CBD revamp planned for next year

The fencing plan around the Bonteheuwel CBD to be completed by April 2020.

Come next year, Bonteheuwel residents can expect a R4 million upgrade to the CBD – something that has been on the cards for two years now.

The upgrade was on the agenda at Sub-council 5’s meeting at the Bontehuewel civic centre, last Wednesday.

Work is expected to start in February next year and be done by December.

The project includes landscaping and tree planting, paving walkways and painting buildings. Artificial grass will laid in Freedom Square, which is known as “the centre” among locals.

A fence – with gates for pedestrians and vehicles – will be built around the CBD; buildings will be repaired, renovated and painted, and informal traders will have their own market.

CCTV cameras will be installed, and the police will monitor them from a control room in Bonteheuwel to ensure swift responses to crimes.

Bonteheuwel ward councillor Angus Mckenzie said the project was a “huge win” for the community and would help businesses and jobs to flourish.

“This is an opportunity for the people of Bonteheuwel. The upgrade is a critical part of my plan. It has been on my agenda since I started in the area, and we will ensure that we get the CBD to be fully functional and running.”

However, Bonteheuwel Informal Traders chairman Trevor Maarman said they had mixed feelings about the project. On the one hand, they are glad about getting their own market, but they fear losing money to big businesses drawn to a revamped CBD.

In the past, people drawing pensions at the social-security office in Bonteheuwel supported the traders, but the office closed and now pensioners get their grants outside the area.

“Now they support those informal traders in those areas, and we lose out. Before, when it was pension time, we had good profits because they supported us. Now we only trade on Fridays and Saturdays,” Mr Maarman said.

Community of Bonteheuwel Association chairman, Abie Clayton, said the City should focus instead on building more houses in the area.

Nevertheless, he said, the project would be good for the community, but it should prioritise jobs for those in the neighbourhood.

“Our children also need to put their pride in their pockets and apply for these jobs. They cannot sit and wait for jobs to fall into their laps.”

He said he was unsure how the close circuit television (CCTV) cameras would curb crime, as cameras already in the area had not slowed the murder rate.

“A lot of killings have happened under these cameras, so how will the new cameras help?”