Hard work ‘behind the scenes’

2017-11-14 06:00
A Straatwerk cleaning team on St George’s Mall. PHOTO: Ed Suter

A Straatwerk cleaning team on St George’s Mall. PHOTO: Ed Suter

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Getting the basics right is the key to a well-managed city centre.

This sentiment was shared at the 17th annual meeting of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) yesterday.

The focus of the CCID over the last year was to implement and adapt its programmes as far as possible to ensure the future resilience of the Mother City’s CBD, after the City of Cape Town joined the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities programme last year.

CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos said yesterday it was important for city improvement districts to identify their resilience ­priorities.

“But you can’t begin to plan for future resilience, if you don’t have the basics in place,” said Evangelinos, “and if you don’t have the hard facts, figures and numbers to back up what it is you do. It’s in the assessment and constant maintenance of these basics that you are then able to plan and adapt for the future and go beyond what you do on a day-to-day basis.”

The CCID still faced a number of challenges, many of which were the same as those found throughout the city, Evangelinos ­noted.

“We believe there are many lessons we’ve learnt here in terms of building a city improvement district that could provide vital information as communities across Cape Town look towards their own future resilience and towards adapting the model to their own neighbourhoods. It empowers property and business owners to become involved in more than just their own bricks and mortar, while also providing enormous potential for job creation and work ­opportunities.”

There is also a great deal that largely went unnoticed in the eyes of the general public, he said, such as the cleanup of the city centre that was done during the late-night hours by J&M cleaners, as well as by the Straatwerk dawn patrol.

“Were it not for these dedicated teams, the central city would look very, very different in the morning when office workers enter the city, not only due to the cleanup that needs to happen after people have been partying or as a result of events that take place at night, but also due to the high volumes of illegal dumping that regularly occur when culprits take their chances.”

Along with the “basics” achieved by each department, Evangelinos highlighted a number of projects with which the CCID had been involved during its last financial year. These included managing public spaces such as Greenmarket Square and St George’s Mall, funding extra Law Enforcement officers, running a student ambassador pilot project and deploying six CCID-funded traffic wardens from the City’s Traffic Services.

With Evangelinos acknowledging that the CBD was also experiencing the high number of homeless people being felt throughout the city, he also believed that what had still been achieved by the CCID’s social development’s team of four on-the-ground fieldworkers had been extraordinary, and ran across a few of the programmes that complemented the day-to-day operations of the team, such as the rollout of CCID-funded lockers.

The CCID held a pilot project with NGO partner Khulisa to provide toilet facilities for people participating in the Streetscapes garden project in the CBD.

The CCID also handed out 150 sleeping bags, made by the local NPO Street Sleeper, as well as 100 waterproof ponchos and over 1000 sachets of soup.

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