MBDA touch needed at Fort Frederick

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HISTORIC SITE: Port Elizabeth's historic Fort Frederick in Central Hill has marvellous views over the harbour and Algoa Bay.  Picture: B-JAY PIERCEY
HISTORIC SITE: Port Elizabeth’s historic Fort Frederick in Central Hill has marvellous views over the harbour and Algoa Bay. Picture: B-JAY PIERCEY

SO often our metro and councillors are the whipping boys of angry ratepayers. But actually if readers took the time to look around at what has been achieved, they might be in for a surprise.

Of course, living in Central and being passionate about my multicultural area I am biased. While I know that the Madiba Bay Development Agency (MBDA) has been responsible for renovating our beautiful old buildings, developing the Donkin and Trinder Square, how many of you have noticed municipal employees tidying flower beds and working long hours to bag rubbish that has been strewn around by irresponsible householders?

I could go on and on, but there are a couple of positive suggestions I would like to make to the council – especially as it is an election year. In its wisdom, the development agency appears to have ignored Fort Frederick in its Central renovations. How sad.

In one week three busloads of tourists parked there for holidaymakers to enjoy one of the city’s oldest established buildings with its magnificent views over the harbour. Fortunately the parks department does residents living next to this park proud by keeping the lawns tidy, although its beautiful gardens no longer exist.

The fort has provided a playground for generations of children and used to have some real fun play equipment. So come on, Ward 2 councillors, let’s lobby to replace the swings, merry-go-round, jungle gym, see-saw and slide.

Central has a young and growing population who are currently using the streets as their playground. Do we have to see a child killed by a speeding car before anything is done to attract them to a potentially beautiful park where they can play and kick a ball around?

During the Urban Run last year, I met Port Elizabethans who did not even know the fort and its parkland existed. How sad is that? What about replacing the park benches where we spent many happy hours watching the ships dock – not to mention picnicking on the lawns?

During the run I was proud to share the history of the building which was built in 1799 to defend the Baakens River. Fort Frederick served as protection against a possible landing of French troops in the harbour during the Napoleonic wars when British occupation of the colony first occurred.

By the time the 1820 Settlers arrived, a shot had still not been fired in retribution from the fort.

It was named after the Duke of York and in its surrounds stands some of the most beautiful examples of Victorian architecture. Some have fallen into ruins as a result of irresponsible slum landlords, but there is still much to be admired.

The perception that Central is a haven for muggers and drug dealers is rather over-rated.

Just behave with caution like you would anywhere else.

Only some weeks ago an acquaintance was mugged in Brighton in England, and was divested of his passport and R2000 in cash. So are we really safe anywhere in the world?

So come on councillors, stop walking out of meetings and start doing something positive for your ratepayers.

Sally Kernohan, Central Hill, Port Elizabeth


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