Circular Update to MembersMay 15, 2022
Vigilance and ScrutinyJuly 31, 2022
The letters below are in response to the increasing problem of vagrancy, litter and crime around Signal Hill. The Ratepayers’ are calling for an expedited remedy to this unsatisfactory situation.
13 May 2022
Dear Mayor Swart,
We thank you for your response to our letter dated 18 April 2022. We write you again, this time in your mayoral capacity, with regard to ERF 156 below Signal Hill.
According to the neighbours, no proposals have been forthcoming from the owner of Erf 156 regarding the illegal structure. Considering that the structure is in contravention of bylaws, building regulations, zoning and is structurally unsound, it would be challenging to understand the basis upon which the Council and the ratepayers would entertain further proposals for its repurposing.
Given the mounting challenges associated with the site, the neighbouring residents and the ratepayers are pressing for the enforcement of the demolition.
The demolition specifications have already been written for the previous tender and merely require updating, so this should be an expeditious process.
The cost of the demolition will go against the owner of the property, so there should be no need to wait for the new budget year.
Please advise the status and timeline of your demolition plan and expedite the remedy to this pressing and unsatisfactory situation.
From: Executive Mayor David John Swart
Sent: 28 April 2022 02:00 PM
To: Peter Gaylard
Subject: RE: Signal Hill view site squatters
Hello Mr Gaylard
The owners of Erf 156 did in fact use the services of a private security company to clear the vagrants from the property around the 8 April 2022. I understand that they have placed security on the premises to prevent re-occupation.
They have also indicated a willingness to move away from the idea of a Boutique Hotel to something more acceptable to the other owners in the area and I understand are having discussions with them around this.
Once an agreement is reached with the neighbours I understand that the owner of erf156 will then resubmit a proposed plan to our town planning department for processing.
Dave Swart | Executive Mayor | Ward 2 Councillor | Bitou Municipality
From: Plett Rate Payers
Sent: 18 April 2022 10:09 AM
To: Executive Mayor Dave Swart (email@example.com)
Subject: Signal Hill view site squatters
Dear Councillor Swart,
We have received several complaints from members who live near Signal Hill in regard to the vagrants on public land and ongoing unlawful activities on Erf 156 which are not only unlawful but pose real security and health risks.
We also understand from neighbours that there has been a spike in criminal activity in the area, using vagrants as cover.
We are informed that the MLEs have tried to deal with the problems but unfortunately their best efforts have to date not been effective. It is felt that the problem centers on ERF 156 which provides a convenient shelter and bolt hole. The owners of Erf 156 are clearly not concerned about the situation and as long as the ruined building remains it is unlikely that law and order will be re-established.
As an urgent interim solution, we request that the municipality give the owners of Erf 156 notice to urgently secure the property against invasion and that the demolition of the structure now be treated with the utmost urgency.
We attach photographs taken on the morning of 14 April from which it is evident that the unlawful activities are long running and will certainly detract from the attractiveness of Plett’s prime view site.
Please keep us in the loop as to what action will be taken and when so that we can respond to members’ enquiries.