Tag Archives: Belinda Walker

Creating a pedestrian-friendly zone in Long Street is not a new idea

From the Peoples Post, by Nicole McCain, 27th August 2013

After the Good Hope Subcouncil accepted a motion from ward councillor Dave Bryant to make a section of Long Street a pedestrian friendly zone, some, with previous failed attempts in mind, are asking if the idea will this time get off the ground. The proposal suggests closing the section between Wale and Watson streets, allowing only delivery vehicles, emergency vehicles and MyCiTi buses to travel this stretch.

Almost eight years ago, property development firm Indigo Properties funded a proposal to close the street over the weekend through drop down booms in an attempt to create a nightlife hub. However, this was never approved by the City of Cape Town, after an investment of thousands of Rands by Indigo and the approval of the property owners. Former ward councillor Belinda Walker did not disagree with the proposal but says she was concerned about the impact the pedestrianising of Long Street would have on traffic. “It is important to note that this proposal was received long before the MyCiTi bus system was conceptualised,” she says.

Two years ago, rumours surfaced that the road would be closed off, but at the time council had not received any proposals. At the time, the Long Street Residents’ Association did a survey of its members. The survey found residents were evenly divided on the matter, and residents still remain so. “I doubt it will happen,” says Long Street pedestrian Matthew Tyler. “It’s a busy road and it would be nice, but it will just attract more problems. Having more tourists in the area will attract issues like drug dealing and begging.”

Indigo Properties still strongly supports the pedestrianisation, says spokesperson Daisy Dickinson. “We feel strongly that it will enhance the patron experience in the area, improve road crossing safety due to decreased traffic congestion and enhance foot traffic which will therefore have a positive effect on the businesses in the area. We feel it would have an immensely positive impact on the area, businesses and ultimately the tourism industry of Cape Town as a whole,” she says.

Long Street resident Randall Wyngaard is also in favour of the pedestrianisation. “Having traffic takes away from the air of the place. It would allow shops to display their goods on the pavement. It’s nice to walk down the street. You don’t need cars here.” However, he has his doubts that the new form of public transport is the solution. “MyCiTi buses is not a factor. It doesn’t alleviate the congestion, it just causes more.” Byron Qually, the association’s chairperson, says the discussion around closing the road to vehicles has been going on for some time. He says the closure has never taken place because the “issue becomes quite polarised”.

However, Bryant believes this is the right time to introduce the pedestrian zone. “The central city is constantly changing and improving. There have also been many significant shifts in the urban environment as a result of refurbishments done in the run up to the 2010 World Cup,” he says. “Waterkant Street and St George’s Mall were certainly much more ambitious proposals and they have worked incredibly well.” The MyCiTi bus system has also made the motion more feasible, Bryant says.

“The roll out of the MyCiTi bus system over the past few years has also changed the way that we use the central city. There is now a MyCiTi route running down Long Street and there has been a steady increase in the number of people using bicycles and skateboards to get around town. This combined with all the other vehicular traffic is creating an extremely dense thoroughfare at the top of Long Street.” The motions will now be considered by the transport department for further comments. If these are positive, says Bryant, a plan will be put together for public comment.

“In the meantime the possibility exists for one or two temporary closures either in evenings or over weekends,” he says.

Copyright The People’s Post, Media24

Long Street needs innovative solutions, not more legislation …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 8th November 2012

The debate around the sale and consumption of alcohol at the outside tables in Long Street has reached fever pitch with owners of establishments claiming it could have a negative effect on business (“’Kerbing’ boozing”, CapeTowner November 1). The issue was first raised in the ward forum meeting where ward councillor Dave Bryant said there had been ongoing discussions about whether it was legal to drink outside. Owners of bars and pubs were fuming last week after they were fined.

John Davidson from Bob’s Bar said while he wasn’t aware of any new fines being issued this past weekend, he feared the banning of alcohol consumption would not only have devastating effects on his businesses but it could change the vibe of the street. Mr Davidson said if tables and chairs were causing problems relating to crime then the safety aspect should be dealt with, taking away the tables wouldn’t solve the problem.

