Data gathered cannot be appropriately assessed …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 20th September 2012

An impressive 81% percent of businesses in the central city are happy with being located here – and 78% of them are likely to stay. These are the findings included in the latest report of the Central City Improvement District (CCID). The glowing report states that the CCID has invested R290 million in levies into the central city over the past 12 years.

In his presentation, CCID chairman Rob Kane said the report was done to get an independent objective view of the city and set a benchmark for progress. Mr Kane says the report is intended to be an authoritative guide for investors, business decision makers and government officials, who are looking for current information on the economic state of the Cape Town CBD. “The report is intended to be an authoritative guide for investors, business decision makers and government officials, who are looking for current information on the economic state of the Cape Town CBD. “The CBD contributes 24.5% of business turnover into the larger Cape Town metro region. This world class business district is strategically placed as an investment link to the rest of South Africa and a gateway into the African continent,” he said.

The report was welcomed by Good Hope Sub-council chairman Taki Amira who said the efforts of the CCID have added value to the central city. Mr Kane said they had invited 1 800 businesses to participate in an online survey and 244 businesses participated. “The profile of the 244 is a fair representation of the profile of businesses in Cape Town CBD. In a second survey, we interviewed 1 567 users of the CBD. These are people who are using the CBD for either retail, entertainment or business purposes. It is a representative sample of the people that you see walking in the CBD,” he said.

For the report, Mr Kane said they also interviewed a mix of people who moved around the CBD, including tourists. “In order to ensure that we end up with a representative sample, we divided the CBD into geographic areas and allocated interviewers to each area. They interviewed people between 8am and 2am from Wednesday March 14 until Tuesday March 20. By doing this we could control for any bias – whether it was from a time of day, day of the week or area point of view,” he said. Mr Kane said the on-street survey was designed to find out what people thought of the Cape Town CBD as a geographic location and was aimed at “The business user survey was designed to find out what business users thought of the services of the CBD in general and the CCID’s services in particular. The findings presented were a summary of the opinions of both groups of respondents,” he said. Mr Kane said the business survey focussed only on businesses, while the user survey may have involved business owners who were walking at street level and who were intercepted by interviewers.

Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) said residents should have been included in the survey because they contribute to CCID levies and are part of the fabric of the city. He said the association considered the report to be highly valuable for both residents and developers wishing to enter the CBD. “The LSRA, being a residential platform, has the reach and intimate understanding of the state of the CBD, and it is surprising that we were not contacted to contribute to the report. “However, if the report is intended to complement the CCID’s marketing collateral, then there was no need to include the LSRA,” he said. Mr Qually said one concern was the research methodology used. “The summary on page 38 should point to an addendum illustrating the survey itself, where and how the respondents were canvassed, the demographics of those interviewed.

“Without this information, the relevance of data gathered cannot be appropriately assessed. “Although the report is an interesting read, it’s has an overtly positive tone akin to a marketing document. Surely the challenges facing a growing Cape Town CBD also warrant surveying and measurement in order to identify appropriate solutions,” he said. However, Mr Kane said the report was the beginning of a strong research footprint. “We will be building on the success of this initial survey in which we engage with residents and property owners in the CBD so that we have a better picture of the CCID and the CBD for residents. Residents are vital to the success of the CBD. “We have always welcomed any approaches by the LSRA or other associations, and encourage greater partnerships for effective collaboration in building our knowledge,” Mr Kane said.

Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.

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