What a year 2016 was. On all fronts!
We’d like to give you a quick summary of some of the successes and challenges of 2016, and look ahead to our plans for 2017.
1. DATES TO DIARISE
First public meeting 2017
Tuesday 21 Feb
Melville Junction Church, 5 Sunbury Avenue
2. SUCCESSES OF 2016
Widespread use of the Whatsapp street groups for important community information
In addition to the large AP Whatsapp group, we now have 16 street Whatsapp groups with almost 300 members.
We have street admins for almost all the streets who communicate directly with residents, and provide a liaison between the APRA committees and the residents.
We need volunteers street admins for First Avenue, Sunbury, Clieveden and Chiselhurst, so do let us know if you’d like to start one on your street, or join an existing group.
Improved security in Auckland Park
We are pleased to note that crime figures for Auckland Park have come down in the last several months (stats from ADT and SAPS). This is despite the perception created on social media that incidents are up. It is the presence of social media that in fact creates this perception (ie we are talking more about crime on various public forums so we get the impression that it is on the increase).
We have consolidated our MOU with ADT and continue to meet with them weekly in order to ensure good service delivery and the regular addressing of residents’ concerns.
We now have a 24/7 dedicated security vehicle for Auckland Park.
ADT has allocated part of their 2017 budget to pilot a License Recognition Camera project for Auckland Park.
We continue to campaign for households to sign up to ADT in order to improve overall security for the area and a unified approach to fighting crime.
We have established close ties with Brixton SAPS and meet with them on a weekly basis to discuss problems and strategies.
We now have Community Policing Forum (CPF) patrols in Auckland Park.
PLEASE NOTE: there have been several incidents in the last two months in which non-ADT residents have called the patrol vehicle to investigate incidents at their houses. ADT may not enter the house of a resident with whom they do not have a contract, and so we would ask non-ADT clients to keep this in mind. The patrol vehicle may be called to crime events in public areas and to the homes of ADT clients only.
Successful campaign to have the COJ reconsider the proposed pedestrian bridge at Campus Square.
After several stakeholder meetings, APRA and various interested parties managed to persuade the COJ to consider a proper street-level solution for the pedestrian and vehicle traffic problems at the Campus Square intersection (a more progressive and less expensive option).
Second Saturday clean up days implemented
APRA launched and held successful Second Saturday clean up days throughout the year. These were a good opportunity to clean up the streets and meet neighbours. We hope to continue these in 2017.
Kingston Frost Park Fun Run/Walk
The run/walk has started small, but we look forward to the growth of this community initiative in 2017.
Mapping of heritage sites in Auckland Park
Heritage sites in Auckland Park are now part of an official heritage map for the Corridors of Freedom zones.
3. CHALLENGES OF 2016
Loss of several committee members
We have lost 3 APRA committee members this year. We have co-opted people to replace these members, but will hold an election in 2017 to instal new office bearers. Since the current committee ends its term in October 2017 we are hoping that these new members will provide continuity for the next three-year term.
Inability to keep up with new developments, rezoning and building in Auckland Park
This remains an enormous challenge that we hope to address in 2017. Since AP is in the Corridors of Freedom precinct, we are subject to many applications for rezoning and development. We have found that we simply do not have the financial and human resources to challenge developments that we are opposed to and so we hope to find ways to address this going forward. We desperately need community involvement here, and we may also need to consider subscription fees for members in order to pay for appropriate legal advice for some cases.
4. SOME OF OUR PLANS FOR 2017
A more comprehensive approach to development in Auckland Park, which involves the formulation of a ‘Vision for Auckland Park’ manifesto and plan.
Greater community involvement in various initiatives (clean up days, public meetings, fun runs, etc).
Ongoing and increased communication and cooperation with various public and private stakeholders in the area (UJ, SABC, Campus Square, SAPS etc).
More comprehensive approach to the management of communes in the area.
More student involvement in community initiatives.
To achieve all of the above, we need YOU. If you can help in any way in 2017, especially in relation to development, planning and heritage, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a wonderful festive season. Travel safely. Return refreshed.
With thanks and warm wishes,