“The tables outside add to the vibe of Long Street and banning the sale and consumption of alcohol could prove detrimental to business. It’s important for authorities to understand that all of this is linked. “If you take away the tables and move drinking inside, the businesses will see a loss of income and so it will affect the amount of staff we employ, for example. It also part of what Long Street is about, who wants to come to a pub and be forced to have a beer inside on the hot summer days,” he said.

Graham Albone, co-owner of Mojitos agreed and estimated that if he could not serve alcohol at the outside tables he would have lay off at least three staff members. “In Europe you can have a drink at the outside tables so why not in a city like Cape Town? “As long as the tables are not hampering pedestrian flow then I don’t see what the issue is,” he said. Mr Albone said that according to the leasing form he received from the City of Cape Town he had permission to have six tables outside his establishment and said there was no indication on the lease that he couldn’t serve alcohol out-side.

“Mojitos has been open for a while now and I have never been told it’s a problem. I really don’t understand why it’s an issue and I don’t understand why the focus is on Long Street. “Yes, there are crime issues but it’s not related to the tables and chairs, I have seen more bag snatchings inside establishments than outside,” he said. Darren Gunn, a manager at the Dubliner said while the issue of serving alcohol on the pavements didn’t really affect them as they stopped serving alcohol outside at 11pm, he believed taking it away is a “bad idea”. In previous comment Mr Bryant said serving alcohol on the pavements was illegal and that the City was looking at implementing a new leasing system to make provision for the consumption of alcohol at the outside tables.

However, when asked for clarity on the legality of the outside tables Philip Prinsloo, spokesperson for the Western Cape Liquor Authority, said it wasn’t illegal as long as establishments had permission to do so. He explained that permission to trade on the pavement is given by the City, which stipulates the conditions. “When applying for a liquor licence, applicants attach the letter from the City of Cape Town. Part of the requirements is for the applicant to hand in a comprehensive floor plan and site plan. If they are trading lawfully, they should not be penalised,” he said. Mr Prinsloo explained that if the application is granted the tables are marked as part of the designated liquor area so establishments that have permission from the licensing tribunal cannot be fined.

Mr Bryant said he had held meeting with mayoral committee member for economic, environment and spatial planning, Alderman Belinda Walker, about the issue. “We are waiting for legal opinion and while there have been proposals like marking the trading area we need to hear the legal opinion before we do anything. “We want to put a system in place to ensure that establishments are compliant and we certainly don’t want to take the tables away,” Mr Bryant said.

Long Street resident and research and design consultant Byron Qually believes that a creative approach and innovative solutions can be found that suits pubs and clubs as well as the authorities. He said as a resident who frequents the coffee shops and restaurants on Long Street, he didn’t have a problem with alcohol consumption on the pavements and didn’t agree with the notion that the tables are a crime generator. He agreed with establishments that the banning of alcohol at the outside tables would take away from the vibe of Long Street and said the unique open socialisation between establishments and even pedestrians is key to Long Street’s character and success.

“The use of legislation and by-laws to resolve concerns appears to be the primary approach by the City. Many of these laws are antiquated and date back to a very different Cape Town, and the by-laws tend to top-up rather than bring a new approach to problem resolution. “There is no clear design answer to the problem of crime in Long Street, though there are many process that can be used to help find one, for example participatory design. Similarly the issues we are facing are not unique, and many international design against crime initiatives have been set up. “As these examples note, the solutions that design could bring is not by subtraction, but by addition. In other words, with creative approaches and innovative solutions, an inclusive solution can be found that suits the Long Street community.”

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

Refurbishment of the Turkish Baths and Long Street pool …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 25th October 2012

Although the refurbishment of the Turkish Baths and Long Street Pool has been considered a low priority by the City, an architect has decided that the unique facility deserves more attention. Karinina Ingwersen from Oranjezicht tabled her report on the complex to the ward forum at a meeting held on Tuesday October 16 where she explained that she has re-drawn all the floor plans to give officials a better understanding of what the property consists of and what work needed to be done. “It s a unique facility and we cannot let it deteriorate any further. I drew the report to motivate the refurbishment of the Turkish Baths and Long Street Pool. “I think it is an embarrassment. Long Street is such a vibrant part of Cape Town and so I feel we must do something about the amenity which is already used by many in the community,” she said.

