Upgrades ... one block at a time

2018-05-22 06:00

The next wave of upgrades to City rental units is on its way following the electrification of residences in Hoosain Parker Street, Blackbird Avenue, Parkwood Avenue, Abdullah Moosa Walk, Eric’s Walk, Willow Walk, Eric Viljoen Walk, Heath Road and Willow Road.

Ward 65 councillor, William Akim, says the roll-out has been taking place for the last three years and that during the same time, 161 toilets have been erected for backyard dwellers and water meters have been installed. With the City’s current financial year closing at the end of June, outstanding projects will have to be completed, he says.

“The City will continue with the survey which needs to be done, because at the time more people had to set up structures in yards, so the total number of backyard dwellers increases every year. The City then employed residents on the database who stay in the road they are working in. We don’t want to employ a person who stays in Hyde Road, but they are going to work in Acacia Road. They take immediate residents who stay in those blocks of flats. They get temporary employment for up to four months, depending on how long the project runs,” says Akim.

He adds that the roof sheets of certain flats in Parkwood have been changed.

“It was well received by the residents, because sometimes they have issues where if it rains and leaks, then the water goes through the asbestos roofs, because it cannot be repaired effectively. That, to me, was something good. Yet again, residents from the area who stay in those particular blocks of flats got the opportunity to work on the project temporarily,” he says.

With the new financial year beckoning, Akim says money will be made available for further upgrades and that they will continue to be done one block of flats at a time, and not all at once, in order to have individual projects completed sooner.

“I told the contractor to complete one particular road at a time so that the community does not come back to me and ask me why they did not finish what they started. As you come down Parkwood you will see that the flats are being completed one by one,” says Akim.

The implementation of Level 6B water restrictions earlier this year resulted in a drop in water pressure to certain areas in Parkwood, especially for residents living in triple-storey flats.

“It was a bit of a challenge, but in some cases we had the residents who stayed at the bottom providing water to the next-door neighbour who had a water problem. To a certain extent, that was sorted out. It was a very difficult time and we had major complaints,” he adds.

Akim says the pressure has since been increased and the issue has been addressed, adding that residents in flats in Ottery are starting to receive and have water meters installed to better monitor water usage.

“It is not that they are going to pay more, it is going to make it easier to manage the rest of their usage. The City, in conjunction with the contractor, has employed local labour. In Ottery A they have 15 people working there and 50 people working in Ottery B. It is not outsiders who are working on these projects, but people who stay in that area.”

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