Project to rebuild District Six takes first steps, hailed as historical moment
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Cape Town - The City has revved up support for the redevelopment of District Six as it hosted the inaugural meeting on Tuesday with interested parties on how the area would look in the future.
About 90 people attended the online meeting and made proposals about the process to be followed in coming months as the City refines and finalises the Local Spatial Development Framework (LSDF) in collaboration with the District Six community, and other residents.
Mayor Dan Plato said: “This joint project with the national government, who is responsible for the overall development, carries significant weight for the recipients of homes in District Six. The City plays an integral part in this process through our planning approvals and the underground infrastructure that we are responsible for. We hope the process can move quicker so that more people can experience closure and joy from returning to their old neighbourhood.”
The City is already collaborating with partners in the other spheres of government and pledged its commitment at the meeting to also work with residents in the months ahead.
Some of the plans the City presented included adding new public spaces, the identification and celebration of public spaces, such as sites and buildings, and how they could be used to serve as a memory for the community for the area.
Additional plans include acknowledging Hanover Street as a mixed-use corridor and public space.
Mayco member for spatial development and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said: “This meeting marked a historical moment for our city as we are coming together to rebuild the community of District Six. I say community, because a neighbourhood is not made of brick and mortar, but is formed by the people who gather in its streets, occupy the buildings, play and socialise in its parks, and visit each other’s businesses and homes.
“The purpose of the local neighbourhood plan is to re-establish this once vibrant neighbourhood, to create a sense of belonging, and to establish a multicultural community. This is a huge task, and one we take seriously and with intent and urgency.”
Gerald Elliott, the chairperson of the District Six Reference group, expressed disappointment in the meeting being held online. “The fact is that most of the claimants are quite elderly and not in a position to interact electronically due to a lack of the requisite electronic devices, having to contend with financial constraints to purchase sufficient data for this purpose as well as being handicapped by this type of technology.” he said.
District Six Working Committee interim co-chairperson Fawzy Basardien said: “We understand the challenge many of our claimants face regarding access to the internet and data, and have therefore opened the District Six Working Committee office for appointments.
“It is absolutely critical for everyone who has an interest in D6 to be given a chance to review all government plans for the area and to have a chance to give their inputs.”
Presentations are available on the District Six local neighbourhood plan landing page: http://bit.ly/CCT-DistrictSix