Keen interest shown for proposed Glenwood UIP

Directors of the BCIP, Mike Kingston, Heather Rorick, Chris Beresford and Neil Lamble at the meeting on Thursday. They believe a UIP will be the best way forward for the area.

THERE was an encouraging turnout of business owners and residents at a meeting held last week to discuss the proposed Glenwood UIP.

Speaking at the meeting, Bulwer Community Improvement Project (BCIP) director, Chris Beresford said he was pleased with the turnout of people who had a vested interest in the project.

He explained to those in attendance that the BCIP had been launched in December 2015 after it became clear that the area had become overrun with crime, grime, illegal car guards and vagrants.

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“Over the past few months we have noticed the difference in the area between Bulwer and Umbilo Roads. Although it was an absolute challenge in the beginning, with the Bulwer Ambassadors being intimidated by vagrants, there has been a lot of positive feedback from the community.”

“Over the past three to four months some businesses have had to withdraw from the project, making it a very difficult task to keep the BCIP going, but we will carry on,” he said.

Speaking about the Bulwer Ambassadors, Heather Rorick of the BCIP, said Metro Police had worked with the project to address issues on the road and that there were ongoing investigations into crime in the area.

“The Ambassadors are doing a marvellous job, they monitor crime, make citizens’ arrests and have cleaned up the road. We are going to soldier on. We now want to look at ways to extend and improve,” she said.

Director Neil Lamble addressed the plans for the UIP and said the proposal for the Glenwood UIP would see it operate in the area from King Dinuzulu (Berea) Road, Umbilo Road, Alan Paton (Mc Donald) Road and Lena Ahrens Road.

He presented the Draft Business Plan for the UIP which has been recognised by eThekwini Municipality.

“We hope to have our ducks in a row by November and to have the Glenwood UIP in operation by July next year. EThekwini Municipality has assisted by contracting Paul Jones from Resource Consultants to do the work on the draft. It is still a work in progress and we are taking suggestions before it is finalised,” he said.

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He said the next step would be to sell the UIP to businesses in the area, adding that he believed it would have a positive impact in the community.

“Twelve months ago this wasn’t a pleasant area. With the BCIP we can already see a significant impact. We have consulted with various UIPs in Durban and will be working to set up this structure as we believe UIPs really work. The area includes a heavy residential component, although residents will not need to contribute towards the UIP. However, this can only happen if 51 per cent of the commercial owners in the area agree to contribute to the project,” he said.

Lamble said the vision for the Glenwood UIP is to create a clean, safe, vibrant environment, to improve the recreational character of the area and encourage investment.

He said the Glenwood UIP followed a four-pronged strategy, including monitoring and facilitation of existing services, through working with the municipality, SAPS, Metro Police, DSW and security companies.

The second prong is the realisation of social responsibility, through working with various local forums.

The UIP would then supplement services offered, such as cleaning and landscaping and security, and finally, marketing of the area, including events and a social media component.

“We would have service level agreements with eThekwini Municipality to hold departments accountable to any complaints and there will be a reaction vehicle, security street patrol officers, supervisors and around 60 Ambassadors operating in the area. There will also be a social development side to deal with social challenges such as prostitution and vagrancy,” he said.

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Lamble broke down the financial implications of the proposed UIP, stating the Draft Plan would work on a five year projection, with the total budget for the first year being R3 697 498, which would escalate each year.

“This will mean an 18 per cent increase in rates for businesses, and we will need around R520 per month per R1 million of property value from each business, so it will depend on the municipal value. This is also open to discussion. We will have to go through the process and the approval of the business plan is crucial. We are asking businesses to please support this project as it will make a massive difference. We can take the BCIP up ten more levels with the UIP,” he said.

Interested individuals who would like to be part of the project can contact Heather Rorick on 074 203 2792.

Lauren Walford

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Meeting to discuss Glenwood UIP