CCID looks to adapt to fast-paced city life

Chief executive officer of the City Central Improvement District, Tasso Evangelinos, addresses the meeting.

The Cape Town CBD is fast moving towards being a 24-hour city centre, and the City Central Improvement District (CCID) needs to think about how it will adapt to reach this milestone successfully, said the chairperson, Rob Kane.

He was speaking at the CCID’s 18th annual general meeting, held last Monday, November 19, at the City Hall.

“The gracious old Cape Town City Hall has just recently reopened its doors following a revamp. And when you sit here inside of this magnificent building, it just brings it home what a truly beautiful CBD we have.”

Mr Kane said the city centre is in a stage of an 18-hour day. “But we’re fast moving towards a round-the-clock downtown and, as we do, it’s imperative for the CCID to think about what it wants to be, and what we will require from our partners.”

He said the city improvement district, provides top-up services to those of the primary service providers – namely the City of Cape Town and the South African Police Service. “As the demands increase on our own top-up services, we look forward to the day when all service providers step up to meet the challenges together of the ever-increasing hours in our collective ‘day’.

“We’re not quite there yet, especially with public transport or the retail component of the city, but with the CCID, we are there around the clock, and we need to take the rest of the city on this journey with us.”

He said the CBD was very different from what it was three years ago, and that the footfall that now comes into the city centre in the after-hours economy – from the entertainment sector to businesses that operate at night such as call centres and medical facilities – is increasingly growing.

“As the CCID, our budget can only stretch so far, and the hours in a day that our teams work can only last so long. We need to expand our existing partnerships with government agencies – locally, regionally and nationally – and explore new collaborations.”

The CEO of the CCID, Tasso Evangelinos said while the meeting was a reflection of the year that has passed, the CCID also has to look forward towards this 24-hour economy in the central city.

“A growing CBD such as ours must be one that is capable of meeting the needs of an ever-increasing footfall as this expands into the night, and this is more than just entertainment, it’s about economic growth, investment, jobs, the retention of existing business and the creation of new ones.”

He said as the CCID moves towards a 24-hour city centre, they need to find effective ways to manage the CBD. “We cannot do it alone, we need collaboration.”

Mr Evangelinos said the management had asked each of the four departments to prioritise their needs as they move to a 24-hour central city.

Safety and Security:

The need for more strategic visible deployment.

Embracing all technology available to the CCID to improve safety.

Increasing partnerships with law agencies as well as other CBD stakeholders.

Addressing social issues more effectively.

Enforcing by-laws.

Alleviating peak-hour traffic congestion.

Urban Management:

Increasing interaction and relationship building with stakeholders.

Providing and maintaining a clean environment including hotspot cleaning and cleaning up the debris that remains behind once the night-time economy has gone home.

Being able to report incidents to the relevant departments within the City, and having them attended to as swiftly as possible. These include things such as street light outages; faulty traffic lights; burst pipes and blocked drains.

Social Development:

Increased deployment of fieldworkers on call after hours and who can respond to the many emergencies that arise during that after-hours period.

Ongoing liaison with NGO partners so that they can intervene particularly in cases where children are found on the street and need immediate care and protection in terms of the Children’s Act.

Being able to increasingly assist seriously ill people to hospital when an ambulance is not required;

And being able to increasingly assist with the emergency overnight placement of mothers with children as well as frail and vulnerable older people.

Communications:

Respond around the clock to public, media and social media enquiries about the central city in general and the work of the CCID.

Promote businesses, venues and events that contribute to and drive a vibrant daytime and night-time economy.

Promote the work of the CCID through growing, targeted campaigns that speak directly to stakeholders who use the CBD for business or pleasure.

“As I mentioned, though, we don’t do this on our own – we already have very important partners, but the secret will be in how we maximise those partnerships to the best of our collective ability that will enable us to drive our CBD forward into that 24-hour economy,” said Mr Evangelinos.

The ward councillor for the city centre, Dave Bryant, said if there will be a transformation to a night-time environment in the CBD, there will need to be additional resources.

“I have recently written to mayor Dan Plato to request additional enforcement staff for the Cape Town CBD and I will be doing a walkabout with him in the coming weeks to look at problem areas. The move towards a 24-hour city has been influenced by increased investment into the area and by catalytic projects such as First Thursdays, Open Streets, Museum Saturdays and many others.

“The positive growth in the CBD has attracted a much larger residential population which in itself has changed the way the area operates outside of working hours.”

He said while law enforcement and municipal staff already operate as a 24-hour city in some ways, there is an immediate need to increase the number of law enforcement and municipal staff if they want to attract a significantly higher numbers of users and residents.

“The Cape Town CBD is unique in the context of the rest of the metro as it has an exponentially higher number of users. The new mayor has recognised this and has committed to work with local agencies and myself as the ward councillor to ensure that we have the resources that we need to stay ahead of the curve as the CBD continues to grow.”