Table View’s ‘dirty secret’ revealed

The Waterville Public Open Space is being misused as a dumping site by vagrants. Food waste, plastic and human excrement are found in the thick vegetation.

Table View residents are calling on a local shopping centre to better secure its bin area to prevent vagrants from scrounging through their refuse and dumping it on the public open space behind the centre.

Last Wednesday a video was posted on YouTube showing the filth and garbage found in and around the thick vegetation area behind West Coast Village.

The city-owned land is called Waterville Public Open Space and is bordered by the centre, Blaauwberg Netcare, and Elkanah High School. Titled West Coast Village’s dirt big secret, the two-minute video includes subtitles and calls the area a “toxic swamp of rotting food and waste.”

It has been viewed 3 200 times in the past week, and was made by members of Table View Community Clean-up – a group of volunteers who regularly clean the area.

A walk through the vegetation reveals piles of paper, plastic and cardboard.

Human excrement and rats are also captured in the video.

Darren Whitticom, chairman of Sector 2 of the Table View Community Policing Forum (CPF), said if food waste was controlled at the centre, there would be no problem.

He said the area was a serious health hazard and he believed vagrants’ “easy access” to waste bins behind the centre had a lot to do with it.

“The issue is (that) all junk from the West Coast Village ends up there. Waste management needs to be set up to secure the bins better,” he said.

He said Table View Community Clean-up conducted clean-up operations every fortnight.

Law enforcement, Table View Neighbourhood Watch, Table View CPF, and the City’s solid waste department were among those helping to keep the area clean but, said Mr Whitticom, soon after every clean-up the area was back to looking like a dump.

Four days after the video was posted, West Coast Village responded via a statement on their Facebook page, pointing out that the land around the centre was owned and managed by the City of Cape Town and that West Coast Village management had been raising their concerns with the City since 2014.

In the statement they noted: “Council advised that the detention pond was a public space, being a bird sanctuary and protected area, and as such could not be fenced off.

“In an effort to secure the centre from vandals and the refuse bins from being opened and littered, the centre is locked down at night. An additional gate to the refuse room has been installed, as well as additional cameras. Tenants have been asked to secure their areas, but unfortunately the vagrants always find a way and refuse is taken, opened and littered – creating numerous problems. As last resort, barbed wire is being installed on the outside refuse area to prevent forced access.” 

Tabletalk sent the City a link to the video and asked questions, including if the area could be fenced off, and if anything could be done to protect it from being used as a dumping ground. The City, however, did not respond by the time this article went to print.