Tag Archives: Norbert Furnon-Roberts

Lawyers start circling local government …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 29th November 2012

Residents and businesses in the central city have been asked to “play nice” and be “good neighbours” during the festive season as resources are limited. Brandon Golding, chairman of the Cape Town Community Police Forum (CPF) said this at a police imbizo held at the Cape Sun, last week . “So we have to work smarter, be good neighbours and the community needs to report suspicious behaviour,” he said.

Central City Improvement District (CCID) security manager, Muneeb Hendricks said they were also preparing for the festive season by installing incident mapping systems and cameras on the mobile kiosks around the city. Daniel Rezant from the City Film and permit office said of the 208 events which will be held across Cape Town, 28 were planned for the CBD and the biggest is the switching on of the festive lights which takes place on Sunday December 2. Several roads surround the Grand Parade will be closed and officials are expecting 40 000 people to attend. “There is also the Harrington Square block party on Friday December 7 and the summer market at the Company’s Garden,” Mr Rezant said.

The issues surrounding tables and chairs took centre stage when John Davidson, the owner of Bob’s Bar said establishments in Long Street were still being fined. Following a meeting between police, the CPF, ward councillor Dave Bryant and bar owners in Long Street an agreement was reached to wait for the City to get legal opinion on the permit system before any further action was taken. However, Mr Davidson said this was not the case as police officers continued to fine establishments that serve alcohol to the outside tables. “We all need to know what is going on as we cannot operate our businesses on a shoestring. Police officers keep passing the buck, but we cannot go on like this,” Mr Davidson said. After making a phone call, Mr Golding said he had confirmation from the Cape Town CPF Cluster head, Peter Mead, that while ordinary liquor checks will be taking place, establishments would not be fined for outside tables. “We have confirmed that the normal liquor checks regarding licences are taking place in Long Street but police officers will not be fining establishments for outside tables,” Mr Golding said.

Noise complaints in Long Street also took centre stage when labour lawyer Michael Bagraim questioned Mr Hendricks about noise pollution in the area. “I represent a group of hotels on the upper end of Long Street and over the past three months, the noise situation has worsened. “We have found that it is particularly bad between 11pm and 3pm and with the festive season coming up, I want to know what you are doing about it,” Mr Bagraim asked. Mr Hendricks said the CCID security officers had no jurisdiction to take action against noisy clubs, instead they ask them to turn it down. “The correct channel is the City of Cape Town inspectors and they can now confiscate the clubs’ sound equipment,” Mr Hendricks said. Norbert Furnon-Roberts said the possible pedestrianisation of Long Street could help with noise issues.

Geoff Madsen, developer of Flatrock Suites and Janis Ross of Maremoto agree with Mr Bagraim. In a seperate interview, Mr Madsen said while some club owners co-operated many made no effort. “At Flatrock Suites, we have many people who are selling their apartments because of the noise and many of them are selling below the market price. “The value of the building has dropped by more than 27%. I have raised my concerns, but have been told that because we live in the city we have to put up with it and that it goes against the development of the city,” Mr Madsen said.

Ms Ross said after spending an evening at her boutique hotel on Saturday November 24, she believed the situation was worsening. “The noise levels were the usual bass, boom boom sounds getting louder as the night progressed. “However, the major problem was at about 4.30am when I was woken up by the hooting of taxis spread right across the road and backed up solidly from the Urban Chic Hotel to the Long Street baths. “This lasted for about 30 minutes. This could and should be avoided as the noise levels are unacceptable. “There must be policing and law enforcement during these times to eliminate this harassment urgently.

“The noise in Long Street has worsened due to a lack of enforcement of sound levels and the behaviour of bar patrons and owners,” she said. Ms Ross said the noise had a negative impact on her business as people no longer booked into the hotel and said tourists only stayed for a few days. Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA), said thanks to Mr Madsen who helped connect night club owners and residents at the top of Long Street, there has been some improvement. “The owners of Marvel and Cafe Royale have responded to residential concerns and reduced their noise footprint. Unfortunately noise concerns are still very much part of the rest of the Long Street community,” he said.

