Camps Bay apply for a CID

Camps Bay taken from Maiden’s Cove. PICTURE: Tracey Adams

Camps Bay is following in the footsteps of some of its neighbouring areas by attempting to establish a City Improvement District (CID).

The CID steering committee (SC) met last Wednesday and presented a business plan and vision to Camps Bay residents.

“The CID is the latest (and we think best) attempt to address Camps Bay’s ongoing crime, service delivery and social problems,” said Spencer McNally, chairperson of the steering committee.

“Collectively, the members of the SC have more than 100 years of experience with a variety of community organisations addressing these problems. The catalyst for this particular effort was the October 2022 shooting and murder of two men (one an entirely innocent bystander) in broad daylight on the Camps Bay beachfront, which prompted the founding members of the Steering Committee to raise funds to employ advisors to guide and manage the complicated process,” said Mr McNally.

He said nearly 900 residents completed the Urban Management Survey, which is a requirement of the CID development process.

“82% of the respondents to that survey were in favour of the formation of a CID. Less than 7% were opposed. We therefore believe that we have a strong majority of the community in favour of the CID,” he said.

According to Chris Willemse, chairman of the Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association (CBCRA), a CID is definitely necessary.

“The time has come for all residents of Camps Bay to financially support the myriad efforts that go into keeping the suburb as safe and clean as possible. It is not sustainable to rely on volunteers who are always underfunded, to provide free services to keep the community in good shape. It is also naive to believe that the City will increase the services already provided, it simply won’t happen. Same goes for SAPS,” said Mr Willemse.

Mr Willemse said CBCRA will not be incorporated into the CID but remains totally committed to its formation and encourages all residents to support the initiative.

“We need to deal with our problems as soon as possible. As legislation stands, the CID is the only way of ensuring this outcome,” he said.

Derk Jan, a Camps Bay resident, said the area has issues that SAPS, Eskom and the City of Cape Town are not addressing adequately.

“The approach by the CID for the different problems I partly disagree with. In particular the approach to address the vagrant disaster is too soft and too much focus is put on social reintegration. The vagrant problem will only be sorted with a zero tolerance approach. Furthermore the approach in terms of crime is too much focused on monitoring and reaction and insufficiently on how to prevent crime,” said Mr Jan.

He also questioned the budget. “The scope and required budget is too big from the start. Much better to focus first on one topic like vagrants and deliver tangible results there and then scale up rather than starting with an elephant approach with a huge budget,” he said.

Chris von Ulmenstein, the founder of Camps Bay Clean, a volunteer organisation that collects rubbish in numerous Camps Bay litter hot spots, approached the CID steering committee to offer her services.

“In the past six months Joy (volunteer) filled 413 bags of litter, while the community beach clean saw a total of 183 bags filled, a combined total of 596 bags,” she said.

Ward 54 councillor Nicola Jowell said three years of hard work for the Clifton CID paid off as the majority of the community voted in favour of the CID, a decision endorsed by the City.

She also encouraged residents to be patient throughout this process.

“The full room was a positive sign for the road ahead for the steering committee. As always with any process like this there is a lot of misinformation circulating on community groups and messaging. I would urge anyone with questions or concerns to engage the committee and attend the meetings to obtain the correct information before the time comes to vote. There is no doubt that the CIDs that are in place across the city have provided tangible benefits to their communities,” said Ms Jowell.

The Clifton CID steering committee has appointed Amanda Kirk to oversee their CID, and she will begin full-time duties on September 4. Ms Kirk is leaving the Observatory CID, where she has worked since 2018.

“The first priority is to make sure that the CID is appropriately set up and that we are equipped to deliver the services to the community. We also have to manage expectations within the budget as we don’t want to overstep our mark and what I am looking forward to is building relationships with organisations already active in the area,” said Ms Kirk.

Voting for the Camps Bay CID is expected to begin in late October and if approved, the estimated date of implementation is July 1, 2024.

Camps Bay residents volunteer to clean up regularly at the beaches.