MINUTES FOR THE MEETING OF THE 20th NOVEMBER 2019
MINUTES FOR THE MONTHLY PUBLIC MEETING OF THE
NEW KILLARNEY-RIVIERA ASSOCIATION
HELD AT SHOP 56 OF THE KILLARNEY MALL
ON WEDNESDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2019 AT 17H00
PRESENT: Wayne Ford (Killarney Village); Carmen Roets (Dumbarton Oaks); Charles Whyte (Beverley Heights); Colin Froneman (Chartwell); Dalien Rutenberg (Glenhof); Eleanor Huggett (Ward Councillor); Floh Thiele (La Carmague); Jaco le Roux (Chartwell); Julie Wilson (Killarney Hills); Melissa Davidson (Park Avenue); Mike Kalk (Brenthurst Court); Tim Davies (Chartwell); Tony Mantle (Gleneagles); Vasanthi Diar (Mentone Court); Vivienne Cobbett (Biarritz); Zeenat Ghoor (St John’s Wood).
Wayne welcomed everyone to the meeting.
2. APOLOGIES RECEIVED
Dean Dada (RCS Security); Dimitri Clayton (Brenthurst Court); Ruth Kuper (Gleneagles); Margaret Urban (Hanover Gate); Harry Rutenberg (Seven Oaks).
3. DISCUSSION OF TIME CONSTRAINT
• We will strive to keep the discussions short and relevant, so as to finish by 6pm.
4. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
• The Minutes of the previous meeting were taken as read, and were approved.
5. SECURITY FEEDBACK / SECTOR CRIME FORUM
• Sergeant Mdlolo did not attend, and no crime statistics have yet been received.
• We have appealed to the chairman of the Hillbrow Community Policing Forum to assist us to get back our SAPS Sector Patrol car, which seems to have been allocated elsewhere. We will also ask the SAPS to conduct registration checks on the growing number of car guards who are now making a living in Killarney these days, as some of them are potentially illegal.
• Our efforts to obtain information about the Mall’s future development plans have been blocked by the municipal planning officials on grounds of confidentiality. At their suggestion we have applied to obtain this information via the PAIA process. We have not received any feedback from them thus far.
• The security situation is getting steadily worse in the block of 2nd Street between Killarney Avenue and 2nd Avenue. We now have regular groups of people illegally drinking alcohol, along with litter and urinating and noise. Some of them work there as illegal car washers and car guards, but others are residents in Killarney buildings, where they may be employed or perhaps are ordinary tenants. These gatherings can grow on occasion to groups of 20 or more people. We are concerned that this issue, if left unchecked, might degenerate further to match the problem we now have at the illegal taxi rank in 1st Street, and we need to resolve it before it gets any worse.
• It has therefore been suggested that we should expand our very-successful Safe Zones Project to the intersection of 2nd Ave and 2nd Street. This involves putting private-sector security guards on the streets as a highly-visible “bobby on the beat”, backed up by armed response, and supported by a high-quality camera. The vision is that one day every block and street will be covered by a Safe Zone, and then the criminals will have nowhere left to operate. This is working well so far, and a number of Safe Zones are currently functioning well in Killarney. Each Safe Zone is arranged, controlled and paid for by the buildings in the immediate vicinity who will benefit from that specific project. However private security guards have no legal authority on a public road, so we will still need the police and JMPD to support them on a case by case basis.
• One guard can protect a stretch of about one “building” along in four directions from the central point, so a guard at this intersection will directly benefit each of Dukes Court, Gleneagles, Dumbarton Oaks and Brenthurst Court along two of their boundaries. The cost next year would be about R15,000-odd per month for a 12 hour shift, with VAT, and perhaps slightly less for a shorter shift. If the cost is shared between those four buildings, it will be about R3,800 per month each. If fewer buildings buy in, then the cost per building will obviously be higher.
• The meeting agreed that the NKRA could pay for the camera, if a building is prepared to host it and provide the electricity etc required.
• An important factor is the matter of having trained guards to operate and monitor the camera. This adds further to the cost. It was proposed that the camera could perhaps be monitored and operated by the RCS trained operator at the Daventry Court building, who already operates the 1st Street camera, provided we can find a way to send the footage to that building.
• There is obviously no guarantee that this project will be successful. However the chances of success are better in the early days, and virtually nil once the problem has taken firm root, so the sooner we act the better our chances will be.
