Community seeks solutions

Local residents participated in a community development meeting at Lansdowne Civic Centre last Thursday. The purpose of the public gathering was to explain the benefits of establishing a City Improvement District (CID).

Ward councillor Mark Kleinschmidt explained the CID programme would look after the four main pillars in his ward, namely safety and security, cleansing and environment, urban management, and social responsibility­.

Kleinschmidt appointed representatives from various businesses and organisations to give their input and solutions to issues pertaining to the community.

Ronald Campher from Ubuntu Consultus in Athlone, and Chad Cuddumbey and Wade Kleinhans from New Earth Projects in Lansdowne were among those to present their solutions to the public on the day.

“I emphasised that establishing a CID was a very onerous process and that the City of Cape Town’s Area-Based Service Delivery Unit looked after the processes as they were responsible for compliance,” explained Campher.

“What was also mentioned is that a CID is not supposed to replace the work of the City or police, but that it merely augments the services and leverages better service levels from service providers.”

Campher said despite the fact that CIDs work very well in certain areas, including Athlone, the CID model does not fit all situations and might not be suitable for Lansdowne and surrounding areas.

“The Flamingo Heights informal settlement was posing a huge social challenge, and the areas at the bridge around Osman’s and east of Lansdowne Station were absolutely shocking, and might require vast housing programmes. The desired outcomes of any intervention programmes can only be achieved with meaningful partnering among the relevant role players.”

“In terms of the huge challenges with the vagrancy situation, I mentioned that in Athlone we adopted a different approach in partnership with Social Development and Law Enforcement, which resulted in a meaningful number of vagrants being relocated and reintegrated.”

He said it is also important to take cognisance that it is imperative to engage at least two rent-a-cops through the City’s Law Enforcement programme so that fines can be issued for all transgressions in terms of the bylaws.

“Unfortunately there were not many property owners, if any, and many of the members of the audience literally just came to complain and gripe about service delivery. I explained to them how they could also access the City’s e-Services online in order to lodge C3 notifications in terms of challenges with street light outages, vagrants, taxis, antisocial behaviour, etc.”

“The very first thing that struck me when I arrived at the Civic Centre was how drab and uninviting the building looks.

“I feel that this could be a good starting point towards transforming and revitalising the area. To add, if more residents took an interest in coming to public meetings, instead of complaining all the time, things could improve.”

But there were mixed reactions from the audience on the day.

Fewer than 50 residents attended the gathering and by the second hour into the programme, only 20 people remained­.

“People are very hesitant to come to ward meetings for the simple reason that solutions are given to the residents, but are never accomplished. Residents have complained for months and every time it is told that things will be sorted, so we are now waiting to see how these solutions presented today will help us and when it will be done,” said Peter Crow, a resident of Lansdowne.

V For more information on the development plans for Lansdowne, residents are urged to call the councillor’s office on 021 762 4894.