Tag Archives: Tasso Evangelinos

Long Street to be paved?

From the Cape Argus, by Anél Lewis
, 20th August 2013

Cape Town – Bustling Long Street may soon become a pedestrian’s paradise if the City of Cape Town approves a proposal to close off a substantial section of the road to general traffic. The Good Hope Subcouncil, that includes the CBD, has approved a motion to turn the top half of Long Street from Watson Street to Wale Street into a permanent “fan walk”.

Councillor Dave Bryant, who made the proposal, said service delivery vehicles would still have access during set hours, and emergency vehicles and the MyCiTi buses would still be able to drive along the road. “It has been looked at a number of times. The central city is changing every day with new businesses opening, improved public transport and more pedestrians.” In his explanation to the sub-council, Bryant said it was becoming increasingly difficult for law enforcement to take action against vehicles that blocked traffic in Long Street.

The police had complained that their law enforcement activities were being affected by delivery vehicles and stationary cars. “This is combined with a very large number of pedestrians who mingle in and out of the traffic. In the evenings the pedestrians are inebriated which makes the situation even more dangerous.” Bryant said he was aware of concerns that the street was used by many vehicles, including those doing deliveries, so there would be a dedicated lane for those, as in St George’s Mall. Bryant said there was “overwhelming” sentiment from law enforcement agencies, community organisations and others to restrict vehicle access in this section of Long Street.

Tasso Evangelinos, chief operating officer of the Central City Improvement District, said: “The effect it will have on making the central city more pedestrian-friendly would be an extremely positive move.” He said the continued access for MyCiTi buses would further promote public transport. “As far as we know, the idea has been on the cards in one form or another since the 2010 World Cup, when the whole of Cape Town saw the enormous success of road closures that created amazing public spaces through which people moved freely and safely.” But he added that by closing off the road, the city would be creating a new public space that would need to be properly managed. “The resources therefore must be provided to ensure a clean, safe and secure environment.”

Most of the activity in Long Street, already established as an entertainment destination, was managed indoors and usually between the hours of 11pm and 4am. “… this activity may now well spill out onto the streets, so adequate resources to manage this will be critical in terms of keeping people safe, cleaning the area after each night’s activities and enforcing the laws and by-laws.”

Two years ago the Long Street Residents’ Association did a survey of its members. Although most supported the idea, many were concerned that patrons of nightspots would spill on to the street, treating the area as an “open-air nightclub”. A Bree Street resident said closing a major arterial road such as Long Street would exacerbate traffic congestion in the city. It was suggested that vehicle access be limited to certain hours. The proposal will now be referred to the executive directors of transport, economic development, environment and spatial planning and safety and security.

One of the recommendations is that “from the outset” the process of deciding on Long Street’s access will include input and participation from the local community and those who will be affected.

Copyright The Cape Argus

How do Long Street residents and hotels measure the CCID …

From the Cape Argus, by Lynette Johns, 5th July 2012

LONG Street residents say they are fed up with high noise levels, crime and grime and are now asking what the role of the Central City Improvement District really is.

Byron Qually who heads up the Long Street Residents Association says for the monthly levy which comes to R200 per resident, the impact is being questioned.

They say the CCID is far more concerned about the rights of business than those of residents, and too much money is spent on marketing and not enough on security and dealing with the real issues of crime and grime. Qually estimates that there are between 800 to 1 000 people living in and around Long Street. The CCID is a “top-up” of the services offered by the municipality.

Chief Operating Officer of the CCID, Tasso Evangelinos said he was more than happy to meet with the association.

Restaurant and boutique hotel owner Janis Ross says there are concerns from residential apartments and hotels being overlooked by the CCID in favour of bars and nightclubs which is detrimental to their businesses.

Ward Councillor Dave Bryant said the a special unit in the city’s law enforcement dealt with issues of noise pollution and two months ago the sound equipment of a popular nightclub was confiscated.

According to the residents association noise pollution and “associated criminal threats” is the main reason why Long Street residents are leaving the city. “Increasing costs, not just for additional levies, but due to long-term city parking being limited, and 24 hour charge for parking on the street is causing concern,”

Qually said. According to the association, Long Street residents collectively contributed between R120 000 to R150 000 every month. “This excludes those businesses that also pay a monthly CCID levy,” Qually said. He questioned why R19 million was spent on security service who had no power of arrest and R2 million on marketing.

“Both nightclub and residents have requested that part of that budget to go to a full time police officer who is invested with powers of arrest, but again no progress has been made on this. Why does an organisation such as this require such an large budget. Surely, it should be reallocated to the provision of services,” Qually said.

Bryant said the CBD was becoming increasingly mixed use and more people were moving in, but he understood the qualms Long Street residents have. “It is an area where issues around noise is high and that is because of all the clubs,” he said.

Ross said there are enormous concerns about the noise levels in Long street and these had to be addresses and by-laws enforced with urgency. “I have met many residents who have moved or who are looking to move and whilst most of our guests love our hotel they complain bitterly about the noise factor, and the ongoing harassment by informal car guards, drug dealers, illegal pavement parking and general unruly behaviour,”

Ross said. While the CCID had put more security on the street they did not have the power to arrest anyone and this posed a problem. “Less of these (security) and the deployment of police and traffic officers with the power of arrest would be welcomed by all,” Ross said.

