PLANS to declare Richmond Hill Nelson Mandela Bay's first special ratings area (SRA) where property owners pay additional rates for security or cleansing programmes are still forging ahead.
At a public meeting held at the Westbourne Oval last night, residents were again informed about the benefits the area would receive once it formed the special Section 21 company which would be responsible for making the decisions about the upkeep of the area.
The new approach to urban renewal which various suburbs countrywide – especially in Johannesburg and Cape Town – have adopted will see residents paying rates over and above their municipal rates, which will be collected and administered by the people in the SRA through the Section 21 company.
The projects carried out, such as security, maintenance or cleaning, would be paid for out of the special rates kitty.
Mandela Bay Development Agency [MBDA] chief executive Pierre Voges, who again explained the concept to residents, said it had already been successfully carried out in 31 areas.
"We need about 700 property owners to agree, so far we have had 400," he said.
The initiative would allow residents to take ownership of their neighbourhood as many were not happy with the poor municipal service delivery, he said.
Voges said any property owner could write to a board of directors, which would be established, suggesting a project. The board would look at proposals and decide which was the most important.
"In Cape Town, they found that in areas where SRAs were already established, the city actually works harder. Other suburbs like Charlo and Summerstrand have already expressed interest, but we believe that Richmond Hill is the best place to start," he said.