Plans to spruce up CBDs

Voortrekker Road Corridor in Parow.

The Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP) has welcomed the news that the City of Cape Town last week approved the revised Municipal Spatial Development Framework (MSDF), which will aim to revitalise the decaying Goodwood and Parow CBDs as well
as “bring people closer to jobs, and jobs closer to people”.

Brett Herron, the City’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, said the MSDF aims to reduce the number of people travelling far for work; support economic growth; lower carbon emissions, as well as clearly identify no-go areas for development to protect the City’s critical natural pockets such as agricultural areas and protect historical land rights such as in the case of District Six.

Warren Hewitt, CEO of the GTP, said the thought process behind the MSDF in reversing apartheid’s spatial planning is absolutely right.

“It follows international trends in driving densification into urban areas, thus enabling the workforce to be closer to employment opportunities while simultaneously incentivising employers to position themselves in key economic nodes outside of the CBD boundaries,” he said.

Mr Hewitt said these “development zones” will be strategically placed near or at large transport interchanges, allowing for access through public transport and lightening the financial burden of many Capetonians in getting to and from their workplace.

“Goodwood, Parow and specifically Bellville are extremely well positioned to take advantage of this as they lie on the key transport corridor of the Voortrekker Road which has well established road and rail infrastructure.

“Our strategy, at the GTP, is to unlock the inherent value of the Public Transport Interchanges (PTI) in Bellville and Parow to attract investment and development both in commercial and residential markets, increasing the number of jobs available as well as allowing people to reside closer to these employment opportunities – making it a safe place to live, work and play,” he said.

Mr Hewitt said the current spatial spread just doesn’t make sense, where the majority of the workforce are paying up to 43% of their disposable income on transport to and from work. “I do not believe however, that this development framework is quite the antidote for (apartheid’s) Group Areas Act but it does lay down the foundations for connecting larger parts of our community and creates a strategic framework for the urbanisation phenomenon we are seeing internationally.”

He added that Africa is following hard on the heels of Europe and the East in that the younger population are moving into urban spaces, specifically cities, and relying less on traditional modes of transport.

Asked how the MSDF will bolster Goodwood and Parow’s economy and address crime, he said: “Safety of the community is multi-faceted and I am not sure if the MSDF will specifically address these issues but with denser economic and financially active nodes comes inner city regeneration and an overall improvement in the quality of life and right now the Voortrekker Road Corridor is in desperate need of an economic boost. We at the GTP, together with the VRCID (Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District) are hard at work to enable this area to be prepared and equipped for this new phase,” he told the Northern News last week.

Cliff Marriman, owner of the Business Hub, situated along Vasco Boulevard in Goodwood, who rents small spaces to over 20 small businesses, said he supports any decision that will empower local businesses. “I also think that the bureaucracy within local government is stifling local businesses and that must change,” he said.

Mr Marriman said he also hopes the revised MSDF will aid unemployment and lessen crime in the area.

“We have a steel gate in front of the premises and our padlock has been stolen three times. It only costs R3. They steal it so that they can sell it to buy food. There are many hungry mouths in this area and I myself try to feed them when I can,” he said.

Resident David Beelders from Vasco said the lack of job opportunities in Goodwood has been discussed many times at the Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association meetings and promises by ward councillors have been made but nothing has come to fruition.

“Homelessness, loitering and crime still remains an issue in this area and I hope the MSDF will aim to address that. Local government in the past have made many promises and nothing has come from it. I hope the plan does fix the issues in the area,” he said.

Mr Beelders said the City should also have a round-table discussion with residents to determine what their issues are. “We need to get to the nitty gritty of the issues in the area,” he said.

Mr Beelders said when he was teenager Goodwood used to be a beautiful town. “These days crime and grime have gotten so bad that one cannot even leave one’s window open without anything happening,” he said.

Goodwood resident Jacques Kleinhans said he is hopeful that the MSDF will yield positive results for Goodwood and Parow. “The current state of affairs is shocking to say the least. Keep in mind, the potential for growth, development and capital investment in the area. Goodwood is centrally located which would bode well with people and business, as long as continuous progress is made and observed,” he said.

Mr Kleinhans said if Goodwood and Parow continues to deteriorate further, not only would it become an ever-cumbersome task to improve, it would drive away more and more people by the day. “Who wants to invest their time and money in an area with little-to-no hope of improving? The sooner structural changes are made, the better for all,” he said.

Mr Kleinhans said the plan would be a step in the “right direction” if the people of Goodwood and Parow are included in the processes.

“It would be critical to enforce and maintain the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) approach if everyone is to benefit from the changes. More new businesses operating in the area could possibly work towards the common objective of establishing a Community Improvement District (CID) along with increased response services to mitigate risks. This could potentially ‘spill over’ to the residential areas. Also, as part of improvement, deployment of more police members for both business- and residential areas would be essential,” he said.

Goodwood resident Nikki Boltman said it is necessary to consider the upgrading of both Parow and Goodwood CBD. “In my opinion, this appears to me to be a veiled attempt to retain the elitist status of the areas surrounding the City and to move the issue of low cost housing away from the CBD and Green Point, while the gentrification of the Bo-Kaap, Woodstock and Salt River gallops ahead. The City’s focus should be on getting an efficient public transport system in place, rather than moving businesses and people to circumvent a collapsing transport system,” she said.

Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association chairman Faizel Petersen said the plan could lead to much needed transformation in the area in terms of inclusive economic development; integrated urban planning and management; tourism development; transport integration and sustainable human settlement. “These would all benefit ratepayers and property owners as it would increase their property value while also retaining the natural and biodiversity resources we have in the area. There has always been a need for better resources in the areas established for people of colour after the forced removals due to the Group Areas Act. Many such Cape Town suburbs are still without proper medical facilities, proper access to integrated transport systems, access to quality education, recreational and youth development programmes and facilities,” he said.

Ward 27 councillor Cecile janse van Rensburg said sustainable growth of the Parow and Goodwood CBD’s will benefit the wider communities. “However, it will require substantial strategic and focused interventions to transform the Voortrekker Corridor into a flourishing economic node. A legislative framework will guide the roles of the public and private sector to achieve this.”