CCID trains workers to keep up city’s appearance

One of the Straatwerk workers painting the benches around the trees.

The Central City Improvement District (CCID) has implemented three urban projects to improve the CBD’s appearance.

The projects, by the CCID’s urban management department, were colour-coded – Project Blue involved the sanding and repainting of blue infrastructure, poles and bollards; Project Brown entailed sprucing up of the wooden benches; and Project Red saw sanding and painting of all the post boxes.

The manager of the CCID’s urban management department, Kally Benito, said Projects Red and Blue, the painting of the post boxes and the blue infrastructure, have already been completed.

Project Brown – painting of the wooden benches in St Georges Mall – will be completed by the end of July.

A team of nine workers – three foreman and six workers from homeless support organisation Straatwerk – have been working weekdays from 9am to 5pm to complete the work on the colour projects.

There are three workers per project who receive on-the-job training from the foreman to carry out the work required of them.

This team usually removes graffiti tags in the CBD for the CCID.

CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos said while visitor numbers have dropped substantially since lockdown restrictions were enforced to stem the tide of the pandemic, the CCID has worked consistently to maintain and improve the city centre’s appearance, in collaboration with its partner the City of Cape Town.

“This constant upgrading builds capacity for positive change, shifts negative perceptions and plays into the famous ‘broken window’ theory – that decreasing visible signs of disorder has a net positive impact. It helps to build the narrative of a thriving CBD that’s open for business.

“This benefits the more than 3 000 business entities in the CCID’s footprint.”

The projects not only beautify the CBD but also provide employment to the Straatwerk team.

The operations manager of Straatwerk, Clint Porter, said the individuals who work on these projects learn new skills and hone them as the project progresses.

“It’s a steep learning curve, but the sense of accomplishment in not only mastering and perfecting a new technical skill but doing the job well, is enormous.

“Their sense of pride is further enhanced by the fact that the results of their handiwork are visible, and they can show their friends and family what they have accomplished. They also work in the public eye and get positive comments from pedestrians while they are working. This also adds to their sense of achievement.”

Ms Benito said after the projects are complete, the team will move on to other CCID shifts that have been allocated to them, from graffiti removal to beautification projects or tasks including road maintenance and gardening services.