Scene Five: Meeting with Parks and Recreation

Upon learning that the land for a community garden would have to be transferred to and managed by City Parks, our team and sponsors thought it would be helpful to speak with someone from the City Parks department. Our sponsors recommended we contact Pauline McConney to talk about the logistics of this process and any other questions we have regarding the land use.

Cast of Characters
Pauline works for the City Parks branch of the City of Cape Town, and is the Area Manager for the Cape Town area parks. She was very knowledgeable about the processes of transferring land and willing to explain how a community garden could work in Maitland Garden Village once the parks department has ownership.

The following are some questions we hoped to answer during our meeting with Pauline:

  • How would parks be involved with the help centre? How would they be involved with community gardening?
  • Who would manage a community garden: the community or parks representative?
  • Does it need to be leased to the community? What are the logistics of that?
  • What is the process for transferring properties to Parks?
  • What does Parks do with the property once they have it? Who controls it?
  • Would a Gardening Agreement be an option for the community garden?

After meeting with Peter Koen in the morning, Caitlin and Sarah went to meet with Pauline in the afternoon. Since our team had previously visited Company’s Garden, which was very close to Pauline’s office, we did not have trouble finding her office. After introducing ourselves and further explaining the reason for our visit, we began the discussion about land for a community garden.

From the perspective of Parks and Recreation, the main things we learned from this meeting include:

  • Quintin is the area manager for Maitland Garden Village and Oude Molen and would be a helpful contact for us
  • Transferring Logistics:
    • City Parks must outline the reasons they are interested in a piece of land, property will transfer it if there are no objections
    • Property will be changing the zoning for land
    • The timeline for this is several months
    • Gardening Agreement is possible for Park-owned land
  • Gardening Agreement
    • Land is given rent free long as the gardening is community and not profitable
    • MGV would be responsible planting, watering, maintaining, and reporting any issues
    • City Parks provides water and picks up weeds
    • There will be one contact person from MGV for City Parks
    • Maximum of three year agreement with potential renewal
    • Agreements are bound first by City Parks bylaws, and then additional details worked out separately
  • Help Centre
    • Main contact here is the Department of Social Development
    • Would be managed by Social Development
    • Land would be owned by Parks; shouldn’t pose an issue since the building is existing

Reflection and Learning
Since our sponsors recommended that we contact Pauline about the logistics of transferring land to Parks, we were surprised when she told us that there was actually someone else in charge of the MGV and Oude Molen area. In addition to gaining the contact for the manager of that specific land, Pauline was quite helpful in giving a general overview of how the process would work. We learned a lot about how to move forward with the community gardening aspect of our project. Pauline also indicated that our idea was feasible, which is reassuring for our team as we continue to work toward achieving our goals via the pathway proposal.

One of the surprises we found was that if the community garden were to make money, as we intend it to, then the city will begin to charge rent. Despite this, it was surprising how simple the process of land transfer seemed.

Plans for future scenes

  • Contact Quintin to talk about the land specifically by MGV and Oude Molen
  • Discuss our findings with our advisors and sponsors