What are City Improvement Districts (CIDs)?
The increased demand on municipalities for infrastructure and services has not been matched by incoming revenue. In many cases this has led to reduced services on the ground which, if left unchecked, would ultimately lead to degeneration and urban decay; clearly an unacceptable situation for property owners.
Legislation makes provision for the establishment of section 21 companies to work hand-in-hand with local authorities in supplementing the basic services offered by municipalities.
What’s the status of Woodstock?
The establishment of the Woodstock Improvement District (WID) received Cape Town City Council approval in July 2005.
Its core responsibilities are:
- To supplement and enhance the basic services offered by the City of Cape Town
- To facilitate a cooperative approach between the city and private sector in the provision of municipal services
- To facilitate the upliftment of distressed business and mixed-use areas
- To promote economic growth and sustainable development
- To facilitate investment.
How is the WID funded?
A levy over and above the existing property rates is charged by the City of Cape Town on all business properties within Woodstock. This levy, expressed as cents in the Rand, is based on the municipal valuation of the property and is payable by all property owners.
These funds are paid over to the WID, which in turn operates according to an approved business plan and budget.
Who administers the WID?
The section 21 company (Registration number 2006/015254/08) comprises a minimum of two directors representing commercial property owners.
Day-to-day operations are carried out by a contracted management company based at offices at 41 Victoria Road Trafalgar House Woodstock. This company is overseen by the board of directors. The current board of directors include:
- Elad Kirshenbaum Chairperson, Security & Spokesperson
- Edmund Ronné Security & Cleansing
- Mike Vietri Administration & Finance
- Sharon Rohm
- Mark Seidel
- Mukhtar Joonas
How was the WID started?
Officially promulgated in July 2005, the Woodstock Improvement District (WID) had its real birth almost three years earlier when several local business leaders – among them Vince van der Bijl, Edmund Ronné and Tanya Oliver – initiated the Woodstock Upliftment Project which subsequently led to the establishment of a business forum.
The business forum was concerned primarily with establishing safe routes for commuters between the rail station and their places of employment. But with growing support and input from City Council the decision to initiate the process of establishing a fully-fledged city improvement district began.
Today the WID has been operational for almost six years and the positive results are there for all to see. Woodstock is rapidly regaining its rightful place as a desirable place to live, work and play.
Situated on the eastern periphery of Cape Town central business district alongside the N1 and N2 highways and with abundant public transport, Woodstock is a delight for resident and commuter alike. Commercial space is at a premium as more and more businesses look to set up in the area.
The swing from a manufacturing focus to more service related has seen a shift in the type of businesses establishing in Woodstock. And while there are a few greenfields projects, developers are maintaining the links with the past and projects like the Old Biscuit Mill are functional monuments to the area’s rich heritage.
The WID – funded entirely by levies on industrial and commercial property owners – has expanded its initial mandate of cleaning and greening to include social upliftment activities in the area. The employment of a qualified full-time social worker is seen as yet another positive step in returning Woodstock to its former glory.
The success of the WID has not gone unnoticed and leaders from Salt River and Observatory are now in discussions to investigate the likelihood of setting up improvement districts within their geographical areas.