In her report, Ms Ingwersen outlines the issues including the basic maintenance it requires and she has made proposals on the adjustment of the layout to optimise its usage. She explained that the facility consists of six erven which are zoned general commercial and general residential. The pool was built in 1908 and the Turkish Baths were inaugurated by Councillor Sam Goldstein in May 1927. According to a plaque which dates back to 1998, the murals inside the Turkish Baths were painted by Gregg Smith. Ms Ingwersen said the architectural style of the building could be defined as Art Nouveau and Victorian. She said while the interior of the Turkish Baths had a Middle East ambience, as would be appropriate for its function and cultural originality. She said the amenity is situated in a conservation area and is protected by the National Heritage Resources Act.

Ms Ingwersen told the forum the baths and pool were in dire need of an upgrade and general maintenance would not be enough. “I really hope this helps motivate the City to do something, the longer we wait, the more derelict it will become and even more expensive to remedy,” she said. The facility first came under the spotlight nearly two years ago when former ward councillor, Belinda Walker said visitor numbers were dropping. In previous comment given to the CapeTowner, mayoral committee member for community services, Tandeka Gqada said the City was currently tiling the hot room, two steam rooms, and the floor, installing new benches in the sauna and carrying out electrical repairs at the Turkish Baths (“Turkish baths a low priority, says City”, CapeTowner, October 4). In her proposal, Ms Ingwersen said maintenance would form a big part of the overall renovation and so should be done simultaneously.

Her proposal includes ideas to create a new passage that will run from the entrance to the pool. “This will offer more controlled access. At present access for all is either through these change rooms – compromising security and privacy – or through the upper level passage and balcony onto the spectator seating, and therefore are not ideal options,’ she said. Her proposal also includes further changes to the mezzanine level, the change rooms and the general clean-up of the Turkish Baths. Ms Ingwersen estimated that the refurbishment of the facility could cost up to R10 million and questions on what basis it was ranked as a low priority. “Here is a straightforward opportunity waiting to be taken by the council: to turn around the existing overall deteriorating situation into a beneficial and vibrant place of healthy activity, where developed potential opportunities will secure a more viable financial basis.

“It will be a successful project to be proud of, a social upliftment confirmation and a far better financially rewarding enterprise. The proverbial feather in the cap. “Future maintenance will be remarkably reduced to a minimum. “Hopefully this report will serve as convincing incentive and motivation to secure adequate fund allocation for a well-deserving project,” she said. Ward councillor Dave Bryant said while he welcomed the report he didn’t think the City would be able to fund it but that it shouldn’t deter the community from raising funds. “I think it’s great that she has put this plan together but I think at the moment it’s a bit out of the reach for the City. It was very interesting and we will soon set up a meeting to discuss the report with her,” Mr Bryant said.

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

Assembly in the area but they obey the law and have spent a lot of money …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 26th May 2011

Following months of complaints about noise, a night-club which operates from a courtyard in Darling Street has become the centre of controversy while the City waits for a court date when it will try to stop Distrix Café from operating. A Caledon Street resident, who only identified himself as E Barnard, said he and his wife were constantly affected by the noise emanating from Distrix Café and said he was shocked to find that it was operating without a Health and Entertainment Licence. “We can’t even watch television in our lounge on Sundays and though our home is quite a distance away, the noise from the parties is unbearable. “The City is aware that the club is operating without the necessary licences so it really is frustrating,” said Mr Barnard who did not want to give his first name for fear of victimisation. Mr Barnard submitted a letter to the City’s health department highlighting his concerns and asking for action against the club. “The noise starts on Sundays in the late afternoons when most people are relaxing before the working week. “When the noise starts we phone the police but it doesn’t help as the music just keeps on until late in the evening and now it is happening on Fridays as well. “There are many night clubs in the surrounding area but none of them is as bad as Distrix Cafe,” he claimed.

