Offer practical alternatives to CID

Blue letter

Spencer McNally, chairperson of the Camps Bay CID Steering Committee

Wotjek Czornij’s recent letter (“Camps Bay CID concerns”, Atlantic Sun, 12 October, 2023) refers.

Mr Czornij once again fails to offer any practical alternatives to solve Camps Bay’s problems. Moreover, all of the questions that he raises are answered by the CID by-law itself.

By referring to his allegedly poor experience in 2008 with a separate organisation run by entirely unpaid volunteers, Mr Czornij implies that the proposed professionally-managed CID will suffer equally from an alleged “lack of transparency in financial matters”. Section 11 of the CID by-law gives the lie to this, stating that “The [CID] management body must conduct its affairs in a transparent manner.”

To this end, the proposed CID budget has been made publicly available and must be pre-approved by property owners. The law requires that the CID appoint an auditor, that the annual budget be approved by the City and that information pertaining to the finances of the CID must be published on a website maintained by the CID. Mr Czornij’s concerns in this regard have therefore comprehensively been addressed in the CID by-law.

Mr Czornij proceeds to state that “regarding the survey conducted prior to presenting the CID business plan [, it] is essential to ensure that the views and concerns of all residents are taken into account, not just those in favor [sic] of the plan”.

Again, Mr Czornij has not examined the CID by-law and policy, nor the process that the City operates for the establishment of a CID, which together require that all views are taken into account.

The Steering Committee (SC) has gone above and beyond the requirements of the City of Cape Town’s stipulated processes and the requirements of relevant CID legislation to ensure that all residents and property owners are heard and that there is ample opportunity for open and constructive dialogue.

In addition to the Urban Management Survey (which included multiple places for free-form comments and suggestions) and the requirements of the Consultation Phase, the SC has solicited feedback on multiple occasions, and has engaged in direct correspondence with any and all residents and/or property owners who have made contact with the SC. Further, the SC has proactively sought feedback from property owners who did not participate in the UMS and/or the Consultation Phase, including by means of one-on-one emails, phone calls, home visits and letters (delivered by hand in Camps Bay and environs, couriered to the remainder of Southern Africa, and delivered by UK and German post internationally).

Where feedback has been received from people not in favour of the plan, the SC has been sure to always request alternative proposals or suggestions. The majority of proposals and suggestions received have either been impractical or unworkable within the context of the concerns and issues identified in the UMS or impermissible under relevant CID legislation. Nonetheless, some suggestions have been received that will be of benefit for Camps Bay and hence the Business Plan will be amended accordingly.

The SC has been diligent in responding to all suggestions so that (even where same are impermissible or impractical or unworkable) residents and property owners will have had every opportunity to ensure that their voices have been properly heard. In all such circumstances to date, respondents have either acknowledged the SC’s response or failed to correspond further.

Mr Czornij’s sole suggestion appears to be that only those in favour of the proposed CID should pay for it, meaning that he should not have to do so. The failure of so many of Camps Bay’s voluntary initiatives to achieve financial sustainability makes clear that this is not a realistic option. The Steering Committee is confident that the majority of Camps Bay residents know this, and that a CID is the only solution that will sustainably protect Camps Bay’s property values and quality of life.