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You may see crime and grime when looking at Bellville, but scores of officials say they see opportunity.

This was evident from an event on Monday where plans for the “Bellville Future City” were launched.

The affair, organised by the Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP), saw the top brass in Cape Town politics congregating to discuss the future of Bellville.

All the speakers acknowledged that the area as it is currently, is not the poster child of success. Yet this won’t deter the City of Cape Town from investing in the region.

“Cape Town continues to experience rapid urbanization as people relocate to the city in search of opportunities and better lives. It is true, however, that Bellville has suffered from a prolonged period of decline. This has impacted negatively on the area’s attractiveness as an investment destination,” said mayor Dan Plato.

“And if the business sector in the City goes down, the economy goes down.”

He said investment by the City will be the catalyst to make Bellville the “second city” or “second node” in Cape Town.

He recently announced that the Bellville CBD would be a “legacy project” and form part of the Mayoral Visible Service Acceleration (MVSA) initiative. “The Bellville CBD is included in the R200 million MVSA project focused on urban renewal projects in 23 precincts across the city.”

Frank Cumming, the City’s urban catalytic investment director, said their plans for the area may take many years to come to fruition. “Bellville has suffered over the last 20years,” he said.

Current stumbling blocks include crime, unemployment, below-average education.

“(But it) has the potential for turnaround and to deliver to objectives.’’

The objectives of their master plan is creating a future city including improving a sense of place and pride, improving investment potential, transforming the environment for walking and cycling and improving accessibility for people and vehicles on Bellville roads. They also want to deliver a better and safer working environment and a diverse mix of housing, retail and industrial opportunities.

Cumming said in the end they want to leverage Bellville’s unique attributes: the many hospitals and healthcare facilities, educational institutions, the large transport hub.

This doesn’t mean the area will start seeing high rises any time soon.

This is something that will happen over years, even decades, explains Cumming, with many partnerships that need to be started.

Plato said closer collaboration with Prasa, Transnet and other stakeholders will be harnessed as part of the Bellville Future City Project.

“The ultimate goal is to prioritise investment and job creation through the regeneration of Bellville as a second CBD.”

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