Another resident who asked not to be named also raised his concerns with former ward councillor Belinda Walker. In his letter, he said the club repeatedly blasted loud music from its courtyard with total disrespect for the neighbourhood or the soundproof requirements for pubs and clubs, as required by the local authority. “They place their sound equipment in the open courtyard adjacent to their pub and blast their music during the week nights until the early hours of the morning and now lately starting early on Sunday afternoons until late at night. “How can we sleep? The immediate area consists mainly of accommodation and residential establishments,” he said. The resident said the health department asked if they could take noise readings inside his home.“I refused because the club is operating without a licence, so why does the city need noise readings to prove the owner is breaking the law. He is already doing so by operating without a licence,” he said. Mr Barnard said residents were not opposed to clubs in the area but said they needed to adhere to the by-laws. “There are many clubs including The Assembly in the area but they obey the law and have spent a lot of money on soundproofing but others just don’t care. All we want is for them to adhere to the law and soundproof their premises and not cause an inconvenience to their neighbours,” Mr Barnard said.

Richard Luff, the maintenance manager of the Afrikaanse Christelike Vroue Vereeniging (ACVV) frail care centre which is situated behind Distrix Café said he had on several occasions called the Metro Police to see to the problem. “There isn’t noise every weekend but when there are parties, the music is very loud and our patients have difficulty sleeping,” he said. City executive director for health, Dr Ivan Bromfield confirmed that the City had received noise complaints about Distrix Café from residents. “The first complaint was received in September 2010. We instituted action, and in November 2010 the complainant contacted City Health to inform staff that the noise had ceased. But then two more complaints were received in March about loud music from Distrix Café,” he said. Dr Bromfield confirmed that the club was operating without a Health and Entertainment Licence and said that so far it has not applied for one. “A written warning, cease order and a fine was issued in November 2010. When new complaints were received in 2011, documentation was submitted to the City’s Legal Section so that the owner can be summonsed straight to court without the benefit of an admission of guilt fine. We are currently awaiting a court date,” Dr Bromfield said. When asked why the City didn’t close down clubs which were operating without the necessary licences, Dr Bromfield said: “Only a court of law has the authority to close premises for trading without the appropriate business licence. “To this end, all the necessary documentation has been submitted and we are awaiting a court date.

The owner of the building has also told City Health that the tenant does not have the authority to be in the building and an eviction order has been requested from the state attorney.” Shawn Heinrich, the owner of Distrix Café said he was in an eviction battle with the Department of Public Works which owns the building. He said he was sub-letting from the original lessee whom he claims did not inform him of the department’s intentions. “When I took over the lease, I was not informed that he was in an eviction battle with the department. Now we cannot apply for the necessary licences because we don’t have the lease papers,” he said Mr Heinrich admitted to operating without a licence but said once the confusion regarding the lease of the building was sorted he would apply for the necessary licences. He is operating with a temporary liquor licence. “This space has helped to bring people from all over Cape Town into the area. We attract an international crowd. “I feel we are constructively being broken down by the city. We have taken a derelict building that has been empty for years. We have a filthy parking lot which homeless people have made their home. When our patrons leave at night and if we don’t have security, they get robbed in the parking lot. There is dirt all around. This is the entry point to the city but everything around us is dirty. “I feel I have invested a lot of time and intellectual property into these premises,” Mr Heinrich said. Residents complained that the club advertised a party on Sunday May 21 and they said the music was unbearable.

Mr Heinrich confirmed that the event was held and said he was aware that the City is now taking his business to court. When asked why he continued to trade without a licence and why he ignored residents complaints Mr Heinrich said he had invested a lot in the business and if it closes “we will lose our brand”. However Dr Bromfield said copies of lease agreements are not required to process applications for Health and Entertainment licences. “Irrespective of who owns the building, the Businesses Act holds the ‘person in actual or effective control of the business’ responsible for complying with the requirements,” he said. Dr Bromfield said other documentation needed included a noise impact assessment and a noise management plan from an accredited acoustic engineer. “Any soundproofing measures must be certified by the acoustic engineer and must be installed to the satisfaction of the City. The premises must be adequately ventilated in terms of the National Building Regulations.”

● The CapeTowner contacted the Department of Public Works for comment regarding the lease but at the time of going to print, they had not yet responded.

