Pinelands is one of the few suburbs without a community improvement district (CID) but thanks to the efforts of eight residents and 1 165 respondents who completed a perception survey at the end of last year, the process to establish one is well on its way.The Pinelands CID steering committee, made up of Pam Stabler (team leader), John Berry, Carol Clark, Riad Davids, Elaine Gibb, Allan Hobbs, Hermann Schlenk and Jen van Heerden, got the ball rolling in October last year. As part of the application’s initiation phase, the group of volunteers encouraged Pinelands residents to complete the survey which was aimed at establishing residents’ perceptions of Pinelands.The next steps will include the analysis of the survey results, creating a proposed business plan, drawing up a budget to fit the proposed business plan and determining the Pinelands CID boundary map.The survey responses are still under review by the steering committee. The data will be used to help formulate a “business plan” which will be shared – along with the budget – with the community at a public meeting once both have been examined by the City council. The date for the meeting is still to be decided.In information supplied by the steering committee, a CID (also known as special rating area) is described as a clearly defined geographical area in which property owners contribute additional rates to fund “top-up” services for that specific area as per an approved proposed business plan supported by a majority of property owners in the area.According to Schlenk, the benefits will be manifold. Most importantly, it creates a mechanism for property owners and tenants to participate in sustainable development.It also helps to recognise unique needs and challenges facing residential and community precincts, facilitates the recognition of Pinelands as a defined geographic district to enhance or supplement the provision of municipal services and leads to the upgrade of areas and the creation of employment opportunities.In addition, the CID facilitates joint ventures with the City, NGOs, PBOs and the police to improve safety, combat grime and initiate environmental improvements. Accepting social responsibility is another positive outcome – dealing with the homeless, HIV/Aids, vagrants, prostitution or adopting a charity as a project.Schlenk explains that once the CID has been approved by the City, it will be funded from the additional rates paid by property owners within the boundary of the CID. It does not receive any grants or subsidies from the City but does have the powers to raise additional income. “It must also be noted that there are exceptions in terms of relief as per the governing policies. The amount of the additional rates is still to be calculated,” he said.The aim is for the CID to be established and running by the end of this year.“After the City has approved the application, a non-profit company (NPC) will be set up and a board will be elected. The NPC has to register for VAT, open a bank account and be registered as a vendor with the City. This must all be in place before the City makes any payment to the CID,” said Schlenk. V Email the CID steering committee at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.