Residents, leaders urged to be ambassadors for Eastridge study

DAG project co-ordinator Ryan Fester said it took more than a year to research and publish Re-imagining Eastridge, a community-centred approach to neighbourhood regeneration.

Mitchell’s Plain United Residents Association (MURA) and the Development Action Group (DAG) are calling on Eastridge residents to be ambassadors for the Re-imagining Eastridge publication.

The two organisations had worked tirelessly to put together the study, titled Re-imagining Eastridge, a community-centred approach to neighbourhood regeneration which tackles issues such as crime, safety, local economic development, land use, housing, governance, youth, education and social development issues, (“Study looks at how to breathe new life into ’forgotten city’,” Plainsman, March 16”).

MURA and DAG, along with community leaders and residents, who got together on Saturday April 2 at Mitchell’s Plain Police SAPS boardroom to discuss the way forward, decided to host a workshop in the coming weeks.

They also plan to go on tours to see different projects which are transforming communities. Once this process is completed, they will be able to establish a steering committee to continue the work, they said.

DAG project co-ordinator Ryan Fester said it had taken more than a year to research and publish the document.

All those who had attended a previous gathering about the study had agreed that they wanted to action the work in it.

“In order to re-imagine Eastridge, the community needs to organise themselves around particular issues. In this way more ground can be covered and more work can be done. When we focus on many issues at a time very little can be done but when we focus on crime or housing or an issue at a time we can really zoom in on the issue,” said Mr Fester.

Mura chairman Norman Jantjes said they would like to see more councillors, religious leaders, business owners, and organisations of Eastridge and its surroundings at these meetings to share their thoughts and ideas.

“There must be organic growth from the workshops and meetings we will be hosting in the coming weeks. It shouldn’t stop here, this should continue. We should become ambassadors for this catalytic project,” said Mr Jantjes.

Chairman of the Eastridge sub-forum, Allan Britz said the community should come together and establish themselves and get the ball rolling.

Mura’s Deidre Petersen said Eastridge had a lot of potential, but it had deteriorated over time. “It lacks many things especially for our young people. We need to get the work done so that we can help our communities.”

Farieda Davies, a member of the group Waar Brandit innie Zoo, which tackles issues of crime, gender-based violence and substance abuse, said at times they had to use their own resources to clean their area so that the community could use those spaces again.

“It has become a challenge to connect with our councillor. We would like to engage with his office so that we can work on the issues affecting us. We should communicate with those private owners who own land in our community to create more spaces to play, for businesses or development programmes,” she said.

The partnership is a work in progress, said Ms Davies.

Mura deputy chairman Michael Jacobs said they needed to be a cohesive force.

“We need to continue managing the process for housing opportunities in sub-councils to determine what is used for housing, sports and economic development. When it comes to engagement, it must be structured,” he said.

The next meeting will be on Saturday May 14. For more information, call Mr Jantjes on 083 628 4421.