Looking back on the year that was

Gentrification in Bo-Kaap was a big issue for residents this year. Residents also called for more protection from local government. Pictured is Bo-Kaap resident Noor Osman.

As the year draws to a close, we reflect on some of the issues residents of the Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl have faced this year – among them the drought and the number of major luxury developments in the area.

We first reported on the water crisis and introduction of water restrictions in January (“Water worries”, Atlantic Sun, January 26). At the time the City of Cape Town was considering increasing water restrictions from level 3 to level 3B.

The issue of water restrictions and the drought would continue to be a contentious issue throughout the year and will no doubt be on the agenda in 2018. Come January, residents will be facing Level 6 water restrictions.

Another big issue throughout the year was the campaign for affordable housing in the inner-city and high income areas such as Sea Point. In February, Reclaim the City supporters called for government-owned land to be used for housing (“Show of support”, Atlantic Sun, February 2).

They also highlighted the many challenges facing working class residents in the inner-city who were facing eviction.

That month we also reported on the City of Cape Town’s effort to upgrade the seawall along the Sea Point Promenade (“Thumbs up for wall upgrade”, Atlantic Sun, February 23).

The City announced phase two of the project that had initially begun in 2012, with the move being supported, by the local residents and ratepayers associations.

In March, Reclaim the City supporters occupied two government buildings – the Helen Bowden Nurses’ Home in Granger Bay as well as the Woodstock Hospital site – in response provincial government’s controversial decision to go ahead with the sale of the old Tafelberg site in Sea Point instead of using it for much-needed affordable housing (“Reclaim occupy buildings”, Atlantic Sun, March 30).

While many working-class residents were struggling, even middle-class residents were struggling to get a foothold into the housing market in the area.

In April we reported that property prices on the Atlantic seaboard had increased by 23% in the past year (“Property price boom”, Atlantic Sun, April 20).

Property prices in the City Bowl had also increased by just over 20% in the past year, according to statistics by FNB.

In May, the contentious issue of the Cape Town Stadium reared its head again as the City of Cape Town announced that several spaces within the precinct would be available for tender in the next six months (“White elephant precinct”, Atlantic Sun, May 25).

Since the construction of the stadium for the 2010 Fifa World Cup it had been operating had a reported loss of R40 million a year.

However, there has been no announcement of any bidders since this issue was reported on in May.

In July, we reported on the bid by the Green Point Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Associations (GPRRA) to get heritage status for the Green Point Common. They were encouraging members of the public to comment on their nomination which was set to go to Heritage Western Cape.

They said that the Green Point Urban Park was one of the most visited public spaces in Cape Town and deserving of protection (“Protecting common heritage”, Atlantic Sun, July 20).

Also on the issue of heritage, we reported on the issues resulting in the delay of the implementation of the Heritage Protection Overlay Zone in Bo-Kaap, with residents highlighting their concerns of increasing rates and developments in the area as a leading cause of gentrification (“Bo-Kaap is silently suffering”, Atlantic Sun, July 27 and “Fight for heritage protection”, Atlantic Sun, August 24).

Another hot topic on the Atlantic seaboard this year was the sewage – up to 50 million litres of it – reportedly being pumped into the Atlantic ocean. The Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association (CBCRA) were taking legal opinion on the issue (“Sewage issues resurface”, Atlantic Sun, August 17).

Also topping the list of high priority issues in the area was the City of Cape Town’s decision to tender a piece of public land in Clifton for development (“Battle for public land”, Atlantic Sun, October 12).

The winning bid was just over
R1 billion but residents have vowed to fight this decision.

December saw the City of Cape Town finally releasing its CSRI report on the status of waste products in the ocean.

However, the report was criticised by residents for being compromised (“Mixed views on sea report”, Atlantic Sun, December 7).

Also this month, the City was lashed for considering the introduction of a so-called drought levy (“Residents doubt drought levy”, Atlantic Sun, December 14).