Urban renewal nearing

Councillor Elizabeth Brunette during the Read Aloud Day.
Councillor Elizabeth Brunette during the Read Aloud Day.

The process to appoint a Wynberg business precinct manager, the next step in implementing the Mayor’s Urban Renewal Project (MURP) in Wynberg West, has begun.

The successful applicant will have to manage the informal trading around the public transport interchange (PTI) and also make sure that all bylaws in the area are respected, Elizabeth (Liz) Brunette, councillor for ward 62, said at the bi-monthly ward committee meeting held on Monday 7 October.

“A very special person is needed to do this job,” Brunette said.

Mayor Dan Plato declared the area part of MURP shortly after he conducted a walkabout through Wynberg CBD, organised by Brunette.

According to a report published on the Wynberg Residents and Ratepayers Association’s (WRRA) website, Plato was appalled at the state of the CBD, which he inspected on Thursday 23 May.

He was accompanied by Brunette, officials from the City, representatives of the WRRA, Wynberg Watch and the Wynberg Improvement District (WID), Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, and Mayco member for transport, Felicity Purchase.

Joan van Zyl wrote on WRRA’s website that both Plato and Smith described the area between Main Road and the railway as one of the worst CBDs in Cape Town. Smith was also concerned about how betting shops were seemingly flourishing in the area.

“This is caused by general urban collapse, exacerbated by illegal trading and taxi congestion in the area,” the report read.

The MURP was established on 7 August. Brunette said it has a R4 million operational budget and a R2 million capital budget.

“Repeated requests for law enforcement officers at the Wynberg PTI and in the CBD will be funded from the operational budget, and capital upgrades will be identified for implementation this financial year,” she said.

It is hoped MURP will be a turning point for Wynberg.

“Years of despair at the downward spiral that affected the Wynberg business district are being turned around with the help of active citizen groups, residents, business owners, the Wynberg Improvement District board, and cooperation and support from the City’s service departments and the police in Wynberg,” said Brunette.

The MURP and its Area Coordination Team (ACT) is managed by the Subcouncil 20 manager, Richard White.

The ACT met for the first time in August to identify problems and develop a high-level project plan.

Brunette explained that a business precinct management plan had been undertaken in 2017 and that the report had been incorporated into the MURP action plan.

She said the Wynberg business precinct manager position would be advertised in the press.

The precinct management services will include:
  • precinct safety, security and law-enforcement;
  • waste management, cleaning and sanitation;
  • minibus taxi enforcement and regulation;
  • informal trading regulations and management;
  • poorly maintained public spaces and facilities, and
  • vagrants and social initiatives.

An application to extend the boundaries of the MURP area beyond the PTI and Wynberg CBD had also been recently approved.

The MURP area is bordered by Aliwal Road, Tennant, Riverstone and Wetton Road in the north; the railway line in the east; Park Road and Constantia Road in the south; and Wellington Ave, Durban Road, Lonsdale Road, Waterloo Road, Carr Hill Road and Aliwal Road in the west.

“This allows some residential areas to be included – especially the parts where there are many vacant properties which tend to attract people who operate outside the law,” Brunette said.

Once a precinct manager has been appointed, the community will be invited to participate in a community action plan.

“Stakeholder engagement and communication plans will be developed for implementation of the MURP, and business owners, residents, commuters and other interested and affected parties will have the opportunity to comment on the plans at different stages of the project,” Brunette said.

While positive outcomes due to MURP action plans should be seen next year, a more immediate measure set in place this week will allow Wynberg residents to enjoy a period of increased security.

Brunette informed attendees at the Wynberg Sector 1 CPF sub-forum meeting on Tuesday 22 October: “The City of Cape Town will have a team of safety officers (in the Wynberg CBD) from next week (starting 28 October) until the end of January,” she said.

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