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From the Cape Argus, 6th July 2012

Cape Town’s Central City Improvement District has hit back at Long Street residents, saying most of its budget is spent on security and that Cape Town CBD is the safest and cleanest in the country. The Long Street Residents Association says the CCID is not doing enough about noise, crime, grime and parking, and queried its R33 million budget.

CCID chief operating officer Tasso Evangelinos said an independent survey had found that Cape Town’s CBD was considered to be one of the safest and cleanest in the country, and this was “thanks in no small part to the efforts of the CCID”.

Since the launch of the CCID in 2000, crime had fallen by close to 90 percent. It was the role of the city council to deal with noise pollution. Evangelinos said the cost of parking had come up strongly in recent surveys as an issue of concern for all users of the CBD. The CCID had passed the findings on to the city, which had started a public participation process, with the current parking tender about to expire.

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There’s a legal process that needs to be followed. At the moment …

From the Cape Times, by Caryn Dolley, 2nd March 2012

LEGAL proceedings are being instituted against a city night-club operating illegally. The Loop, on the corner of Loop and Pepper streets in the city centre – believed to be owned by Sea Point businessman Mark Lifman – opened in December last year and has been operating without the necessary licences ever since. Other business owners have also complained about the club, but said they would no longer be drawn into the fray as they had been intimidated as a result.

Lifman is presently involved in another court case regarding an unregistered security company which he funded. Yesterday, Lifman’s attorney, William Booth, said his client owned many properties and businesses, but could not say whether Lifman also owned The Loop. Local community newspaper The CapeTowner reported that it was invited to attend the media launch of The Loop last year. A public relations company said at the time that the club was owned by Lifman, along with Gareth Botha and WaiSzee Sing.

Richard Bosman, the city’s executive director of safety and security, confirmed that The Loop was operating illegally “It is true that the club has been operating without an entertainment licence. To date, two fines for operating without an entertainment licence have been issued to the manager of the club.” Bosman said members of the city’s health department initially inspected the club’s premises. The first fine was issued in December. “There’s a legal process that needs to be followed. At the moment, the law enforcement officers do not have the necessary authority to close the club,” he said. Bosnian said after legal proceedings had been finalised the officers would be able to close the club. “They are in consultation with the legal services and the process has begun,” he said.

Bosman said documentation had been submitted to the city’s legal department to summon the club’s owner for trading illegally. He said the club did, however, have a temporary liquor license. Several people employed at various businesses have recently raised their concerns with the Cape Times about operations at The Loop. All declined to be named for fear of their safety. Among concerns was the noise level generated by the club at night. Some said they had since been intimidated by the club’s bouncers and as a result had withdrawn from trying to get the club closed down. Bosnian urged anyone who felt threatened to contact the police. Tasso Evangelinos, chief operations officer of the Central City Improvement District (CCID), said they were aware of the concerns regarding The Loop and had forwarded these to the city.

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Any significant investment into property is a bonus for the …

From the CapeTowner, by Loyiso Mpalantshane, 28th April 2011

The decision to close down Senator Park, the city’s notorious block of flats is the answer to the prayers of many a city resident – and is long overdue. This was the unanimous opinion of both business owners and residents living near the apartment block when the CapeTowner visited the flats on Tuesday April 26, following news last week that the Western Cape High Court had issued its owners with an order to upgrade the building on Wednesday April 20. Tenants living in the 170-room apartment – situated between Keerom and Long streets – are expected to pack up their belongings before July, when upgrade work will start.

Residents interviewed advised the CapeTowner not to enter the premises while others said it was used as a hideout by thieves, prostitutes and drug peddlers. No one would agree to have their picture taken. Jean-Claude Kasongo, who lives in nearby Leeuwen Street, says although one of his friends rents a room in the building, he is glad that owners of the building have decided to move the tenants out. Mr Kasongo even accused police officers of contributing towards the crime allegedly tipping off drug dealers about pending raids so they can hide their “stuff”. “This is our prayer. Let the place be closed down. I think it is necessary to remove the tenants because it is a disaster waiting to happen one day. People have already died here and one day you are going to see a big crime happening there. “People steal from shops and run inside Senator Park. One day a guy came in there asking for Mr John and criminals took him upstairs. They robbed him of everything he had,” Mr Kasongo said.

Shopkeeper Lesley Woodrush said: “I hear they say once you go in there your cellphone will be gone. It is not a good sight especially this side of town where there is a lot of tourists. It’s a good idea to close it down,” he said. Tasso Evangelinos, of the Central City Improvement District (CCID), said giving the building a facelift would have positive economical spin-offs for the surrounding buildings – which was included in documentation submitted to the High Court. They also included newspaper clippings of reports about people falling out of windows and police raids at the building. “We are glad the matter has been finalised. Any significant investment into property is a bonus for the CBD. The knock-on effect is that the refurbishment will certainly affect the property value of buildings in the surrounding areas and encourage more investments and upgrades,” he said. Labour lawyer, Michael Bargraim – who owns four flats at Senator Park – said troubles with the building had started about 10 years ago and added that court officials with eviction orders feared some tenants who refused to pay rent. Mr Bargraim said a decision to save the building had already been taken in 2004. He said the situation was so bad that no law-abiding person wished to live “any longer” in Senator Park. “Unfortunately all the tenants will have to be evicted. They will have enough time and notice in which to move. My information is that the majority of the tenants do not in fact pay rent, hence are illegal residents. “The body corporate needs to be applauded because they have done an enormous amount of work which even the police couldn’t get right. The situation was completely untenable and could not continue,” he said.

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