And … We’re Off

I hope you had a restful holiday over the festive period. It’s now time to start the engines for 2018. August will be the 2 year anniversary of the DA taking power in Joburg. It should be interesting to see what the next 8 months has in store for us.

There will certainly be infrastructure problems – both in terms of power outages, pipe bursts, potholes, sewer leaks, etc, as well as the disruption when it is upgraded. This will be the pattern over the next 10 years or so. So we need to knuckle down and make the best of it, as things will start to get better over time.

My fellow councillors and I in Region B have been furiously working behind the scenes and have been pushing the boundaries with officials and our political leadership to improve how things operate in the City, our Region and Wards. There is definitely a massive learning curve as we try to figure out how things were done in the past and how we want them done now.

But Wait, There’s More

An example I use to illustrate the type of changes we are starting to see is the Parkhurst Rec Centre Roof. For the 1st time in my 6 years as a councillor and my 8 years prior experience on the Parkhurst Residents Association, both myself and members of the Residence Association were included in the process.

R500 000 was allocated to replace the roof. When the contractor started the work, he found it wasn’t that bad and would cost quite a lot less. I am sure that in the past, the rest of the money would have been pocketed and nobody would have been the wiser. Now, we were asked what else we wanted done with the rest of the money. So we got a new sprung wooden floor in the hall rather than the planned repair. Bonus!!!

As the officials learn to trust us, and we get a better understand of the procedures and how entities operate, so this sort of thing will become commonplace. I am sure that spending the money properly, using good contractors, and cutting out corruption will go a long way to resolving our infrastructure backlog quicker than we think.

Ward Wishlist

Another first occurred at the end of last year where Ward Councillors in Region B (and other regions) were asked to list up to 5 priorities from their Integrated Development Plan that were capital projects of short term, medium term and of a large ward boundary crossing nature. Below is the wish list for Ward 117.

Note that this is just a list and the projects have not yet been funded -let’s hold thumbs for the 2018/19 FY). I haven’t included any that are already on the IDP for the next 3 years (widening of Jan Smuts in Parkwood, new clinic and parks in Rosebank, finishing off Zoo Parking Deck, etc). Also there were quite a few cross cutting projects at all three levels and I have included projects from other wards where they also impact on Ward 117.

Capital Works of a Minor Nature

This refers to priority projects with relatively small monetary value that could potentially be fast-tracked and completed in a single financial year. 

1) Upgrade of sidewalks along Tyrwhitt/7th Ave/6th St – this is a major access route that links Rosebank, Parktown North, Parkhurst for many pedestrians.
2) New children’s play park on the Braamfontein Spruit adjacent to Dalebrook Crescent, Victory Park. The Residents Association has produced a plan for the park and are seeking City Parks approval. It will be a key element in revitalising this section of the Spruit.
3) Traffic calming along 1st Ave West in Parkhurst. It has been accepted by JRA, plans have been drawn up and it has been costed out at about R330 000.
4) Further upgrade to the facilities at the well-used Parkhurst Recreation Centre – tennis clubhouse and toilets, meeting room refurbishment, kitchen area, etc.
5) Fence the open storm water drain at the bottom (NW) end at Zoo Lake. The existing fence has been severely damaged over time and now the drain is used by the homeless to sleep in and it also poses a danger to people visiting the park. JRA have agreed that it is needed.

B) Capital Works of a Significant Nature

This refers to larger projects that will require longer term planning and multi-year budgeting.

1) Upgrade the 2 combined sewer systems taking waste from Rosebank, Parktown North & Parkhurst to the main sewer along the Braamfontein Spruit. The 2 sewer systems enter the main sewer via the Parkview Golf Course & near 19th St in Parkhurst. They are old & too small for the massive increase in density & development in the area which results in severe pollution incidents when blockages occur – both into the Spruit and into private properties located near the sewer lines.
2) The storm water system in the ward needs an overhaul – from cleaning/repairing the kerb inlets, to installing new drains to take away surface water, to clearing gutters of obstructions such as residents building ramps in them and tree roots blocking them.
3) Fire hydrants throughout the ward need identifying, repairing and marking for greater visibility.
4) The Zoo Lake Precinct Master Plan has been accepted by City Parks as a project. While some private funding will be sourced, the City also needs to commit to the project until it is completed. It will transform the ZL Park and the Zoo into a park on the scale of Hyde Park and Central Park, and will be a massive asset to the City.
5) A cohesive Master Plan should be developed and implemented for the 100 hectare Delta Park. It is increasingly being used by the residents in the City and also for outdoor activity events such as Park Run, Scouts/Guides camping areas, mountain bike races, big walks, yoga in the park, etc. It has an Environment Centre, several houses that need to be re-purposed for community activities, a bird sanctuary, 3 dams, beautiful views, links to the Braamfontein Spruit trails and has an active User Group. The houses and Environment Centre have been declared as an Art Deco heritage area by the City.
6) [From Ward 87] Upper Park Drive in Forest Town – the pavements have been badly damaged by service installations and the construction of the Zoo Parking. We request that the pavements are fully resurfaced so they are useable again. This road is part of the Red Bus and Green Bus tour which brings thousands of tourists through our city.

