UPPER HOUGHTON ASSOCIATION Incorporating the Upper Houghton Residents‟ Association PO Box: 1367 Houghton 2041 c/o 17 Elm Street Houghton Email: UHRA@eesa.co.za Tel: + 27 11 447 4229 Fax: + 27 11 447 7137 www.upperhoughton.org.za MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING THURSDAY 25 OCTOBER 2007 Chairperson: Jemima McDonnell APOLOGIES: P. Stuart S. Pellerade B. Shorkend H. Schneider K. & T. Poivesan H. & H. Edeling 1. CHAIRPERSON‟S REPORT Jemima McDonnell welcomed and thanked members and guests for attending the meeting. There were no changes to the Minutes of the previous AGM. McDonnell advised that Membership fees for 2008 have been increased as follows: Private: Owner/Resident/Tenant – Annual Fee: R625 Business: Small Business up to 3 people – Annual Fee: R750 Larger Business more than 3 people – Annual Fee: R875 Institutions, Schools etc – Annual Fee R1 750 Applications for development in the Upper Houghton area continue to be submitted. These have been assessed according to whether they are acceptable within the terms of the Neighbourhood Development Framework. They continue to be monitored by Helga Schneider the Association‟s Town Planning consultant. The issue of the “Death Bend” development continues. The UHA cannot come to an agreement with the developers. The appeal hearing should have taken about a year, it has now been fast tracked and will be held on 28 November, four months since the appeal was submitted! 2. SECURITY REPORT 2.1 REPORT BY SAPS HILLBROW Sergeant Botha has been appointed the new Sector Manager of Upper Houghton. He can be contact directly during the day on 076 050 9491. He advised that the emergency number 10111 is still in effect however, should Residents get no response or should they experience difficulties during the day they should contact Sgt. Botha directly. A security meeting covering Killarney and Upper Houghton precincts is held on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 18h00 at the Nedcor Building in Killarney. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss and try and address security issues in these areas. Sgt Botha asked if Upper Houghton could send one or two representatives to these meetings. McDonnell advised that one member of the Committee would attend and asked for a representative from Residents. Cindy Came kindly agreed to represent Residents at these meetings. 2.2 REPORT BY 24/7 – DAVID DE LIMA De Lima advised that the following statistics were specific only to incidents that 24/7 were directly involved in. Serious offences (October 2006 to October 2007) 3 incidents of armed robbery (use of violence) 11 arrests: including people involved in attempted house break-ins, robbing of KES students, attempted motor vehicle theft 3 house break-ins 6 incidents of hi-jacking and attempted hi-jacking in St Patrick and St David Rd 3 motor vehicle thefts 2 attempted vehicle thefts 2 stolen vehicles were found in the area. Overall there has been a 20% improvement over last year. De Lima believes that Upper Houghton is a relatively safe area particularly taking into account the perceived surrounding areas/boundaries. Have the 3 schools and many Resident‟s participating – from the security perspective the area seems to be in a strong situation. 24/7 has increased guarding manpower – there is now a day guard from Monday to Friday South of St Patrick Rd, going up Elm to Louis Botha and that block. Participation of Residents subscribing to 24/7 has increased significantly. T.J de Klerk congratulated 24/7 on expanding security to the Roedean area. Cindy Came queried usage of dedicated vehicles. De Lima advised that if a robbery is reported and in progress they will pull vehicles from other surrounding areas if necessary. CAP Project Lower Houghton: McDonnell advised that the financial implication of putting the CAP project together is immense. It is a good initiative but at a massive premium. All activities are sponsored – no subscriptions. There are already 2 vehicles in operation. 24/7 is working together with CAP and they are sharing information. CAP is looking at Community Improvement District initiative, Block watches, the role domestic workers play in the security situation etc. McDonnell advised that a block watch does exist in Upper Houghton covering – St Patrick Rd East, St Patrick Rd West, Rose Rd, Munro Drive, St Paul‟s Rd, St Andrew‟s Rd and Young Ave. The block watch exists because of the fact that a representative from each of these roads sits on the Committee. Definitions of armed robbery vs hi-jacking: Armed robbery = no vehicle involved Hi-jacking = involves a vehicle with person in car 2 successful hi-jackings took place outside people‟s driveways. The majority of hi-jackings