An upgrade of the Bonteheuwel Central Business District (CBD) is in the pipeline, thanks to the Mayoral Urban Regeneration Programme (MURP).
The programme’s aim is to revitalise dysfunctional areas, to improve safety and the quality of life for the community, by focusing on public areas, such as
Ward 50 councillor, Angus Mckenzie, said he “resurrected” the MURP for the area, when he took over office, as it seemed like “it went to sleep”.
Although Ms Mckenzie was not able to say exactly how much money the City of Cape Town would spend on the upgrade, he said it could “run into millions”.
He said the upgrade would not just involve rebuilding the CBD, but that community participation forms a vital part of what they think is needed for the area.
“I would like to see everybody participating in what they would like the upgrade to be. We all want a vibrant CBD, but it should not just be an aesthetic change, but also economic growth. Many people want to see the bakery, shoe maker, and key cutter back in the CBD. My goal is to see that the current businesses who operate from their homes and garages, grow even further by operating from the CBD area.
“We want to bring the pride and vibrancy back to our community. A lot of people also want to see a big supermarket chain in the area, but we also need to look at the current supermarkets and what they endured to get to where they are,” Mr Mckenzie said.
On Saturday May 5, City officials hosted the first public participation meeting.
However, the number of people who attended was less than 50.
At that meeting, a model of the proposed upgrade was presented to the community, and other issues, such as safety and security were discussed.
City official Bronwen Jillings, said it’s easy for things to go wrong if public spaces don’t operate well.
“At the moment, there is a lot of fencing around the CBD area, and the idea is to grow the town centre in phases over the years.
“It might not look like there is a lot of space to work with, but it is filled with so much opportunity, especially if we take some of the fencing away. The space between the library and the sub-council office looks like one of the worst places in Bonteheuwel right now, but it is filled with so much wasted space. I wanted to illustrate how much we can get in there, like trading bays and a balcony, for example. We need to reclaim the town centre for the people of Bonteheuwel,” she said.
Another City official, Chris O’Connor, who made a presentation on safety and security, described the building where Law Enforcement’s training centre is based, as a problem building, and said this is one of the buildings being targeted for an upgrade. He also committed to having monthly meetings with the project steering committee and quarterly public meetings to discuss the progress made with the upgrade.