C) Regional Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) Projects

These are projects that will benefit multiple wards and by their nature will require longer term planning and multi-year budgeting.

1) Upgrade Parkhurst Sub-station (12th St, Parkhurst) as it is starting to give regular problems to the surrounding suburbs in Wards 117, 87, 90 and 99.
2) Pipe replacement of the water main that keeps bursting that carries water from Killarney to Hyde Park. It affects the suburbs in Wards 73, 74, 117, 87, and 90.
3) A traffic study needs to be carried out in and around Rosebank to determine the needs for the node – both vehicular, public transport, pedestrians and cycling. This will inform future needs for the node.
4) [From Ward 90] Comprehensive plan required to deal with thousands of displaced people in public open spaces, including parks and the Spruit. Plan must include shelters and depots for sorting and recycling, all of which must be properly managed.
5) [From Ward 88] Storm water management along the Braamfontein Spruit. The Braamfontein Spruit is a major water way that flows through many wards and to prevent future flooding issues the construction of storm water management should be considered.
6) [From Ward 90] The riverine area in Delta Park should be developed into a proper Park which could be managed. There should be walking and cycling paths and benches and toilets and all the things that make a river popular and used.
7) [From Ward 90] Rehabilitate Braamfontein Spruit as it needs serious work done to rehabilitate the banks and clear out all the concrete blocks that have come down in floods. For any part of the Ward to create and develop a healthy atmosphere the water and sanitation must be a priority. The Spruit runs all year but the water is so polluted that it cannot be used for human consumption. This is a major need.

Separation at Source Has Started

 

After going out for tender a year ago, a company called the Dikala Group was appointed to start and manage the Separation at Source (S@S) scheme for Pikitup. It will be rolled out across the City and will eventually be compulsory.

They have already started in our area and some of you will already have received a bag and flyers by some of their staff who have been going door to door.

Where and When?
Currently only 12 suburbs in 3 wards (117, 90 & 87) are included. More will added as the scheme grows.
– Monday Collections: Saxonwold, Parkwood, Rosebank, Parktown North, Parkhurst Craighall, Craighall Park, Dunkeld, Dunkeld West.
– Tuesday Collections: Parktown, Forest Town.
– Friday: Illovo

How is it Done?
Residents are given bags into which they must place their clean recyclables. They then put the bags out next to their regular trash bins (please don’t put them inside the bins). A separate dedicated non-Pikitup truck will collect the bags. A new bag will be provided when the filled bag is collected.

How Do I Get My 1st Bag?
– Workers from Dikala are going around door to door at the moment, so keep an eye out for them. It is envisaged that the Community Groups and Resident’s Associations be involved along with the street What’s Ap groups as well as Facebook and email be used to get the word out. The street What’s Ap groups could used to help distribute the bags.
– Furthermore, the 3 ward councillors have all got bags that will be made available to those who want them.
– You can also buy some clear plastic bags from a supermarket and use those for your recycling.

What Can Be Recycled?
Paper, cardboard, clean plastic bottles and containers, rinsed out cans, rinsed out glass bottles and jars, rinsed milk/juice cartons. I usually just rinse out bottles and wash containers, jars and plastic containers at the end of washing up.

What About the Other Current Recycling Schemes?
– The idea is to not exclude other recyclers, but to work together to reduce the waste that goes to landfills in our city.
– This scheme will attempt to find solutions to working with the trolley pushers – both by incorporating those who want to get involved in the scheme as well as buying waste from them. So if you want to continue using them for your plastic products and paper, then put clean plastics in a separate bag for them so they won’t have to go through your trash and mess up your bin.
– For households who use Ronnie Bags for waste paper or other companies to collect their recyclables – they can still continue to put their bags out on collection days.

What About Town House Complexes, Apartment Blocks, Office Blocks/Parks?
Please contact Dikala on 087-820-7640 to chat about your S@S solutions.

Why Recycle?
– The City has very little space left in its landfill sites, so it is imperative that our trash load be reduced to increase the life of the landfills. Once these they are filled up, then trash will have to be transported long distances outside of the city which will significantly increase the cost of trash collection for all of us.
– Recycling is good for our neighbourhoods, city, parks, rivers, oceans, dams and the planet.
– I have found that recycling helps reduce the amount of trash in my bin. So it stays cleaner (especially if you also have a compost bin and a worm farm), tends to not get damaged when the bins are lifted by the compactor and it is not a train smash if my trash is not collected for a couple of weeks due to strikes, holidays and vehicle breakdowns.

My Hot Recycling Tip
– I use an old round plastic pre-wheely bin trash bin in which I place the recycling bag. If you don’t have one, you can ask at your local hardware store or get one at places like Westpack in Blairgowrie. I keep it outside the kitchen door in my back yard. Whenever I have anything to recycle, I just pop it into the bin. On collection day, I take the bag out, tie it at the top and put it out with the trash. Easy Peasy.

Join The DA

If you want to join the DA, it costs R10 a year, or, I would recommend you take out a 5 year membership of R50. Please contact my Branch Membership Secretary – Teigue Payne on 082-892-2218 / teigue.payne@gmail.com. He will send the address where you can sign up and pay online. You can be from anywhere in Joburg as you will be allocated by Head Office to the Branch in your respective ward.

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