Good infrastructure is more important than ever and a serious shift to public transport is essential over the next 10 years, says Andrew Boraine, CE of the Cape Town Partnership.
He was addressing over 250 delegates at the Partnership’s tenth AGM in Cape Town, themed ‘Life after 2010’ (Thursday 29 October).
It was essential to ensure that grants from central government reached the city and transport infrastructure continued to be developed, especially given concerns about future congestion, energy, pollution and environmental costs.
“Every city goes through post-event city blues and it’s important to talk now about post- 2010,” he said. Cape Town should constantly be finding ways to communicate that it has a vision, is open for business and is addressing the challenges it faces.
“The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system is the one project that can integrate our divided city in a relatively short space of time. I see an instantly recognizable network of red bus lanes criss-crossing the city and connecting all communities.”
He added however, that any form of public transport would only be sustainable if low density urban sprawl was addressed.
He said the Cape Town Airport upgrade was one of the 2010 legacies that would have the biggest long-term impact. “I was very impressed on a recent visit and predict that this facility, with 80 shops (including CNA and Woolworths) will ensure the airport will become a destination for Capetonians even if they are not flying anywhere. And it will provide worthy first impressions for our visitors.”
Cape Town would also boast one of the first airports in the world with an outside public plaza, with the BRT system only 30 metres away.
Another exciting project was the city water project, known as Reclaim Camissa, focusing on linking Table Mountain to the sea through harnessing the storm water infrastructure. In a few weeks’ time, Central City Improvement District and Cape Town Partnership representatives would walk from St Cyprians School through the storm water system to explore where water is channeled underground, and to discuss how to reclaim the city’s water heritage.
Another key issue was the management, maintenance and marketing of public space, which was “inadequate” at this stage. Cape Town’s vision was to become the best long-haul destination in the world by 2020 and a post-2010 strategy focusing on events – particularly cultural, in addition to traditional sports events – was key.
He added that while the non-residential property market was expected to pick up only in 2011, many new developments were already taking place. The Granary building upgrade and the adjoining District Six Homecoming Centre would be important nodes in the proposed East City Design Initiative project.
Buildings needed to be filled with people, businesses and activities and he advised on the need for a stronger and more consistent city vision. Valuable research, with good recommendations, was sometimes ignored and there needed to be a greater focus on the development of a strong city business brand: “When are we going to be known for our R&D, technology and business products and not only our penguins, whales and a flat piece of rock?”
He said the global recovery would come from India and China, while the Brazilian connection had a lot of interest for Cape Town.
“We require an even greater commitment to working together in partnership. One can walk apart, behind or together. What path are we choosing as a city? This will determine if there’s life after 2010.”