involve people being followed to their homes, mainly females. If one feels they are being followed, don‟t go home. Sgt Botha advised that hi-jackers usually work on special order. They look for a specific car (make and colour) – they find this car in shopping malls etc, and follow the drivers home. McDonnell asked Residents who subscribe to 24/7 to spearhead efforts to get other Residents to join. 3. WARD COUNCILLORS‟ REPORTS 3.1 COUNCILLOR MARCELLE RAVID (DA) (Ward 73) Contact: 084 355 0826 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Council has not really changed over the last year. Problems still continue – some departments work well, others not. Currently Johannesburg Water and the Johannesburg Road Agency are having problems. When Residents experience problems they must „phone the relative department, log a complaint and get a reference number. If no response is received within a reasonable time the complaint can be escalated and Councillor Ravid should be made aware of the situation via email. Load shedding will continue and will only be for 2 hours at a time. If blackouts continues for longer than 2 hours take this as a power outage. There is not enough power to go around and Residents are asked to assist by turning off geysers etc. This situation will be continuing for a number of years. Ravid advised this situation was a result of a “flopped project” as announced by Minister Erwin. This was later clarified/corrected by Dr Vincent Micali of Dante Alighieri Society (cnr 4th and Houghton Drive), that the problem was a result of the Regulator making an error in 1998. Transport situation: The 2 main developments are the Gautrain and the Bus Rapid Transport System. This bus system will be situated down Oxford Rd. The Mayor recently launched the project. Special buses will be used which will travel down the middle of the road with stations every 500 meters. The transport system will start in Soweto going all the way to Sunninghill. Part of this will be ready by 2010. Property Rates Act (PRA) Government is looking to equalize rates. The new rates are based on land and dwelling value. Need more concrete evidence as to what will happen. Business consent users will not be given rebates – only purely residential properties will be given rebates. An invitation has been issued for the public to attend a series of public meeting to discuss the PRA. Details will be forwarded to McDonnell. Questions/Comments from Residents: TJ de Klerk reported a pile of sand on the pavement on Joe Slovo (Houghton Drive) 200m from the robot at St Patrick Rd on the left traveling south – this should be removed. TJ de Klerk reported that street lights at the corner of Newton Rd and Houghton Drive and at the Munro Drive view-point area have been vandalized. City Power is of no help – the only do repairs, they don‟t do preventative maintenance. 3.2 COUNCILLOR NOMASWAZI MOHLALA (ANC) (Ward 67) Contact: 083 297 2936 Email: email@example.com The Inner City Summit was held on 5 May 2007 at which the Inner City Charter was created, completed and accepted. The Inner City Charter Forum for stakeholders will be launched during the week of 29 October. Most businesses will be involved. The purpose of the Charter will be to speed up service delivery. Region F has formed a Delivery Forum. All cases reported and not attended to and addressed will be elevated to the Director. Pavement problems reported by the Upper Houghton Association have been reported to the necessary authorities. Four subsections have been formed to look at problems with street lights etc and to improve service delivery. Council has launched the underground waste bin system which is being utilized in Yeoville and Joubert Park. Hanging bins have been installed in Yeoville. These cannot be removed and are easily emptied by tipping them. Councillor Mohlala feels that Pick-it-Up has improved over the last few months. The Regional Development Program up to 2008 has been approved. Property Rates Act – Cllr Mohlala will fax details of invitations to various public meetings being held to address the PRA to McDonnell. A “Street Prefect” project has been introduced in Joubert Park and Yeoville, sponsored by the Province. Each street in these areas will have one person in charge – a monitoring function. CID project. Guards wearing green and yellow uniforms have been placed in the Yeoville area concentrating mainly in Rockey Valley – will extend the project as and when Council can. The Yeoville library is to be upgraded and has been give property by City Power. The Wilds: City Parks has established a Wild‟s Management Committee. At the moment this committee is not working well but should improve with time. Should Residents require