• At the same time 3rd Street is increasingly being used as a holding area by Uber drivers, some of whom unfortunately leave litter and urinate at the roadside. It was suggested that affected buildings repaint the no-parking zones across their driveways, and that cameras might help to identify misbehaving drivers. If we have evidence, then Uber may well intervene in terms of the internal codes of conduct which they have with their drivers. Uber is under a lot of pressure globally, and cannot really afford to get a bad name in Johannesburg.
• An additional Safe Zone might be required in 3rd Street in future, if we are unsuccessful in managing the Uber drivers and the illegal car washers etc.
• It was suggested that we should buy additional pavement dustbins, as the “free” dustbins are only provided if a sponsor can be found to advertise on the bins. We will need to get quotes, and we will need to consult with the buildings in the high-litter areas.
• It was again noted that we have previously approached the Vumacam organisation to research their services, and it was found that their cameras are not as good as the NKRA mobile camera, their functionality is not as flexible, we would still have to retain our own security company to monitor the camera feeds, and their costs were very high in comparison. However we will get an updated quote from Vumacam, and see if their service has perhaps developed further since the last time they came to speak with us.
• Our application to join the project where residents provide JMPD with a car, in exchange for having two officers dedicated to Killarney, is still under consideration by JMPD. We have not been given any date for the completion of this process. Cllr Huggett was once again asked to follow up on this for us.
• All residents are asked to take photos of JMPD cars and personnel, whenever you notice them not doing their job. It has been proved that JMPD responds faster when we have video evidence.
• It was again noted that the City is aware of the large population of homeless people living on the motorway embankments, but that they cannot legally relocate the people because the alternative accommodation is all full.
• Floh reported back that the Hillbrow Community Policing Forum will have its AGM on Wednesday 11 December. Killarney needs to send four delegates, with official mandates to vote on our behalf. The nomination forms are being arranged. The CPF is the best-placed organisation to help us to get improved services from the SAPS, so it is important that we should participate and support them too.
• Sgt Mdlolo can be contacted on 071 675 6000. Please call her directly if there is any problem requiring the SAPS.
• When you notice a problem developing with a street party or similar, please first call the City emergency hotline on 011 375 5911 and ask the operator to log a call for you. Don’t let them just transfer you to JMPD, make sure they first log a call for you with a reference number. If JMPD don’t thereafter arrive within about 30 minutes, then contact the Councillor with your reference number and ask her to chase JMPD for service.
• Councillor Huggett can be contacted by the community at any time, by SMS or WhatsApp, on 071 785 8068.
6. FEEDBACK FROM COUNCILLORS
• The councillor reported that a new mayor has not yet been elected by the Council. Once the new mayor is in office, they will adjust their mayoral committee, and then we can try to get better municipal services from the new people.
• We will attempt to communicate our concerns regarding the poor municipal services to senior DA official Mike Moriarty, in the hopes of seeing an improvement.
• The councillor was also asked to follow up on the progress with the City’s promised deployment of 1500 additional JMPD officers.
• The councillor reported that she gets good support from the Hillbrow Community Policing Forum.
7. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
• It was resolved to hold the annual Community Picnic on Sunday 8 December this year, and to avoid the long weekend as it is too late in the year. Wayne was authorised to obtain the permissions from City Parks, and to arrange for the jumping castle (R800 including delivery and collection). Marketing the event is the biggest challenge, and the help of all members and residents is requested.
• Wayne gave feedback on the progress with our Spring Plan for the gardens in the park.
• City Parks has finally repaired the urinals in the ablution block, but more work is required. We also have some dripping taps along the fence, and the tap at the drinking fountain needs to be replaced as well. A quality plumber has given a quote of R2,864 to fix it all. The meeting resolved unanimously to proceed with this work. Wayne was authorised to action the implementation, and make the payments.
• In the past few weeks Nolicent has done a lot of work in the park. This includes:
? trimmed the creepers a lot, and dug quite a lot of weed out of the lawns, although many more weeds still need to be removed;
? transplanted many soft plants away from the bases of trees where they were not thriving, into other areas;
? relocated the compost heap;
? expanded the paved area outside the ablution block, and planted some new grass around this area as well;
? placed extra paving stones on the pavement in 2nd Ave, to help pedestrians to cross over the future ivy beds;
? planted a lot of new plants and bushes at both gates, using plants that were donated to the park by residents;
? planted a lot of new seeds;
? continued with his vegetable garden.
• We will shortly start planting extra ivy on the 2nd Ave pavement.
• We are also propagating a number of hardy and water-wise yucca, to be planted as a protective hedge behind the drinking fountain to protect those softer plants against soccer balls.
• The weeds on the traffic islands in 4th Ave will be cleared regularly.