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

There was an elderly masseuse at the Turkish baths, but after she …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 3rd February 2011

The Long Street Turkish baths came under the spotlight at the Good Hope Sub-council meeting, after a City of Cape Town report showed that they were under-used. The Department of Community Services said in the report that the facility required revitalisation. There was an elderly masseuse at the Turkish baths, but after she left visitor numbers dropped, the report said. Councillor Belinda Walker made several suggestions to improve the facility. She recommended that the City considered “outsourcing” and finding a commercial entity interested in managing it and that they should consider extending the operating times to accommodate the surrounding community.

And while the Turkish baths are underused, the Long Street Swimming Pool in the same building seemed to attract more visitors. Statistics for the swimming pool showed that 8 400 people visited it in January last year generating a revenue of more than R35 000. In March it attracted 6 842 visitors and 5 378 visitors in April. During the period from June to August, more than 20 000 people used the swimming pool, including people who sign up to use the facility every month. Long Street residents and the surrounding area have raised concerns about the appearance of the swimming pool and the Turkish baths and have said they should be improved.

Resident Russell Wightman, said he agreed with extending the operating hours of the facility.“It should be improved and it needs to be open longer. The City can spend a little on upgrading it as well, the lockers in the changing rooms are a mess. “I paid a year in advance intending to do some training there but was often put off by people booking lanes and closures due to events that do not include everyone, especially those who paid upfront,” he said. Mr Wightman said that while he visited the swimming pool, he did not like the Turkish baths. “It doesn’t seem very clean. We need someone who will put some love into it,” he said. Peter Lewis said he enjoyed using the swimming pool and said if it was open later more residents would use it. “I am convinced that more residents, workers, and students would use the baths if this were the case. I use it from time to time and love it.

Resident Sabine Palfi, who has lived in the city for 10 years said she has used the swimming pool once as swimming doesn’t “appeal to her”. However, she said the exterior of the building needed to be revamped. “The entrance could be more inviting. From the outside it looks grubby.It may also help if people knew more about it,” she said. Resident Byron Qually said while he didn’t use it often, he agreed its appearance could be improved. “I enjoy passing through the foyer, which seems to retain most of the heritage details and embellishments. Although the pool itself is refreshing, it is sad that the original changing-booths and other architectural details have been removed. It would be great if they could be reconstructed, as they also have a charm which could really differentiate the pool from more contemporary gyms, almost like the wooden huts have come to symbolise Muizenberg and St James. The tar pavement outside the baths really should be upgraded to the red brick which is being placed throughout the city,” he said.

Hilda Bornman, who owns a flat directly opposite the back door of the Long Street Baths said the noise was unbearable. She said most residents where she lived used the swimming pool in the complex. “Every day we deal with the arrival at of workers at 6am which include noisy gate, car engines revving, loud voices, doors slamming, music blaring from the cars. Very loud cheering, whistling, sometimes even drums, when there is a gala at the pool, until very late in the evening. “Noisy children during weekends playing outside the pool area. “The accoustics in that area are not good at all. All the tenants and owners who live in the flats near the pool constantly complain about the noise we have to put up with. We have not officially complained because we do know that the pool has to pay for itself,” she said.

Gert Bam, City director for Sports, Recreation and Amenities said the exterior of the building was painted 20 years ago. When asked whether the building had been refurbished in the past five years, Mr Bam said: “Only emergency and minor repairs and maintenance took place during the last five years. For example, repairs to the seating and the filtration plants and the installation of safety and security gates. The interior was painted three years ago. Any major repairs will require that the pool is closed for at least 12 months”. He said because the swimming pool and the Turkish baths were in a heritage building no major refurbishments can take place without prior approval from Heritage Western Cape. “Only swimming galas, synchronised swimming, water polo and underwater hockey and squad training sessions are allowed at this swimming pool. These events take place mostly during winter every week. “The public are not allowed access to the pool when competitions take place. “The public are notified – a notice is placed on the board at least seven days before the event takes place,” Mr Bam said.