He said the association had raised their concerns with Mr Bryant who said he sympathised with the LSRA concerns regarding noise. “Unfortunately the extent of resolution appears stop there. “For example at a meeting requested by the LSRA in April 2011 and organised by the City, it was minuted that Mr Bryant would provide feedback on ‘Exploring the option of a full time and dedicated sound task team, who are trained and authorised to intervene in noise disputes when they occur at night’. “Minutes were sent to him, and have been publicly displayed on the LSRA website. “We have had absolutely no feedback from him regarding this request. “Similarly, when a noise dispute occurs on the weekend and he is called for advice on how to resolve it, only a voice message option is available,” he said. Mr Qually said while pedestrianising of the street, may help resolve pollution from car sound systems, it was unlikely to resolve the night-club sound pollution.

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

Constructive move by the LSRA to encourage a meeting of minds …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 17th May 2012

Noise nuisances and legitimising complaints took centre stage when the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA) met with nightclubs to discuss noise and liquor licence issues. Geoff Madsen, developer of Flatrock Suites and an LSRA member said the association was looking for new ways to engage with clubs.

“We all want Long Street to remain as it is. This is not about closing anyone down but to find new ways we can engage to resolve issues about noise. “In my discussions with clubs, I found that half of the time they don’t even know when complaints are lodged against them,” he said. Mr Madsen said that for the past six years, he had awful experiences with bass. “It goes through everything and we can’t sleep. There are laws around noise nuisance so we can’t say ‘you can’t complain, you live in the city’,” he said.

Norbert Furnon-Roberts, who heads the Area Liquor Forum (ALF) and is a member of the ward committee, asked club owners and managers if they had read the Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Nuisances By-law. Many said they had not read the document and were told the LSRA would email it to them. Mr Madsen said there were many aspects of the complaints system on noise nuisances that opened it up to misuse and club owners and residents needed to find a way to legitimise complaints. Club owners and managers said they were concerned about the legitimacy of complaints.

Bruce Gordon from Joburg Bar said it took him several years to get a Health and Entertainment Licence and asked whether residents have considered double- glazing their windows. Mr Madsen said not only was double-glazing expensive but it did little to prevent bass from filtering through. Jan Davids from Marvel said there were ways of lowering bass but there were issues with bass travelling through the roofs of clubs. Mr Madsen said he would remain in contact with clubs in the area about noise complaints.

Speaking to the CapeTowner after the meeting, LSRA convenor Byron Qually said the association was concerned about clubs and businesses misusing the City’s mechanisms to report noise. “For any complaint system to have legitimacy in a commercial environment, business competitiveness needs to be taken into account. “This is not to say that a business cannot bring a noise complaint against another business, but rather that such a complaint should be investigated to establish if it is factual.

“On the other hand, with the suppressed economic climate, struggling businesses tend to increase their noise footprint to generate awareness, and so impact on surrounding establishments. It has also been known for noise compliant clubs to removed their sound dampening to remain competitive with noncompliant clubs,” Mr Qually said. He said the meeting highlighted that residents do want bars and clubs to remain in the city, but a collaborative approach was needed to identify an entertainment model that works for all stakeholders.

“The noise disputes have also overshadowed shared visions that residents and clubs have for Long Street, and which can be taken forward collectively. “However, the immediate result of the meeting is that the LSRA will be working independently with each club owner and surrounding residents to define a noise level which caters for both residential and entertainment needs,” he said. Ward councillor Dave Bryant said he supported the efforts of residents and clubs in dealing with noise complaints.

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

Requirements of the community made clear to up front …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 5th April 2012

The new Western Cape Liquor Act came into effect this week and with more than 700 liquor outlets in the City Bowl, the Cape Town Central Community Police Forum (CPF) launched its own Area Liquor Forum (ALF) which will be responsible for liaising with the community about any applications in their area. The ALF is a sub-forum of the CPF and will be spearheaded by Norbert Furnon-Roberts. And with a host of liquor outlets from hotels and restaurants to pubs and nightclubs in the city, the ALF has also established a set of guidelines to assist its members.

