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Community hall opens for use

THE Greenwood Park Community Hall, formerly a dilapidated cinema complex, has opened its doors for use after years of persistence by residents in the area.

15 August 2011 | Lauren Anthony

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The building has retained its early 1900s appearance with rooms for meetings, a hall for functions and wheelchair-friendly accessibility.

However, chairman of the Greenwood Park Residents and Ratepayers' Association, Clinton Kirk, said hardly anyone in the area knew the hall was available for use.

"We've been fighting for so long to have this facility for the community and nobody knows about it," said Kirk. "Why hasn't there been an official opening?"

Kirk suggested an official opening for the local community with a tour of its facilities to promote its use."There is potential for youth activities like karate and table tennis but bookings can't be organised through the hall," said Kirk.

He said bookings had to be made via a KwaMashu office which was a deterrent as it was out of the way.

"There is a caretaker on site and no telephone. If a phone was installed, which needs to be done, it would make sense to make the bookings directly through the hall. Official forms with the council banking details should be available for collection at the hall."

Ward councillor Heinz de Boer disagreed with the idea of having an official opening.
"I don't believe any of our ratepayer's money should be spent on 'nice to have' parties and fancy openings for this hall," said De Boer. "A substantial amount of money went into renovating this facility, and it has now become a well-used asset, directly benefiting the community. Surely we don't need to incur wasteful expense on an opening? Not when people across the road are still waiting for the homes and services promised to them.

"I am sure we all appreciate the work Clinton Kirk put into pushing for the revamp of this hall, but I certainly won't be pushing for an opening ceremony at the expense of the ratepayers."

Regarding the issue of bookings for the hall, De Boer said, "The Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries Department has a standardised way of handling the bookings of facilities like this. In most cases it takes nothing more than a phone call to book the venue.

"As this is a council asset, this department has to oversee the collection of hiring fees and booking schedule. Only if the hall were leased to a committee or organisation permanently would that committee be able to organise bookings. There has, however, been concern about how accessible the hall is to people who stay in the area directly surrounding the hall.

"Complaints are that locals are being marginalised as people from across the city book and use the hall for weddings and other functions. It's an issue I have taken up with the department. Ultimately I can only advise people to try and book as early as possible."
To book call 031 503 1219.

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