Formal boost for business, services

2015-05-05 06:00

The Walmer Estate Civic Association (WECA) has thrown its weight behind a proposal to form an improvement district.

The Walmer Estate Residents’ Community Forum proposed the formation of an organisation to provide top-up services as a vision for the area in 2020.

In 2013, the Forum laid out a development proposal which aims to bring more businesses to the area and supplement service delivery (“Boost for community’s coffers”, People’s Post, 13 September 2013).

Forum chairperson Moosa Sydow says the area has become a popular choice for property investors, but is still inhabited by a community with roots older than a hundred years.

The proposal looks to meld the community and new developments in a way that can benefit all and tackle the threats of “drug abuse, gang activity, poor delivery of basic services and a host of other social and safety problems”, he says.

The plan looks to develop a commercial hub that links public spaces in the area, including the park and ramps at the edge of Chester and Searle streets, the Princess Street hall, the Brickies and the Greens and Zonnebloem fields, Sydow says.

This would most likely form at the junction between Chester, Coronation and Perth roads.

To tackle service delivery issues, the plan suggests forming a special rating area or a non-profit organisation to supplement services such as cleaning and security.

This was presented to WECA at its annual meeting in March.

The organisation last week issued a statement highlighting its support for the formation of an improvement district.

During a show of hands at the meeting, the community “fully supported that idea with no votes against and no abstentions”, says WECA chairperson Roland Langley.

“As was evident at the meeting, the community as well as the membership of WECA fully support the idea of the Forum becoming and playing the role of an improvement district in this area,” he says.

The formation of an improvement district is not a new idea, Langley says.

“WECA was approached some years ago about establishing an improvement district and offered advice from the Salt River Business Improvement District. WECA in return turned down the offer because of capacity problems,” he says.

Sydow has welcomed the support.

However, plans to form an improvement district are still at the discussion stage, he says, and the Forum is currently working to develop an “overarching structure”

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