With their five-year terms of office drawing to an end, the ward councillors of Sub-council 1 gathered one last time last week ahead of the local government elections.
With a jovial spirit, the councillors decided to “blow their own trumpets” at the meeting on Tuesday June 14.
“This is our last term in office, so we can indulge ourselves. The upcoming government may set up sub-council boundaries differently, and some of the wards have already changed. Sub-council1 is the biggest council and could be split into two, so there will be different colleagues in the new term. Change is inevitable,” said Sub-council 1 chairwoman Heather Brenner, who is retiring.
“My focus has been on the residents and safety and security, as I said it will be at the beginning of my term. The western seaboard licence plate recognition (LPR) camera project has taken a lot of work and is now in operation with participating wards 4 and 23,” said Ms Brenner.
She said her ward had also contributed annually to a rent-a-cop programme to boost law enforcement and her proposal to have the water slide near Table View Mall moved had been adopted.
“This is in the hope of discouraging vagrancy in the area. The fence around the sports grounds will receive maintenance and will be moved forward to be in line with the fence at the water slide. Hopefully, this will make for better management of the piece of land.
“My efforts to clean 200 square metres of reeds in that area have fallen on deaf ears. We have tried everything to get it done, and I put the blame on the environmental department,” said Ms Brenner, adding that the fire during the Guy Fawkes fireworks in November had at least helped to do some of that work.
The dog-walking park in Parklands would open before her term of office ended, and a community court for Table View, a Department of Justice initiative, had finally been given the nod.
“I feel that I’ve started something big, and I’m glad it is in progress before I leave,” she said.
Ward 4 councillor Dr Joy McCarthy was also happy with the growth of the western seaboard LPR camera project.
“Myself and councillor Brenner invested R200 000 each per financial year from our budget into the project. Together, we have invested over R2 million between us,” she said.
“It has formed a ring around Sub-council 1, and we’ve seen the benefits, as we are now able to monitor who comes in and out of the areas,” said Dr McCarthy.
Each community in her diverse ward faced its own challenges, she said, describing how crime in Summer Greens had led to the creation of a neighbourhood watch and WhatsApp groups that helped residents monitor their suburb.
When she started working as a councillor, she said, there had been six people in Joe Slovo; today there were 17 000, while Phoenix had 3000 people, including backyarders.
“There is not enough space for these people, but we have started re-blocking of the area and provided flush toilets, but there is still a lot that needs to be done,” said Dr McCarthy.
“In Montague Gardens, the homeless will have a place to rest and stay overnight and for 35 years there have been no street lights in Montague Gardens, but streets lights have been planned for in the next budget.”
Ward 23 councillor Nora Grose said she was proud of the progress made on the Table View beachfront.
“It’s slow, but I’m glad with the visible difference. The building of the outside gym is also something which is well utilised by the public and surrounding communities.”
Ms Grose said she had faced many challenges with the relocation of two informal settlements to Wolverivier, but together with ward 104 councillor Lubabalo Makeleni, they had managed to pull it off.
“We also assisted in integrating people into work opportunities which is something we can show off,” said Ms Grose.
Although absent due to ill health, Ms Brenner spoke on behalf of Mr Makeleni and said that upgrading in Dunoon had not been an easy task.
“Dunoon has been shacked in. Land set aside for community purposes and services is just shacks now. Luckily, Liezel Kruger-Fountain put her heart and soul into Dunoon and into identifying public space to build a library and sports facilities,” said Ms Brenner.