Council renews VRCID’s contract

Safety and security will be top of the agenda for the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID) during its next five-year term.

Over the next 12 months, VRCID will spend about R2 million on rolling out CCTV and Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras throughout the Voortrekker corridor, which will be monitored at its dedicated control room.

Derek Bock, chief operations officer, said this is proof of their commitment to the area, the property owners, police and the City. “We are very excited about this and believe it will make a difference,” he said.

This comes as the CID’s contract has been renewed for another five years following a full council sitting. The new contract started on Saturday July 1 and runs to June 30 2022.

There have been many challenges and successes for the VRCID over the past five years, with the challenges within the corridor including prostitution, problem buildings, homelessness and criminal activities.

Mr Bock said they are currently working with the ward councillors of sub-councils 4 and 6 to deal with problem buildings (“King Edward Street a ‘problem’”, Northern News February 22).

He said there is great business potential in the area but said it had been left “neglected” for too long and now they are focused on getting businesses back to the corridor.

Sub-council 6 chairwoman Rose Rau said it was important to give property owners confidence in the area. “We also need to give future investors confidence in the area and urban management is a critical part of this confidence,” she said.

Ms Rau said they are proud and appreciative of the additional contributions made by the businesses in the corridor towards safety, cleaning, social issues and the maintenance of infrastructure.

“Given the serious urban decay in the Voortrekker Road area it has to be said that we could not cope without the work done by the VRCID.”

Mr Bock said the new Safe Space in Bellville would go a long way towards dealing with homelessness in the area.

According to VRCID’s most recent survey, there are about 700 homeless people in the corridor.

When it comes to crime, the VRCID’s main concern is the Bellville public transport interchange and Parow station – due to the influx of people passing through daily.

Mr Bock said the stations were both in need of an upgrade in terms of infrastructure, which he believes would help bring investors back into the area. “We want to see businesses coming back to Bellville and for the CBD to be thriving,” he said.

Johan van der Merwe, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for finance, said the establishment of CIDs or Special Rating Areas (SRAs), is fast becoming an effective solution to halt environmental degradation and unacceptably high degrees of crime. He said the additional rates contributed by property owners are collected by council and paid over to the CID, which then uses them to provide a “top-up” to City services.

The VRCID covers a 8km stretch of road down Voortrekker Road from Goodwood to Bellville.

As for successes, Mr Bock said the cleanliness of the corridor was the most evident, with their cleansing teams collecting up to 1 500kg of litter a day, this in addition to the litter collected by City staff. He said they would also focus on “litter education” this term.

The VRCID also has two teams of 25 public safety officers who are deployed to patrol throughout the corridor, day and night.

Mr Bock said they are excited about the next five years, especially with the upcoming launch of their new branding in August and the roll out of surveillance cameras.