth concert was held at the park.

All the council's departments had refused to give permission, but this was apparently overturned in a political decision by the council.

"Athletes training for the Dragon Boat Festival were given a live sex show by a young couple on the shores of the lake. Cars were triple-parked in the street," she said.

The next day, Sojo was hosting an annual spring event, in conjunction with the dragon festival.

"The place was a disgrace. We had visiting dignitaries who commented on the mess. The organisers were very embarrassed. If Joburg is trying to call itself a world-class city, it is not succeeding."

Sojo was trying its best to clean up the south, Vakaloudis noted.

"Wemmer Pan is the portal to several 2010 venues. It is across the road from Rand Stadium, which will be a practice venue for some of the top teams. We cannot have things like this happening," she said.

Vakaloudis said Sojo was trying to get City Parks and the Joburg Property Company together to discuss the park's fate.

"It could be a big tourist attraction. We have everything here: aquatic sports, picnic areas, a restaurant, yachting, dragon racing and the transport museum. City Parks has just spent R10-million rebuilding the fountains.

JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said officers had been deployed to keep the crowd under control. "We will have to investigate who organised the event, and they will be charged if they didn't have permission."

1 Opinion(s):

Adriana Stuijt said...

I can't wait for the WC2010! The newspapers won't be able to keep up with all these kind of crappy stories. Such fun!