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Long Street residents say they are fed up with high noise levels and crime and grime even though they are charged high levies by the Central City Improvement District.
Byron Qually, who heads the Long Street Residents Association, says that for the monthly levy of R200 per resident, they are questioning the impact. They say the CCID is far more concerned about the rights of business than those of residents, and too much money is spent on marketing and not enough on security and dealing with issues of crime and grime.
Qually estimates that there are between 800 to 1 000 people living in and around Long Street.
The CCID is a “top-up” of the services offered by the municipality.
The chief operating officer of the CCID, Tasso Evangelinos, said he was more than happy to meet the association to discuss its concerns.
Restaurant and boutique hotel owner Janis Ross says there are concerns that residential apartments and hotels are being overlooked by the CCID in favour of bars and nightclubs.
Ward councillor Dave Bryant said a special unit in Cape Town’s law enforcement unit dealt with issues of noise pollution and two months ago the sound equipment of a popular nightclub had been confiscated.
According to the residents association, noise pollution and “associated criminal threats” are the main reasons why Long Street residents are leaving the city.
“Increasing costs, not just for additional levies, but due to long-term city parking being limited, and 24-hour charges for parking on the street is causing concern,” Qually said.
According to the association, Long Street residents collectively contribute between R120 000 to R150 000 every month. “This excludes those businesses that also pay a monthly CCID levy,” Qually said.
He questioned why R19 million was spent on a security service which had no power of arrest and a whopping R12m on marketing.
“Both nightclubs and residents have requested that part of that budget go to a full-time police officer who is invested with powers of arrest, but again no progress has been made on this. Why does an organisation such as this require such a large budget? Surely it should be reallocated to the provision of services,” Qually said.
Bryant said the CBD was becoming increasingly of mixed use and more people were moving in, but he understood the qualms Long Street residents had.
“It is an area where issues around noise are high and that is because of all the clubs,” he said.
Ross said there were concerns about the noise levels in Long Street and these had to be addressed and by-laws enforced.
“I have met many residents who have moved or who are looking to move and while most of our guests love our hotel, they complain bitterly about the noise factor, and the ongoing harassment by informal car guards, drug dealers, illegal pavement parking and general unruly behaviour,” Ross said.
While the CCID had put more security on the street, they did not have the power to arrest anyone and this posed a problem. “Less (security guards) and the deployment of police and traffic officers with the power of arrest would be welcomed by all,” Ross said.