a Word from our Chair

Dear Observatory residents and businesses

There couldn’t be a more important time to join and get involved in your Civic to have a say in matters that affect you. We know, for example, that the owners of the River Club continue to claim falsely in the press that the opposition to the River Club is just from “a small group of people” when there is widespread opposition to his development.  This is simply a repeat of his claims that a “handful of residents” are delaying his development, when, in fact, opposition has been voiced by more than 60 First Nation groups, Civic Associations and NGOs across Cape Town as well as close to 20 000 people who have signed our petition(please add your signature if not already there and please tick the box to received updates which we provide regularly).

But Jody Aufrichtig isn’t the only powerful interest who, when confronted by a vocal Civic defending the interests of the community, resorts to discrediting community voice by claiming the Civic has small numbers. See today’s account of the Liquor License Appeal against the Springbok Pub trading in their back courtyard, where the bar owner’s lawyer tried in the Appeal to discredit our appeal because we only had 120 members and used that to imply the OCA was not representative of the community. Of course, one can’t judge a Civic’s representivity based on the proportion of those who join, since we have many people who support our campaigns and activities who are not members. But it certainly helps to fight predatory and powerful forces who want to get their own way in Observatory if we have more members, so I am urging everyone to renew membership if you are existing members, and to become members if you are not yet members of the Civic. The Civic is only as strong as the community support it commands, so please do join and please do attend the AGM on 24thNovember at 6pm.

Full instructions of how to do this simple sign up are to be found HERE. The OCA AGM to be held on 24 November 2020 at 6pm as virtual AGM on Zoom.

But the River Club campaign is not the only activity for the OCA – there are many actions for which we would welcome your involvement:

  1. Our Social Issues group has to engage over liquor licenses on a regular basis, and the article on the Springbok pub application shows how important this is.
  2. Our Architecture and Heritage Group has to comment on frequent building applications in Observatory and really would benefit from involvement from Obs residents with experience in this field and passionate about preserving the character of the suburb.
  3. We are working with the Obs residents to build a stronger relationship with businesses in the area and marketing of services and vendors – we should buy local where we can.
  4. With the Obs CAN we are continuing to provide nutrition support to the homeless and vulnerable populations in Obs, and are working with OBSID in support of the initiative for supported housing being implemented with Streetscapes, which is showing very positive early results.
  5. OBSID is also partnering with OCA to think through better use of public spaces, following their survey, an important finding of which was the importance that Obs residents attach to the River – for running, walking and recreation with family and friends (human and canine).
  6. There are also many opportunities to take up issues you feel strongly about. For example, we have long spoken about the need for better walkability in Obs and some residents are passionate about ensuring non-motorised transport gets a fair deal in our urban planning projects. So, if you are interested in these issues, please volunteer and OCA will find a place for this.
  7. Although our approaches to the City for a consultative precinct plan for the Malta Park – Hartleyvale area have not been responded to, we are still committed to this process. The Malta Park – Hartleyvale area is zoned Open Space, but is increasingly being privatised through lease agreements made by the City without consultation with the Community. If you want to get involved here, please let us know. Better still, join and attend the AGM.

Our AGM this year will be virtual. There will be no speakers but one novel development will be first occasion of an Annual Award the OCA will make to an Environmental or Heritage Consultant with Integrity (EHCI). This award, the first we are aware of in Civic life, will be made to an individual or group who has demonstrated singular willingness to speak the truth and ensure that professional and science criteria determine what they put into an assessment report. Come to our AGM to discover who the award will be given to in 2020 ….

Warm Regards
Leslie London – OCA Chair