• The gate at the 2nd Ave end is very wobbly, and the foundations of the gate-posts seem to have been damaged. A proper repair will soon become necessary.
• We continue to ask for donations of seeds, and hardy shrubs & trees, as well as for any extra ideas and suggestions.
• JRA have not yet done any of the requested pavement repairs in Killarney. We have managed to find a supplier of asphalt and brick paving repairs, who has given us a quote of R24,600. This will cover repairing only the major issues on the pavements of 4th Ave, Riviera Road and 2nd Ave, which carry a lot of pedestrian traffic. The full quotation will be attached to the minutes. We will try to get this done before the year-end shut-down, if possible.
• If we are happy with the service, then a second phase repair project will be undertaken in the New Year, to fix all other pavements as well – to the extent that funds permit.
• The meeting resolved unanimously to proceed with this first-phase project. Wayne was authorised to action the implementation, and to make the payments.
• However this is a large project, and not all member buildings were represented at this meeting. We therefore ask that if any member building objects to us undertaking this project, please would they communicate their concerns as soon as possible. We would like to have these pavements fixed before Christmas if at all possible.
• It was noted that some pavements get very messy very quickly, especially around the taxi rank. In the New Year we will look at hiring an additional sweeper to assist with that problem. Sponsors will be most welcome please. Meanwhile, all buildings are again asked to help with this problem as best they can, as a litter-strewn pavement seems to attract even more litter. If each building keeps its own pavements and gutters free of litter and weeds at all times, then the entire area will look much better all the time.
• It was suggested that we should ask for a further raised pedestrian crossing in 3rd Street, at the corner of Killarney Ave, as a lot of cars don’t both to stop at the stop-street, and this poses some danger to unseen persons crossing Killarney Avenue just around the corner. This idea will be considered in January. Speed-humps and raised crossings are very expensive, especially in wide roads like 3rd Street, and the amount of government admin involved is enormous.
• Please would all residents continue to report problems on roads and pavements to the JRA at http://www.jra.org.za/find-and-fix-mobile-app, or call 011 375 5555. Please keep the reference numbers for follow-up.
• Please also use the number 0860 562 874 to report all road and pavement-related problems to the municipality. This includes all cases of rubble being dumped on pavements, potholes in roads or pavements, road signs in need of repair, streetlights not working, blocked storm-drains, or traffic lights out of order. You can also report all of these issues to the call centre hotline number – 080 872 3342. Please keep the reference numbers for follow-up.
8. FINANCE AND MEMBERSHIP
• Park Avenue has joined the NKRA since the last meeting. We welcome our new member!
• The revenue received by the NKRA for the last 12 months was about R53,000 and we have had 28 member buildings this year – slightly less than half of the 60-odd buildings in our area. We thank our residents and their trustees for their generous support, and we hope that we can rely on their support for the year ahead as well, in spite of the recession. Because membership is purely voluntary we always plan very conservatively for future projects, but if this level of support is repeated then we can obviously do much more.
• With the pavement repair projects, the security camera projects and the street cleaning projects all looming, the demands on our finances next year will be steep. Nonetheless, we can look back on a good and productive year, and hopefully we can look ahead to another good and productive year as well.
• The “champion” for dealing with the shot-hole borer beetle that is affecting Johannesburg’s trees, is Glenda Wheeler. Cllr Huggett will send us her contact details.
• A mature jacaranda tree toppled in 2nd Ave, and fell across the road onto the Whitehall Court building. The tree was outwardly healthy, and gave no indication of impending doom. Once again this is a warning to us that these trees need proper management, and that we will again need to persuade City Parks to do thorough pruning – in particular of the tall thick older branches, which are quite rigid and don’t really flex in the wind. It can cost around R9,000 each or more to prune a large mature tree, and we probably have about sixty or more mature jacarandas on our pavements and in the park, so if we want to retain these glorious trees for a few more decades, we might need to “assist” City Parks to fund a suburb-wide pruning of jacarandas.
The meeting was closed, with Holiday Wishes to all,
and with thanks to the Killarney Mall for hosting our meeting.
There is no public meeting planned for December, due to the holidays.
Our next public meeting will be held on
WEDNESDAY 15 JANUARY 2020 at 5pm
PLEASE PASS ON THESE MINUTES TO OTHER RESIDENTS IN YOUR BUILDINGS
JMPD call centre hotline number – 080 872 3342
JMPD Control Room – 011 758 9620
City emergency hotline on 011 375 5911
SAPS patrol van – 071 675 6001
If you get no response from the patrol van, please call 10111
Councillor Huggett – by SMS or WhatsApp – 071 785 8068