Safety, parks and recreation priority

Wyehill Park was among the parks in Ward 72 which were upgraded.

July marks the beginning of the City of Cape Town’s new financial year when millions of rands from ward allocations will be budgeted for projects across the metros.

Each financial year runs from July 1 to the end of June the following year.

Every sub-council is allocated a budget of R1 million a ward for various projects.

Municipal elections will take place later this year and councillors from each ward have a wish list for the ward allocations for the following financial year. Some councillors in the Southern Mail distribution areas have applied to stand for election in their respective wards again, however, if another councillor is elected they can amend the wish list and priorities when the budget is looked at again, or adjusted.

The area covered by Southern Mail includes seven wards and last week we spoke to Ward 110 councillor Shanen Rossouw and Ward 65 councillor Patricia van der Ross about their plans.

This week we speak to councillors Marita Petersen from Ward 68 which includes Lavender Hill and Kevin Southgate of Ward 72 which includes Heathfield and parts of Retreat.

Ms Petersen said all her projects were being finalised and would be completed before June as planned.

“Most of operational projects are 90% spent in terms of procurement processes. Covid-19 restrictions posed a challenge for the programmes but with lockdown levels dropped, the facilities are accessible so the projects will commence and should be completed by end April,” she said.

Over the past year R90 000 was spent on Steenberg Hall’s recreational games as well as a youth arts and culture programme. A youth skills development was run at a cost of R100 000 as well as an elderly dignity programme at about R105 000.

A further R50 000 was spent on neighbourhood watch support programmes and R25 000 on a Christmas tree project in Sharedon Park. One of the bigger projects which has always been high on the agenda, she said, are the CCTV cameras in the ward which used R300 000 of the allocated budget to address safety and security issues.

The Lavender Hill Clinic received equipment valued at R60 000, R20 000 was used to buy materials for the ward’s mobile library, R200 000 was spent on upgrading parks, and sound equipment which cost R40 000 was installed at Steenberg Hall.

Ms Petersen said some of the allocated funds had been diverted to respond to Covid-19, covering the cost of, for example, food parcels.

Asked what some of the major concerns were in her ward, Ms Petersen said dumping was getting out of control. “There’s a lot of dumping in the parks, open spaces and in our canals. It is not acceptable and it needs to stop. urge residents to assist in reporting illegal dumping and I want to thank the residents who do report,” she said.

She said certain projects, like the roll-out of electricity for backyarders in Lavender Hill had been delayed because tenders had expired.

Some projects in Ward 68 that might be budgeted for in the next financial year included upgrades to Military Road, wealth creation projects, informal trading opportunities and youth empowerment and training, Ms Petersen added.

Mr Southgate said CCTV cameras were also high on his priority list. Also budgeted for were upgrade of parks and new equipment installation at Kingfisher and ChipHillside park, the tarring of the parking area at the Solo park sports field as well as new soccer poles, which had been ordered.

He said a new ride-on mower had been purchased to be used at St Augustine’s, Ashford and Groenewald sports facilities.

A total of R250 000 had been spent on the upgrade of Princess Vlei, R290 000 on the upgrade to sports facilities, R100 000 on the upgrade of parks, another R100 000 on the upgrades of roads and R100 000 on the installation of CCTV cameras. Senior programmes cost R30 000, youth programmes R25 000 and the deployment of a law enforcement officer, R285 000.

Mr Southgate said the project that means the most to him is the upgrade of Princess Vlei Park. “Over the last five years we have made an annual allocation towards the upgrade and development of the facility. The City of Cape Town in partnership with the Princess Vlei Forum have already invested millions and made great strides in restoring the facility and transforming it into an outdoor family recreational space that will add value to our communities.”.

Mr Southgate asked residents to assist the ward by ensuring that illegal dumping was reduced by not giving their rubbish to the bin pickers to dispose of. “Where they witness illegal dumping they should report it. They’re also encouraged to log service requests where the need for a service exists,” he said.