CPF chairperson Henry Giddy said the forum was formed because the new Act allows for more public participation on liquor applications and renewals. “It is only fair to potential applicants to know up front how this responsibility will be implemented and what the expectations of the community are. “The City bowl currently has 721 licences with many new applications a month. Given that the stakeholders now include the police, the City in terms of business licences, the ward councillor and the CPF, it’s easy to see there is room for the process to break down.

“The purpose of the new forum is to establish a link between the community and the processes of stakeholders to ensure no potential problematic applications fall through the cracks,” he said. Mr Giddy told the CapeTowner one of the biggest concerns for the CPF is the “blatant disregard for the community and the law” by a handful of outlets. “These premises are often guilty of multiple infringements ranging from trading hours, noise as well as permitting criminal activities, thus becoming a nuisance to residents, degrading the local area also being a burden on tax payers’ resources, which have to then step in to resolve these issues,” he said.

The forum has drawn up criteria for various establishments applying for liquor licences in the City Bowl. According to the guidelines, the criteria stipulated by the forum request that all nightclubs which apply for liquor licences should first obtain a Health and Entertainment Licence before their application for a liquor licence should be considered. When asked about the legality of this, Mr Giddy said: “Some of the criteria we lay out is not explicitly defined in the law. “However, according to the Liquor Act, the community may consider invoking the clause which states the issuing of the licence is not in the public interest. So the requirements of the community and what we, the community, feel is in our public interest is made clear to potential applicants up front.”

Mr Giddy said the clause relating to noise was intended to raise awareness among club owners. “We are asking nightclubs to ensure their entertainment licences are arranged up front as these licences cover the requirements in connection to noise emissions. The most frequent complaint we receive from the community is noise related, so the reason we include this clause is to raise awareness of the requirement by the City with the applicant, who often claims to not know of this requirement after the fact. “In terms of the waste management aspect, there has, in the past, been a lot of on consumption premises which simply dump their waste on the pavement after closing late at night. This makes it very unpleasant for the working public and tourists coming into the city in the early morning. “Also it is a burden on the City and the Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) cleaning services.”

The new liquor forum has been welcomed by members of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA). Convenor Byron Qually said the association currently did receive notifications from the Good Hope Sub-council offices about new applications for liquor licences. He said the guidelines were welcomed as it would cover both nightclub internal operations, noise and the knock-on effects. “From what we are experiencing in the CBD, nightclubs and restaurants trade without the required licences. Similarly, with the high turnover of establishments, new owners simply trade on the previous owner’s licence. We are unsure if this is legal, and if the reused licence remains valid.

“The big question is how will unlicensed nightclubs be identified, and if they will be required to close until the guidelines have been met. “The guidelines tend to shift the responsibility from the City health department to the nightclub owners. “For example, the request to conduct an independent noise abatement study may speed up resolution for all parties involved. It is also clear that nightclub owners are required to take responsibility for their patrons leaving the club. This is a welcome guideline as the LSRA is receiving ongoing concerns from lodging establishments about drunken street-fights in the early hours of the morning at the top of Long Street,” he said.

Alan Winde, MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, described the Act as “the single largest intervention to reduce alcohol abuse and its related harms in the province”. “Through the Act, we aim to reduce the number of drinking spots in residential areas. We will also be cracking down on distributors and retailers who supply the estimated 25 000 illegal shebeens currently operating in residential communities. “Under the Act they will be liable for penalties that include very heavy fines, jail terms and the seizure of assets. We will not stand idly by as alcohol continues to destroy our communities – we are taking them back from the clutches of alcohol abuse,” he said. The liquor forum has created flow charts which explain the process of liquor licence applications and how and when the CPF get involved.

For more information on the liquor guidelines visit www.capetowncpf.co.za or email liquor@capetowncpf.co.za or call 072 219 3010

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