improvements in the Wilds suggestions should be put forward to Councillor Mohlala via the Upper Houghton Committee. Mc Donnell has been in touch with Oscar Oliphant several times re outstanding issues at The Wilds – to no avail. Mohlala will take these issues up with Oliphant of City Parks. McDonnell to give Mohlala details. Issues include: street lights out at the corner of Newtown Rd and Houghton Drive, street lights out on the Munro at the view point; the palisade fencing needs to be repaired, pile of sand on the pavement opposite the Wild‟s kiosk on Houghton needs to be removed; the Killarney water mains in the Wilds have been leaking for ages etc. J. Woolcott (12 St Paul Rd) raised concern about The Wilds – the UHA is dealing with Oscar Oliphant of City Parks but are getting no action. Need to get answers from Councillor Naidoo (MEC Property) and Mike Moriarty. Work is being done at Peter Roos park in Parktown. If this is a success this could be used as a benchmark for The Wilds. There are no sports facilities in her Ward. They are looking to Council to address this problem. Better Building Project: Residents wanting to renovate properties had to formerly apply to the Housing and Development Council, this has now moved to the Economic Development Council. At this stage there are no terms and references from which to work. 2 Dove Road. Are getting positive responses, have spoken to the TDA who will take this property and make it a transitional property. Councillor Mohlala to keep UHA informed. The Josie Bonds have helped immensely towards bringing revenue to Council. Dividends will be declared on a 3 month basis. Bonds can still be purchased from Standard Bank. Woolcott would like to hear how Johannesburg is using the money raised from the Bonds to improve and build infrastructure. Councillor Mohlala will send details of how the money is being utilized to McDonnell for distribution to Residents. The Mayor has opened a migration department where all immigrants being legal or illegal can get assistance with queries. They will interact with authorities and where possible get assistance with petty crimes. The department is located at CI Cronje Building, cnr Loveday and Bree Streets in Johannesburg. Development on cnr of Houghton and Houghton: McDonnell raised the issue of the development on this property which is going ahead illegally despite the Association having gone the legal route having approached City Council, PHRA-G and SAHRA. It took 3 months for representatives from PHRA-G and SAHRA to go onto site for an inspection. Demolition continues without proper permission. UHA have sent a lawyer‟s letter to SAHRA saying that should there be no response they will be taken to court. Councillor Mohlala requested that all correspondence be sent to her and she will meet with Mrs Adriana Gilhar the immediate neighbour (36 Houghton Drive). Mohlala advised that this falls under the Developing Planning and Transport Department, not under the Housing Department. M. Freeman (1 St John‟s Rd) reported that a street light (pole no.2) on the corner of St John‟s Rd and Fife Str has been out for 6 months. Councillor Mohlala stressed that if Residents needed issues to be addressed they need to liaise with their Ward Councillors. COMMENT FROM ST JOHN‟S COLLEGE: CLIFF MIDGLEY: 1) The corner of Joe Slovo turning into St Andrew Rd is extremely dangerous – numerous accidents happen here which have cost the school a lot of money, and should be addressed in the interests of road safety. They have written to the JRA requesting they change the camber. JRA responded that these accidents are caused by speeding. Midgley requested that the UHA and Councillor Mohlala put pressure on the JRA to change the camber or put up more warning signs. 2) An application has been received from Vodacom to put a transmission tower in the St John‟s Rd precint (between St John‟s and St Andrew‟s Rds). St John‟s has lodged disapproval to this and are negotiating with Vodacom. 3) St John‟s has started an outreach program where they are opening an Academy taking in 25 talented but previously disadvantaged children in the afternoon and teaching them Maths, Science and English. They then go on to write their own exams in their own schools . In 2008 there will be 25 and in 2009 50 children taken in. The school believes that this is a sustainable way that it can use their skills to meaningfully address critical educational issues. The students enrolled will attend afternoon lessons in three subjects for three years and will be given every possible opportunity to excel in Science, Maths and English. The school will be looking for Corporate Sponsors to take successful candidates through tertiary education. (Please direct enquires to Mr Alan Thompson at the school) 4) St John‟s is trying to get approval for a building next to the existing Science block. They are having trouble getting approval of the plans from the Planning department. Midgley requested support from the UHA and Councillor Mohlala in getting approval. Plans are available for inspection. 4. APPLICATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT AND GENERAL DEVLOPMENT ISSUES 4.1 Report received by Helga Schneider – Town Planning Consultant: There have not been that many new applications submitted this year - in fact, less applications have been submitted than in the previous year. Applications are however steadily trickling in, and the pressure is not off Upper Houghton. Most of the new applications have been for increased residential density, above what is allowed in terms of the Neighbourhood Development Framework. There have also been a number of town planning and heritage infringements, with rezoning conditions contravened and illegal demolition of structures, which has been an ongoing problem for a number of years. It has required the ongoing vigilance of the Upper Houghton Association to bring those concerned to book. The Association tries to engage positively with developers, but this is difficult when there is a flagrant disregard for the law. What the Association has done in previous years is to address any issues as and when they have arisen - it is impossible to run through every application. The main issues are: a) Death Bend site (there were 3 hearings, a mountain of evidence was presented to the Board, and the Townships Board has not yet made their final recommendation). The UHA needs to define exactly what the “Ridge” area is and are going to employ the services of a Quantity Survey to define the area. b) The corner of Houghton & Houghton (the site is being developed in accordance with previously approved rights, although the zoning conditions and PHRAG requirements have been contravened - legal action is ongoing). 76 apartments are being built – in line with government‟s policy for densification. Trees over hundred‟s of years have been cut down and the old stone walls have been demolished. All the other applications (e.g. Came/Theron/Baard, McFarlane, Iranian Embassy, open space on Young Avenue - see below), are still in process, and haven't got to their hearings yet. The UHA has objected to the following rezoning applications (only 4 applications): Erven 826, 827, 836 and 838 (open space in Young Avenue) - applying for very high density residential rights. Erven 974 and 975 (McFarlane) - applying for high density residential rights. Erven 976, 2341 and 2372 (Came/Theron/Baard) - applying for high density residential rights. Erven 2237, 2238, 2239 and Erf 19 Mountainview (Iranian Embassy) -applying for high density residential rights. The UHA has commented on the following applications: Erf 2308 (corner of Houghton and Munroe Drives) - commented on the SDP. Portion 1 of Erf 2306 (Dante Alighieri Society, Houghton Drive) Erf 2378 (1 Young Avenue ) - applying for a guest house Erf 1121 (Houghton Drive ) - commented on the SDP Portion 1 of Erf 2431 (Rose Road) - subdividing into 2 portions Roedean application, to regularise their rights St. John's building works Erven 97,98,99 and 100 - applying for home office rights. All of the above are i.t.o. the Framework and are thus supported. 5. HERITAGE SURVEY The Heritage Survey commissioned 2 years ago is now complete. The objective of the Survey is to define the area in Upper Houghton and to declare the area a Heritage Site. Public participation is now needed for final approval of the Survey and to have the area declared a Heritage Site. In the meantime it will be submitted to SAHRA for comment. Once declared a Heritage Site certain management procedures will be put in place. It will not prevent future developments taking place but they will have to fit within the parameters of the Survey. The survey will explain the degree of development and management control. The Survey will be available for perusal and comment at St John‟s, KES and Roedean as well as on the website: www.upperhoughton.org.za between 1 November and 1 December 2007. Residents are encouraged to look at the document and give their comments. It is most comprehensive and worth looking at. Comments must be submitted before 2 December 2007 by email to UHRA@eesa.co.za or by fax to 011 447 4229. Comments must be clearly marked HOUGHTON HERITAGE SITE. A Special General Meeting will be held on Monday 28 January 2008 at King Edward VII School at 17h30 for 18h00 to discuss and finalise the Survey. Details will be circulated to Residents. McDonnell thanked Rocco Bosman and Barlin & Chaskelson Architects for the work and research they did putting the Survey together. C. Batchelor (37 St John Rd) queried how “restrictions” will be enforced. 