Ratepayers discuss ‘red lights’

Concerns have been raised about a social housing project planned for Goodwood train station.

At the Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association meeting on Thursday August 31, chairman Brian Lawson said the plan could have positive spin-offs for the community (“Housing project on track,” Northern News August 23).

However, the association’s treasurer Neville Hitchcock was not convinced.

“I see red lights when they talk about social housing,” he said. “If an individual can pay his rent and deposit, then it doesn’t matter where they come from.”

Mr Hitchcock said he hoped the development would not share the same fate as Kimberley Heights in Voortrekker Road, which he described as a “complete gemors”.

“Majority of flats at Kimberley Heights don’t even have curtains. This new social housing development is not the kind of building I want to see in Goodwood. I want a development that will add prestige to the area.

“I have spoken to City officials about rezoning certain open spaces in Goodwood for a retirement village but I have not received any feedback,” he said.

“We cannot just accept it. Years ago, when they were building GrandWest Casino, a lot of promises were made to us, but nothing materialised. We don’t want the same thing to happen here. We must be more aggressive when it comes to new development.

“Our leaders, don’t seem to see Goodwood as a priority. Some of the developments that are planned for the area would not be accepted without a fight in places like Constantia,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Lawson said he was at his wits’ end with the number of problem buildings in the area.

“103 Nelson Street has been an issue since 2012, but, to date, I have not received concrete answers from the City,” he said.

The Northern News sent questions to the City about the property two weeks ago; by deadline this week, we were still waiting for a response.

Speaking to the 11 regulars who were at Thursday’s meeting, Mr Lawson complained about Goodwood residents who did not speak up about issues affecting the area.

“There are about 18 000 people living in this area. Imagine if everybody voiced their concerns? If enough people voice their concerns, we can make our voices heard, and the powers that be would sit up and take notice… We can do more, if we work together. I have seen people attend these meetings for one night and as soon as their problem is sorted out they never return.”

Mr Hitchcock, who also sits on the management board at the Elim Night Shelter in Elsies River, said he planned to tackle the City and province on plans for street people in the area.

He was reacting to a City announcement that it had a budget of R7 million to help street people.

“Someone needs to take the City to task with regards to how they spend their money on the homeless. These people need to be rehabilitated. They have lost their humanity. They have no dignity, shame or morals. They need to be taken off the street with or without their consent,” he said.

Secretary of the association Jacques van Zyl said he had emailed the City’s media department about errors in a “support shelters; not begging” brochure.

Some contact information in the brochures had been duplicated or was incorrect.

“I have been hammering them to sort it out,” he said.

JP Smith, the City’s Mayco member for safety and security; and social services said they are aware of the inconsistencies in the brochure, which were brought to their attention and which they are currently revising.“We are currently revamping the Give Responsibly campaign and are developing a new brochure. The current brochure is a temporary measure and has produced positive feedback from residents throughout the metro. As soon as the new brochure is finalised, the current one will no longer be used,” he said.

Mr Lawson said he had received notices for the extension of off-consumption liquor trading hours at Woolworths and Pick * Pay at N1 City. “They want to extend their liquor trading hours on a Sunday from 11am to 6pm and from Monday to Saturday from 6pm until 8pm even though N1 City closes at 7pm. I also received a liquor licence application for a new eatery called RocoMamas which is to be situated where Mike’s Kitchen uses to be. I see no reason to oppose these requests,” he said.

* The association will meet again on Thursday October 26. The management board will meet at the end of the month to redraft its constitution.