Cape Town, December 2020

Sea Point Fresnaye Bantry Bay Ratepayers & Residents Association

Chairman’s Report 2020

Since we have been unable to host our AGM in 2020 it has been decided to provide you with this report to inform you about our activities since the previous AGM held in April 2019.

In December 2019, after detailed consideration and public participation, we adopted a new constitution. The changes reflected a more community minded approach, an increase of EXCO members, and the creation of portfolios within our EXCO.

The monthly EXCO meetings have, since mid- year, been complemented by weekly office-bearer meetings, to discuss and manage various new and ongoing projects.

It was also decided to identify and appoint additional EXCO members to better represent the community and to reflect the demographics of Sea Point; Miles October, Ruth Friedmann, Gordon Metz and Yusuf Kadwa joined SFB’s EXCO.  Welcome.

In 2019 EXCO decided that we should allocate more resources to address the aggravated homelessness situation in our area and SFB started Project H.O.P.E. (Homelessness Outreach Prevention & Education) with a generous donation from our new EXCO member Miles October and employed a fieldworker.

The objective of Project H.O.P.E. is to gain more knowledge to better coordinate and monitor the activities of the various agencies and institutions engaged on this issue (SAPS, Law Enforcement, Social Development etc.) and to get a clearer picture regarding the extent and nature of homelessness in our area. One of the first findings is that the capacities of shelters and safe spaces for the homeless are totally insufficient and these facilities need to be significantly and urgently increased.

We believe that, in order to make progress, the community in our area needs to better understand the complex dynamic behind homelessness.  Without that we shall continue to fail in providing sustainable solutions which provide mutual benefits for housed residents as well as those on the streets.  We also believe that the work of the various role players in this field (SFB, Sea Point CID, Law Enforcement, adjacent Ratepayers Organisations, NGOs etc.) would benefit from being better coordinated.  As part of that process, we hosted a workshop on ‘Responsible Giving’.

The EXCO also resolved to reassess the focus of our Safety and Cleaning Initiative.  A new security service provider was appointed in December 2019.  The Avenue Response Team is now responsible for patrolling the Sea Point Beach Front along with the side streets between Beach and Main Road/Regent Rd.

The ever and, often dramatically, increasing property rates have been regularly on our agenda. These are of particular concern for residents especially in the current economic climate. To address the issue more effectively the SFB has joined forces with other Ratepayer organisations and we are expecting the first results of this initiative early in 2021. Our initial analysis of the City’s current approach to the determination of property values appears to be arbitrary and flawed, which is borne out by hearsay comments from various residents.

SFB’s Planning Committee has been active throughout the period meeting bi-monthly to review and comment upon planning applications. Recently, without prior notice or public consultation, the City of Cape Town changed the parking requirement for new developments in our area.  Under these changes developers are no longer required to include off-street parking provision as part of their development plans if, according to the City, there is adequate public transport provision nearby, such as a MyCiti bus route. We are investigating this matter since we strongly believe that such a step should have involved public participation and consultation.  The new policy will have serious and detrimental consequences for our community as has already been shown from recent development proposals.

As to public transport in the area in general, we intend to engage with the City to address the proliferation of hail-and-ride transport services (Uber, etc.).  While they provide valuable services for residents and visitors there is a complete lack of infrastructure to support their provision.  Consequently drivers are parked for long hours in front of residents’ homes without adequate facilities such as toilets among others. Similarly, while extensive use is made of mini bus taxis to bring essential workers into the area again no infrastructure is provided by the City.  Drivers stop wherever they like ignoring the rules of the road, as well as other road users, and commuters are required to stand outside in the blazing sun in summer as well as the cold and rain in winter for their taxi.

We are also engaging with the City to address the growing concern amongst residents about the intensification and non-regulation of tourism-related helicopter flights in our area and the subsequent impact of noise disturbance.

SFB has started some new projects such as the composting of organic waste and promoting dog poo bins which we intend to develop in the year ahead.

I would like to thank our EXCO members for their dedicated and engaged work for this community.  They spend many hours working for you, our members and residents, behind the scenes engaging with officials, NGOs, residents and our Ward Councillor, among others.  Their voluntary work is a demonstration of our belief in the future and the conviction that, together, we can and will make a difference for our community.  We recently received resignations from EXCO members Ari Vayanos and Marco van Embden, both ex Chairs. We pay tribute to them both for their many years of commitment and service both to the community and SFB.

I would also like to pay particular thanks to our service providers – Straatwerk and the Avenue Response Team – for their contributions to the community often working in challenging conditions especially those thrown up in the past year.

To all our supporters and members of SFB’s Safety and Cleaning Initiative – many thanks.  Your monthly contributions mean that SFB has been able to provide essential top-up services from which both residents and visitors benefit.

We acknowledge that much of 2020 has been a tremendous challenge for us all.  SFB is committed to looking forward and in that respect is planning to host a workshop ‘Sea Point 2030’ as soon as is feasible.  We shall be inviting residents and various role players to take part to develop a vision for what we want the SFB area to be in the decades to come.

We wish you well over the holidays and a healthy and peaceful New Year.

 

Michael Ender
EXCO CHAIRMAN: Sea Point Fresnaye Bantry Bay Ratepayers & Residents Association

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