Bo-Kaap residents welcome trading facility design plan

Ward 77 councillor Francine Higham chats to residents, on the far right is Noor Osman who appreciates the proposed design.

Bo-Kaap residents were happy with a proposed design for a trading facility, which was presented to them by the City of Cape Town on Sunday.

The trading facility, which will be located on the corner of Yusuf Drive and Pentz Street (across Biesmiellah Restaurant), will include 12 stalls as well as an office and restrooms.

“It’s been in the works for a long time and there was public participation and there was rezoning of the site as well as heritage consultation as one of the oldest houses in Bo-Kaap is on this site and the trees are also considered in this proposal,” said Ward 77 councillor Francine Higham.

“So we are giving the residents an idea of what is coming as well as receiving their feedback regarding the designs. It’s going to take some time to build this site and it will probably only be done in 2024 or even 2025,” she said.

Ms Higham said the trading space management plan will be implemented once the construction phase is completed, but she was pleased with the response from the residents who attended the open day briefing.

An aerial view of the plans for the trading facility. Only 12 trading stalls will be available.

Riyaat Ryland believes the project will benefit the unemployed citizens of Bo-Kaap, while Shanaaz Hendricks believes the planned design and the concept is a step forward.

“We need this, it’s positive, I think there could be more stalls but I’ll remain positive. There are people struggling here and it will be good for them, for us, and I am in support of this idea,” said Ms Hendricks.

Noor Osman said the aesthetics were pleasing and that the plan is long overdue and should be welcomed by residents and traders.

“Bo-Kaap is evolving as an economic hub and this is what we require, we do need more trading spaces and it will empower local people to trade. So I’m positive that this will work for us and the design is pleasing and it can only enhance the area,” Mr Osman said.

The residents could read all about the trading location and give feedback.

The landscape designers Yes& were on hand at the open day to provide homeowners with technical details about the design and to reassure them that the Ficus trees would not be removed and would instead be incorporated into the design.

“The trees have created a beautiful canopy and they are recognised as a part of the heritage site and this is a special site as you don’t find many green spaces like this so it’s important to maintain it,” said Amy Thompson, the Yes& landscape architect.

This is what the space for the proposed trading facility looks like right now.

The designers intend for the region to be more accessible to tourists and residents, as well as to improve pedestrian walkways.

This is where the stalls will be located under the cover of the Ficus trees.

“There will be a new crossing point that will connect the restaurant to the site and to improve pedestrian connection and safety. There will be a decking structure that will be above the roots of the trees and won’t compact the roots. And there will be three large platforms that will serve as staircase access as well as a zone for people to sit, so people can gather here and have the views of Wale Street,” she said.

Osman Shaboodien, chairman of the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association, also said the plan is overdue.

“We hope that the City cuts all the red tape to make it easier for the residents to trade. There is still challenges to overcome but overall it’a good effort,” Mr Shaboodien said.

The residents showed up and approved of the trading plan concept.