Unhappiness over possible relocation of Paint City homeless people

The refugees at Bellville Paint City. File Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

The refugees at Bellville Paint City. File Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

Published Nov 21, 2023


Cape Town - The City of Cape Town’s intention to have the Paint City Safe Space relocated to nearby areas in Bellville by 2026, has residents and organisations up in arms.

The City recently announced two shortlisted sites identified in its “Bellville Future City” plans, where close to 300 homeless people currently living in Paint City, could possibly be relocated to.

One of the proposed sites is located on the corner of Smal and Rhos Streets, Boston, while the second is located on the corner of De Lange and Kort Streets, Bellville.

The City said: “The change in location of the Paint City Safe Space facility is due to the current site being required for much-needed road upgrades in the Bellville CBD, including, an extension of Church Street and an extension of Reed Street.

“The road upgrades form part of the future plans for Bellville, as captured in the draft local spatial development framework (LSDF) for the Bellville CBD.

“The project requires a new road link connecting Church Street and Reed Street and this extension will cut through the existing site of the Paint City Safe Space – thus, prompting the relocation of the facility,” the City said.

However, the proposal spurred some unhappy reviews.

Derek Bock, COO of the Voortrekker Corridor Improvement District (VRCID) said many organisations have taken a stance against the suggestion, referring to the move as another Strandfontein waiting to happen.

“The City first identified 16 sites, then it whittled them down to four and now we have two. The sites are located on parking lots, both slap-bang in the middle of Bellville.

“Everyone is up in arms because there was also no correspondence or public participation before the City came up with this proposal,” Bock said.

It also added to the many social problems along the corridor, he said.

The Boston City Improvement District manager, Jean Beukman, said that while they are not against homeless people, they are against the City’s decision. “First, I must say, the CID has nothing against homeless people, we often work with them, it’s about the way the City is going about this.”

Beukman added that the City also came with a nonchalant attitude with the public participation.

“On the website you can either vote for one of the two sites, they do not give an option to reject the proposal.

“It’s almost as if to say, this is what we are giving you, finish and klaar,” he said.

Beukman suggested that the City should re-look the open space under the Tienie Meer bridge, which also housed a safe space.

Comments are encouraged and the closing date is December 8.

The public can comment on the City’s website or submit their views by hand at the Subcouncil 6 office in Voortrekker Road, or the Bellville Library, Carl van Aswegen Street, Bellville.

[email protected]

Cape Argus