‘Imagine Muizenberg’ a better place

Architect Stuart Thompson speaks about re-imagining the future of Muizenberg.

A meeting in Muizenberg on Saturday mulled ways to change the face of the seaside village for the better.

Catherine Dillon, chairwoman of the Muizenberg Lakeside Residents’ Association, called the meeting, which was held at The Hive in Palmer Road.

It was at an MLRA committee meeting in May, that architect Stuart Thompson raised the idea of “Imagine Muizenberg”. And the idea on Saturday was to build on that and form a core group of people to turn ideas into actions. Although many more were invited, 14 people attended this inaugural meeting.

Cara Dowling, of the Muizenberg Community Safety Initiative, spoke about future options for the bathing boxes, similar to what Brisbane has done with theirs: selling them off to vendors and traders who earn a living and add to the attraction of the area.

Mr Thompson said he was dealing with unhappiness from residents about the latest structure built on Bailey’s Cottage grounds and was also keen to further investigate the interest in, and find a venue for, the skate park for Muizenberg.

Resident Julia Nowicki mentioned plans once tabled by One Love Studio artists to add murals to the Pavilion’s walls and roof, wanting those plans revived and calling for the Pavillion’s community use.

Ms Nowicki also wanted to enhance the staff recreation area for Checkers staff by creating what she called a peace garden and adding some murals to the outside area where staff smoke.

Muizenberg resident Janine Versfeld suggested to the meeting that another worthy project to complete would be the Zandvlei Trail. This would see the existing walkway extended right around the vlei, making the area suitable for wheelchairs and prams.

MLRA committee member Kevin Rack and Ms Versfeld also spoke about the idea of creating branding for Muizenberg, a tag-line to encapsulate what the area has to offer, and to protect the character of the village from development that may see high-rise buildings change the face of the suburb.

Megan Cross, of Believe in Schatzi Organisation, said she would push for a changing area for the adaptive surfers.

Ms Dillon suggested setting up a food bank to collect food and distribute it to needy organisations in the area, on condition the food be distributed by charities and not attract people to the area looking for food parcels. Key to the process was that individuals in the community would champion the projects that they put forward, said Ms DIllon.

She said that some of the projects, especially those to benefit the whole community, would receive help from the MLRA, and Ms Dillon said the ideas generated and discussed at the meeting would be put to the broader community through media, social media and on the existing email networks between organisations. Ms Dillon said the MLRA had experienced a revival in October last year after some stagnation.

“The need for a non-partisan, apolitical community-orientated organisation is very much alive, and the volunteers who give their time and energy to this non-profit association, do so with one common goal: community first,” she said.

Ms Dillon said the MLRA had no desire to take over, poach or otherwise take credit for others work or ideas.

“The MLRA is made up of community members and interest groups working together for the greater good,” she said.

She added that the MLRA was not – and never had been – restricted to wealthy people who owned their own homes.

“We are a residents’ association, and welcome everyone who lives or works in our beautiful neighbourhood,” she said, stressing that membership was all-inclusive and the association was prepared to partner with all community groups.

For follow-up ideas, information about the meeting on Saturday, and ways to get involved, email muiz.residents@gmail.com