Pushing boundaries

2016-10-04 06:00

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An expansion to the area covered by the Green Point Improvement District (GPCID) is under investigation as a means to address crime and antisocial behaviour along Somerset Road.

GPCID CEO Marc Truss says complaints have been received of mostly petty crime by a group of individuals who operate in the area between Varney and Vespredene roads.

The incidents range from theft out of cars to “snatch and grab” robberies and remote jamming, Truss says.

“[There is] constant begging, intimidation, harassment and damage to vehicles. These individuals appear to be homeless, reside close by and could have an addiction to either alcohol or drugs, as we have had several complaints of drunk and disorderly individuals roaming around approaching members of the public, fighting among themselves, urinating in public and, at times, riotous behaviour.”

Business and property owners have shown strong support for extending the boundaries served by the GPCID, Truss says.

“We as the GPCID have looked at this possibility for the residents and businesses to enjoy the benefit of an improvement district in their area. We have for several years provided a light service in having our security members visit the area on a daily basis in addition to having the area cleaned on a regular basis as there is no direct entity that manages it.”

Truss believes the GPCID, with its more than 15 years’ experience, is in the best position to provide a level of top-up services and infrastructure to combat antisocial behaviour.

“[This is] besides looking at improving the spaces between buildings while stimulating growth as we have successfully achieved in the business district of Green Point and De Waterkant.”

The Special Rating Area (SRA) Bylaw outlines the process that needs to be followed to extend the boundaries of an improvement district, Truss explains.

“In short, [with] buy-in from the property owners within a defined area with a view to establish an SRA, a representative would approach the City of Cape Town to start the process. This involves a public participation process, public meetings, advertising, budgets and business plans.

“Once all property owners have agreed and signed the formation of an SRA within the stipulated period, the City would go through their pre-approval process, interact with the committee or entity established, then once the City is happy that all the necessary information is correct, they would then table the extension of an existing improvement district at a full council meeting,” he says.

If all property owners in the area agree to the establishment of an SRA and are happy with the budgets and business plan, there is no need to have a public participation process, Truss explains.

If there is support, the proposal to extend the GPCID will be tabled at its annual meeting in December.

Ward councillor Dave Bryant adds: “The City is committed to creating safe and clean spaces and we have made significant strides but we still depend greatly on cooperation from the police and the community. Areas covered by strong improvement districts have seen a significant drop in crime and antisocial behaviour due to regular patrols and extra law enforcement. Extending the GPCID is a decision for the local community and their mandate is required to do so.”

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