The incremental upgrading of the Lotus Park neighbourhood began as a pilot project of the Informal Settlement Transformation Programme of the City of Cape Town in 2011. Through a partnership between the community and the VPUU team [SUN Development then], the neighbourhood vision emerged as:
Co-creating a safe and integrated community by upgrading the existing settlement of Lotus Park without relocating people to outside of the area.
Embracing an incremental development approach, the Lotus Park upgrading includes the following: enumeration, crime hotspot mapping, formation of leadership groups (SNAC and Executive Committee), leadership training, repairing taps and toilets, and building of key social facilities, such as Active Boxes
In 2010 the Lotus Park integrated precinct started with the implementation of the first Active box, the Neighbourhood Centre with its adjacent sports field. This first Active Box hosts programmes and services for the community such as – UWC Law Clinic, Department of Health clinics, Toy Library, Business Place and Siyayijika, netball and fitness programmes, and offers a space for other community organizations and a range of community events.
In 2016, VPUU also built the Amandla Edufootball Centre, in partnership with Grassroots Soccer, across the street from the precinct, to provide educational and recreational activities in the area.
In 2018, the precinct was expanded through the creation of a community garden and an Early Childhood Development Centre which cares for 80 children. All of these are incremental steps towards growing an integrated precinct with a range of spaces and programmes that will improve the Quality of Life for residents of Lotus Park Informal Settlement.
The inclusive, incremental development that is taking place in Lotus Park, is only possible through a partnership with the community, as led by SNAC and the Executive Committee.
Embracing an integrated approach, this development will be implemented through a strategic partnership facilitated by VPUU between the community of Lotus Park, represented by the SNAC and the Executive Committee, the City of Cape Town, and the Western Cape Government Department of Economic Development and Tourism. To achieve a clean, healthy and sustainable Lotus Park community, the active participation of everyone is essential.
The construction of the waste and recycling facility and the incubator will start in March 2020 and completed during 2020.
The Lotus Park neighbourhood has 54 waste dumping sites and 200 new households which are not served by the blue bag waste collection system. Unmanaged waste is directly affecting the health and safety of the community. Yet, waste can become a valuable resource if adequately collected, disposed of and creatively upcycled. In this light, the next steps of the incremental development of the Lotus Park precinct will include two components: Waste management and Business incubation.
The aim of these components and their related programmes is to improve the health and safety of the community, clean the neighbourhood environment, and foster Social Enterprise business opportunities.
Embracing a sustainable approach that sees waste as a resource rather than as a problem, the Lotus Park Precinct upgrade comprises the following objectives:
The community-learning component facilitates enhanced awareness of environmental and solid waste management problems and solutions in the Lotus Park neighbourhood. The intervention will include monthly waste management workshops.
The community clean up component provides a hands-on awareness tool on the impact of pollution. It empowers residents to take control of the situation in their own community. Clean-up awareness campaigns that will take place on a weekly basis at block and household scales to ensure full community participation. These events will address the issue of dumping through visits to the sites where waste has been improperly disposed of. Regular community clean up events will supplement the awareness campaigns.
The waste station is a waste management site for the temporary deposition of recyclable waste elements. All waste collected within the Lotus Park neighbourhood and brought to the waste station will be stored prior to being recycled or transported to the end point of disposal at a landfill. The waste station provides the community with a dedicated point for proper waste management collection, transportation, and disposal of recyclable and other waste products.
The community social enterprise development is run via the Siyayijika Programme and business incubation process. The main objective is to facilitate a handover process of the Waste Station to the community. The Siyayijika Business Competition Programme for the waste station will offer the opportunity to obtain up to R10,000 funding towards the development of waste management and/or up-cycling business ideas.
The business incubator facility provides spaces for businesses, entrepreneurial skills development and business training. Three different programmes are offered: