The City says it plans to reinstate a grounds manager for the Company’s Garden due to the drastic degradation of the space.
It has been reported that there is a severe lack of safety in the area and that on the odd occasion when security guards are present, they gather on the benches instead of performing their duties. Writing to CapeTalk, a local said: “I’ve encountered people defacating, having sex, urinating, getting mugged and countless instances of drug use”.
“The amount of litter in and around the garden is shocking,” added the resident.
The grounds manager position was cut out about two years ago as a result of a new development transformation plan under the previous mayor. Since the position does not fit into the current structure of management, it has not been restored.
However, the decline of the area has necessitated the appointing of new a grounds manager. The City Bowl ward coucillor, Dave Bryant, says Zahid Badroodien, the mayco member for community services and health, has assured him that the position will be re-established.
“This will go a long way towards at least providing added survailance,” says Bryant.
According to Bryant, law enforcement and private security are present in the area. He agrees, however, that the lack of a co-ordinator is detrimental.
Byrant cites specific challenges which have contributed to the decline of the Company’s Garden.
“One of the key contributing factors is the overall challenges that we are having with rough sleeping, homelessness, and the bylaw transgressions that go along with that,” he says. Additionally, he notes that this issue is not specific to the garden – it is an issue that is pervasive in most if not all public spaces.
While there are many people pushing the City to enforce the bylaws, there are also groups calling for the opposite. The latter groups are fighting for the safety of the homeless people as they are already vulnerable and the implementation of these bylaws, against them, would be unfair.
A court case was brought against the City last year. The case intends to prevent the City from exercising it’s jurisdiction in terms of those bylaws. The case is ongoing. Thus, the City has faced a challenge with regards to how best to handle the situation.