Residents need to take pride in their area, says Councillor

The cleanliness and safety at the shopping centre in Summer Greens has for years been a topic of discussion.

Summer Greens ratepayers were told to take pride in the area at a recent community meeting.

Around 50 residents attended the community meeting hosted by the Summer Greens Ratepayers Association (SGRA) last Tuesday at the community hall.

Charl van der Merwe, of the Royal Ascot Master Property Owners Association (RAMPOA) also attended the meeting. He told residents about the RAMPOA. He said the master property owners association (MPOA) would function like a body corporate, helping keep the area clean and safe.

“An MPOA is a great initiative for communities because residents are then directly involved as to what happens in their areas. Homeowners who get on board, decide on what amount they put into much-needed projects for the area. Let’s say R100 from every homeowner. Those funds are then used for things like cameras in the community, gardening service for all the houses, beautifying the community, hiring a private security company, etc,” said Mr Van der Merwe.

Bridgette Lloyd, of the SGRA, said that safety was the number one priority in the community as there are incidents making residents feel unsafe.

“We have a new batch of vagrants and some of them look quite suspicious. Summer Greens has one main entrance and one exit. However, there are those small exits people use on foot here and there which makes the place a bit unsafe because you don’t know everyone coming in and out. It would help this community if we closed off all the other little exits. As SGRA, we have spoken to a property developer about the potential of turning Summer Greens into a gated community,” she said.

Summer Greens residents said a major concern was the shopping centre. For years, residents have complained about loitering, public drinking, littering and the noise levels at the centre.

Sharon Kriel, a Summer Greens resident, said the area was getting worse.

“It used to be on weekends only where you would find people drinking in public in that area. Now it’s an everyday thing where there are people drinking, screaming at the top of their lungs, while others are urinating in public. The place smells so bad now. We can’t even go to the shop without people asking for loose change. It makes us feel unsafe,” she said.

Ms Lloyd said that residents should report these incidents and take photos or videos.

“I am not asking people to risk their own safety but be inconspicuous. Try to do it without letting people know what you’re doing. I myself have taken a few videos as evidence. We need to have evidence so that we can show authorities that this is a big problem. We also need the co-operation of the owners of that shopping centre. We have set up a meeting with the owners and will meet with them soon,” she said.

Ward 4 councillor, Anthony Benadie, said it was up to the residents to take pride in their community and contribute to the upkeep, which would be a deterrent to unsavoury characters.

“Residents need to show others that they can’t get away with the public drinking, littering, loitering and vagrancy. When Summer Greens looks nice and tidy, when residents stand up for what’s right and don’t let people get away with these minor offences, then you will start to see the bad characters will start to avoid Summer Greens altogether. We’ve seen this happen in other areas. Summer Greens can also benefit from residents sticking together,” he said.