Everyone will benefit from CID

Spencer McNally, Chairperson Camps Bay Community Improvement District Steering Committee

Ron Elvin’s letter “Camps Bay CID: Who benefits?” (Atlantic Sun letters, November 2) refers.

Mr Elvin states that the Camps Bay CID Steering Committee (SC) “perceives” problems to exist in Camps Bay, as if to suggest that this is a minority and/or unwarranted view. The truth is that, as set out in some detail in the CID Business Plan and elsewhere, the vast majority of Camps Bay property owners and residents “perceive” the same problems and strongly desire for these problems to be addressed.

The SC is sympathetic to Mr Elvin’s concerns regarding the additional cost of the CID levy, and has never attempted to “negate” same. The “inflexibility” of “the laws and regulations pertaining to the establishment and operation of a CID” are unfortunately a reality that is beyond the control or influence of the SC, and hence simply the price that all of us must pay if we are to address Camps Bay’s continuing problems with crime, vagrancy, illegal structures and campfires, litter, grime and deteriorating public spaces.

Mr Elvin is wrong to state that only commercial enterprises will benefit from a CID and that “the average resident sees little benefit and yet carries the burden of the costs”.

Commercial properties will pay a higher rate-in-the-rand than residential properties, while the bulk of the CID’s proposed budget will in fact be spent for the benefit of residential sections of the neighbourhood.

For example, the vast majority of the proposed 300-plus CCTV cameras will be installed outside of commercial areas, including on Mr Elvin’s residential street. The green belt not far from his house (where illegal structures can easily be hidden and where overgrown alien trees constitute a clear fire hazard) will be cleaned up and maintained, and will also be covered by CCTV cameras. The proposed CID will therefore deliver substantial security and other benefits to all residents, including Mr Elvin.

Finally, the SC is sympathetic to Mr Elvin’s complaints about the CID’s valuation-based funding model. However, that is a political debate, not a practical or actionable one. Mr Elvin is welcome to oppose the CID if he would prefer to do nothing to address Camps Bay’s ongoing problems, but for the majority of property owners who wish to see Camps Bay return to the beautiful, clean and safe suburb that it once was, the CID is the only legal and practical option.

To date the SC has spoken to or corresponded with 85% of Camps Bay property owners, and 84% of them agree that a CID is necessary. Mr Elvin may feel otherwise, but it is clear that the majority of Camps Bay agrees that with a CID, everyone benefits.