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

The minstrels parade is an integral part of the city. It is a uniquely Cape Town …

From the CapeTowner, by Sellecca Lang / Monique Duval, 9th December 2010

The Provincial Department of Arts and Culture has stopped the traditional Nuwejaar street march from going into Bo-Kaap and ending at the Cape Town Stadium on Monday January 3 next year. But some of the minstrel and choirs teams are up in arms because the date and route has changed from the agreement with the City. They have given Dr Ivan Meyer, MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport, until yesterday, Wednesday December 8 to respond, or they will be taking the matter to court. The initial agreement between the City and Bo-Kaap residents was to allow the annual parade to move from the city, through Bo-Kaap and end at the Cape Town Stadium and was due to take place on Monday January 3 (“Back to Bo-Kaap routes”, CapeTowner, November 18) However the City and the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs released a statement last week stating that not only would the parade not go through Bo-Kaap, it will take place on Saturday January 1. The route, which it has followed since 2008, will see the parade move from Keizergracht, Darling Street, left into Adderley Street through Wale Street and turn right into Bree Street and the marchers will disperse from there. There are 46 000 participants and this year nearly 100 000 spectators watched the spectacle.

Osman Shaboodien of the Bo-Kaap Civic Association, who heads up the consultation between all 115 teams across the City, said they were very disappointed. “We have given a proposal to provincial government saying that some of the minstrel groups are contesting January 1 (Saturday) and secondly, the question about Bo-Kaap. We are giving them 24 hours to respond to our request,” he said. Mr Shaboodien said the street parade traditionally took place on January 2 but because the date falls on a Sunday, the teams do not want to march because of the churches in the area. In discussions with the representatives of the teams, the City suggested that the parade be held as a one-day event with all the teams ending at the stadium. But when Province stepped in, the date was changed to January 1, which was one of the original dates suggested. Mr Shaboodien said the press releases gave the impression that everyone agreed to the changes but the new date will only suit the smaller teams because of transport. “Council came up with the idea.They threw in the carrot and then everybody liked the idea… Province cracked the whip. This is more about power and politics. They took it out of the hands of City. They are meddling with City council stuff,” he said. The four teams in Bo-Kaap will still be allowed to march in the area. “We can negotiate January 1 but that we cannot go into Bo-Kaap is non-negotiable,” said Mr Shaboodien. He said since the province joined the meetings, there have been no talks about going to the stadium.

Greg Wagner, the MEC’s media liaison officer, said the only official communications were the three joint media releases. “Any other information remains unofficial and was as a result of preliminary discussions before any decisions were made,” he said. Mr Wagner said the parade cannot go to the stadium for the new year because of the short-timing and the logistics. “To ensure the successful staging of these events, a number of logistics must be considered, including traffic flow, safety and security of participants and spectators, business opening hours, available resources and emergency services personnel, impact on local residents, and preserving this living heritage, among others,” said Mr Wagner. “We are looking at the stadium for the future. It won’t be possible for this year… But it hasn’t been ruled out (for the future),” he said. Mr Wagner said the province was always involved in planning because it provides funding and services to the teams. “The two spheres of government have always supported the minstrels. This year, Province and City decided to work as one team, pool resources, funding and to invest in the long-term growth and quality of the event,” he said. The rental of the stadium for all three tiers is R500 000 and for two tiers is R350 000. He said added costs include services such as security and cleansing, traffic and transport, utility charges, the duration of the event and how many shifts will be needed, the protection of the pitch with and fencing. He said the City and Province contribute annually to the services. “The City’s budget for municipal and contractor services for the 2011 road march is approximately R1.7 million,” said Mr Wagner. Mr Wagner said there were economic benefits for the community. “The R900 000 external services and goods the City procures for the event, benefits smaller businesses. Every participants’ uniform is worth an average of R350, so there are opportunities in material supplies, uniform manufacturing as well as catering and transport,” he said.

