Somerset Road, Green Point
In July 2014, the Green Point City Improvement District (GPCID), one of the first City Improvement Districts in the City of Cape Town, celebrates its 13th birthday.
Says Marc Truss, the GPCID’s Chief Executive: “When we first started, there was a need to prove the value of a City Improvement District. Over the years we have not only provided the top-up services of cleansing and security as per our mandate, which are vital for any area to flourish, we have also put emphasis on aesthetic enhancements, such as greening, pavements, public area improvements, provision of free wi-fi and communicating with the residential and business communities to understand their needs as an added value component.
At the AGM that took place at the end of last year, former ward councillor Beverley Shafer and members of the Green Point neighbourhood watch expressed their strong support for the extension of the GPCID boundary all the way to Glengariff Road, it was a greatly appreciated endorsement of what we have aimed for and achieved to date.”
Chairman of the GPCID board Hugh von Zahn says the unique and innovative business model developed by the GPCID makes their service cost effective and allows them to do more than what would generally be expected from a City Improvement District. Overhead costs are kept as low as possible and resources shared with their partner, the Oranje-Kloof CID to make every cent ratepayers are contributing towards improving the area stretch as far as possible.
“Parking management at the St. Andrew’s Square parking area also provides a source of supplementary income, which has for example allowed the GPCID to help fund field workers to continue providing vital social services in the area and to help homeless people get off the streets by assisting them financially to get ID documents or to return to their families.”
Before the winter rains started, the GPCID proactively arranged for storm water drains to be cleaned with the assistance of Straatwerk, helping to prevent flooding while also providing work for people who are building a life off of the streets of Cape Town.
The St. Andrew’s Square project which became Prestwich Memorial is an example of how the GPCID helps to improve and manage the area for the benefit of all. Finding a balance between the need for development while being sensitive towards the history of the area, the memorial building was set up to include an ossuary and give recognition to the people whose remains were found from unmarked graves during construction in nearby Prestwich Street. It also has interpretive displays about the history of the area. Says von Zahn “The GPCID was instrumental in the establishment of Prestwich Memorial and today provides a full management service for the memorial, as well as the surrounding St. Andrew’s Square which is a welcoming safe space.”
Says Truss, “From the start we wanted to make St Andrew’s Square an interactive space as opposed to a static memorial site. It has continued to be a hub of activity far beyond the 2010 World Cup football activity and proved to be a very worthwhile improvement as a gateway to Green Point from the CBD. Thanks to the GPCID all visitors can also benefit from free wi-fi there.”
The area has vastly improved over the years, with massive capital investments such as the harbouredge, Cape Quarter (Piazza and Courtyard), Victoria Junction, The Foundry, Soho on Strand and Somerset Square developments, in addition to the growth in the residential portion of De Waterkant. More developments such as the Mirage are underway and there is still huge potential for additional developments in the area.
Says Truss: “The GPCID has, and continues to, play an active role as a coordinated voice for businesses and property owners in the area and participate in discussions on how to best improve the area for all future users. We have been responsible for a range of improvements from paving and tree planting to the installation of benches in public open spaces and bicycle racks. At the moment we are working on plans for more greening along Somerset Road, Prestwich Street and in Napier Street as well as suggestions for improving pedestrian thoroughfare in specific parts of the precinct.”
The role the GPCID plays in the security of their area is vital. As an urban area, there is still a large divide between income groups and the resources to provide security and other services are under constant pressure and scrutiny. Collaborations and partnerships are a vital element in the success of security and since inception, the GPCID has forged relationships with the South African Police Force, Metro Police, WatchCom, the Green Point Neighbourhood Watch, private security companies, the City of Cape Town and the Cape Town Central Community Policing Forum. Today there are over 30 security personnel members doing regular patrols in the area and the GPCID works closely with the police and other law enforcement agencies to fight and help prevent crime. The success of recent joint operations shows that a constant and coordinated response to crime or potential criminal activity is making a difference.
“Partnership policing is the way forward in the fight against crime in South Africa. Through this kind of integrated policing strategy at Cape Town Central we enlarge our forces with other security role-players. These partnerships are vital in establishing good working relationships with police, security, business’s, NGO’s and other government departments. We need to mobilise and strengthen more partnerships through community initiatives in the fight against crime. The GPCID is a good example of an organisation that is working hand in hand with the police on a daily basis.” Said SAPS spokesperson Captain Ezra October.