Lansdowne businesses have welcomed the idea of the establishment of a City Improvement District (CID) in the area, but some questioned why they have to make an additional payment for “work the City of Cape Town must do”.
Ward 60 councillor, Mark Kleinschmidt, said he had seen how effective a CID can be in other areas, where the issues of “crime and grime” are being dealt with.
Challenges in Lansdowne include vagrancy, illegal dumping and safety concerns.
“The idea of a CID is to support City services, like social services, and solid waste, for example. We need to fast-track the cleaning of the area, because we want to attract new businesses and stimulate economic growth. We would like to start as soon as possible, but we need the buy-in from businesses,” Mr Kleinschmidt said.
Ronald Campher, who heads up the Athlone CID, explained that the benefits included taking care of safety and security, cleansing and the environment, urban management and social responsibility.
Mr Campher delivered a presentation at a meeting with businesses on Thursday July 26.
Mr Campher pointed out that a CID was not supposed to replace the work of the City or the police, but that it “merely augments the services for better service delivery”.
“The desired outcomes of any intervention programmes can only be achieved with meaningful partnerships among the relevant role-players. In terms of the huge challenges with the vagrancy situation, we adopted a different approach in Athlone, in partnership with social development and law enforcement department, which resulted in a meaningful number of vagrants being relocated and reintegrated,” Mr Campher said.
Mr Campher also said that in Athlone they had to employ two Rent-a-Cops through the City’s law enforcement, to assist with issuing fines to those who flout the by-laws.
Some Lansdowne business owners say they already have to pay levies, and rates and tax to the City, and although they welcomed any intervention that could assist with the challenges, they were concerned about the costs involved.
Johan Goosen from Garnet Centre said the number of homeless people was growing rapidly. “We are not against a CID, but we are already paying rates and taxes, and we are not getting the service from the City. The bottle stores in the area make it very convenient for the vagrants. Residents also give the homeless people goods to dump, and they just dump it on the field,” Mr Goosen said.
Abraham Witten, representing a consulting engineering company, also welcomed the establishment of a CID. “Businesses have lost out on a lot of clientele, because a lot of begging happens outside the shops,” he said.
Wade Kleinhans from New Earth Projects, a recycling business, also supports the idea, “especially for safety and cleanliness”.
“I do think it’s a good idea. In our business we aim for zero waste. We recycle plastic and make educational toys, which the creches in the area can benefit from. I’m not sure how a Rent-a-Cop will work though, because there are three security companies servicing Lansdowne and the residents are paying for it themselves,” he said.
Mr Kleinschmidt said a follow-up meeting had not been scheduled but the process could take up to five years to complete.