Residents have welcomed the event. Bob Goebel, chairperson on the Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, said they welcomed the street parade to the stadium. Bree Street resident Russell Wightman said: “Although I was not informed, I certainly don’t mind. The minstrels parade is a tradition in the city and I’m sure many residents will join the celebrations.” Long Street resident and convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA), Byron Qually said the association was not informed of the new route. The area covered by the association includes all residential properties from Queen Victoria Street to Buitengracht. “The minstrels parade is an integral part of the city. It is a uniquely Cape Town event that is inclusive and open to all. This cultural event will see many Capetonian come to the city to celebrate its heritage unlike other events which are aimed at making money,” said Mr Qually. He said residents needed to be informed of how the parade would be managed and of road closures. Mr Qually said in the past few months many events seemed to be concentrated in the upper Long Street are and he was glad that the minstrels parade would give exposure to other parts of the city. Dave Bryant, executive support officer for ward Councillor Belinda Walker, said Ms Walker was present during the discussions and that she supported the current route. “She supported the route as the initial plan to have 46 000 people walking through Rose Street just wasn’t practical. What we aim to do is turn this event into an international one as it is the biggest cultural event to take place in the city. With all the various groups involved it is often complicated to formalise such an event,” Mr Bryant said. He said the detailed traffic plan which includes the road closures will be released soon.

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

They offered us big money but I declined. There was no consultation …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 6th May 2010

Long Street residents and businesses are fuming because they were not consulted about the filming of an advertisement for MTN which took place on Sunday May 2. Convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA), Byron Qually said the lack of consultation angered many of the people who live and work in the area. “The filming seemed to be fine, but the consultation is the problem. According to the proposal, the team would be preparing over Friday and Saturday for the shoot on Sunday, but there was no consultation with the residents. “The association was registered with the City to ensure that when events take place in the area, the ratepayers are consulted and our concerns are heard,” Mr Qually said. Mr Qually said he sent a report detailing residents’ concerns to the City on Friday before the filming and he had been discussing the issue with ward councillor, Belinda Walker.

In a report submitted to the City’s film office residents expressed their dismay at not being consulted. One resident said, “With respect to residential rights, the proposal is bordering on the ridiculous, whereby music and noise throughout the weekend and finishing in the early hours of Monday morning, will directly affect the following work week. “Although the LSRA is formally recognised by the City of Cape Town, and is on their database, we are continuously overlooked by the city when events are planned in Long Street. Private film and event companies appear to get their proposals passed by the City without complying with protocols and bylaws. For example noise permits”.

The shoot was done by Bomb Films, based in Gauteng. According to their proposal, the crew required a large number of parking bays on Saturday May 1 which included: 10 parking bays in Long Street, eight parking bays in Bloem Street, eight parking bays in Pepper Street, five bays in Leeuwen Street and two bays in Pepper Street from Friday April 30 into Saturday. The proposal further states that on Saturday May 1, the crew required six officers for the closure of Long Street. The team needed for the film shoot included a preparation crew of 30, a shooting crew of 60 and a cast of 400. It was written by the location manager, Jason Roehrig.

Faroek Kamalie, chairperson of the Palm Tree Mosque said he received a call from Bomb Films who made a request to decorate the tree in front of the mosque for the filming. “They offered us big money but I declined. There was no consultation and no notification about the filming. Many of our people had to park far away,” Mr Kamalie said. Henrietta Dax, owner of Clarke’s book store, said she wasn’t consulted either and had to negotiate with the film company to secure parking bays for her customers. “The store was not affected by the filming which took place on Sunday but I was very upset that I was not consulted. Long Street is a place where people live, work and shop and the road cannot just be closed,” Ms Dax said.

Ms Walker, said she too was notified late last week about the filming. “There were some major concerns about the filming from residents and my first action was that the noise should stop at midnight. It was very difficult to pin down what exactly the film company wanted to do because what they were saying on paper and what they were saying on the phone were conflicting,” Ms Walker said. Head of the City film permit office, Terence Isaacs, said the film permit was granted on Friday April 30 He said the City’s guidelines required consultation between the film company and affected residents and businesses to occur prior to the per mit being issued.

When asked if a communication channel existed between the film office and the LSRA that conveys the information about shoots taking place in the area Mr Isaacs said, “The Film Permit Office (FPO) was alerted to the LSRA by the Central City Improvement District (CCID) representative at a meeting called to discuss the proposed shoot with affected businesses, city services and CCID on Wednesday April 28. A further meeting was then scheduled for the next day which was attended by a member of the LSRA. Currently a direct communication channel is not in place, however the CCID has been doing an excellent job in facilitating contact between the City, businesses and the LSRA”.

CapeTowner tried several times to contact Bomb Films, but at the time of going to print they had not responded.

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