6. FINANCIAL REPORT The income and expenditure report was tabled. Running expenses exceeded income, however, there were some existing funds to cover these costs. McDonnell advised that Jasper Management Services have been employed to collect fees on behalf of the UHA. The financial year runs from October to September. The AGM and financial year may not coincide. Re-invoicing will commence 1 November 2007. Anne van Dijk (17 St David Rd) , Treasurer, asked Residents to be generous with their donations over and above membership fees. These donations will be used to pay towards the production of the Heritage Survey. C. Midgley proposed a vote of thanks to the Committee and to the Ward Councillors for the work they all do for the area. 7. REPORT ON THE WILDS – T.J. DE KLERK T.J.‟s Contact details: 082 554 9972 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.wildswalk.co.za The Wilds are really looking stunning at the moment. November walks will be held on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. Smash and grab incidents still happen – they swap between Newton and Houghton Drive intersection and the St Patrick and Carse O‟Gowrie robots. Problem with palisade fencing on Houghton Drive is that a lot of damage is done by the number of accidents that occur there. After 2½ year‟s of TJ‟s involvement in The Wilds, there are still 17 issues which have not been addressed. Need City Parks to deal with them not only Ward Councillor Mohlala. These include: Borehole installed is not yet working Mugging incidents – still no guards in the area. Have been no incidents recently – but there have been no visitors recently! Gautrain excavation is occupying the parking area at the kiosk so there is no access to The Wilds. Visitors use the parking area at St John‟s, cnr St Patrick and Joe Slovo (Houghton Drive) The last walk this year will be a “snack” walk, participants can take a picnic lunch. TJ hopes to organize a string quartet. TJ thanked the UHA Committee for the support he and his family have received. McDonnell thanked TJ for the work he has done almost single handedly in turning The Wilds around. She also thanked Cliff Midgley of St John‟s for their support in paying for palisade fencing. 8. ELECTION OF COMMITTEE The existing Committee was unanimously elected. Two new members were welcomed onto the Committee: Mathew Horne and Adriana Gilhar: Committee Members: Jemima McDonnell – Chairperson (happy to continue for one more year) Rocco Bosman Bruce Eccles Adriana Gilhar Jane Henderson Matthew Horne Brenda Randera João Ribeiro Paul Stuart Anne van Dijk Other Residents who continue to assist the Committee are Fabrizio Genovese, Lynn Taylor, Thilo Thormeyer. Johan van Noordwyk now in George still maintains the website. 9. GENERAL McDonnell stressed that Upper Houghton is a unique area and very lucky when one looks at developments going on in other areas such at Sandhurst and Inanda etc which are under immense threat. Bosman advised that Upper Houghton was the first suburb to develop and register a Neighbourhood Development Framework. P. Theron (58 St Patrick) queried the erection of the “advertising” board on The Munro. McDonnell advised that Tilly Wood, the advertiser, had got the go ahead from the Committee and had obtained approval from Council to erect the board. M. Horne (63 St Patrick Rd) advised that he stopped vandals from spray painting the board and had chased them away. McDonnell thanked Jane Henderson (37 St Andrew Rd) for all the hard work she does on maintaining the pavements in the area. She employs 3 people and carries a lot of the costs involved personally. The monthly donation for pavement maintenance is R100. Jane can be contacted on 082 558 4692. Woolcott queried the Association‟s attitude toward the Ward Councillors and the Council. McDonnell advised that the Councillors do mostly attend the monthly meetings. The problems is the size of the areas that they are responsible for. There is no point in getting aggressive or confrontational. There are so many issues to deal with in the larger scheme of things, issues need to be prioritized. It is up to Residents to make the area work, they can‟t rely on Council to service the area. The Association needs to keep proactive. Nev Moodley (79 St David Rd) offered to assist the Association as he has contacts in Council. McDonnell will contact him. McDonnell thank the Committee members and the Secretary for the work they have done and continue to do for the Association. McDonnell thanked everyone for attending the meeting and for paying their subscription fees.