Llandudno Source: Google Images

As Capetonians become more concerned about their safety on beaches, Llandudno has had an amazingly low crime rate, which is achieved through a Special Rates Area.

Special Rates Areas (SRA) can be defined as clear geographical areas in which property owners pay additional property rates to fund municipal services that upgrade or improve the area specifically. SRA’s vary and can be commercial, residential, industrial or even a combination of these. They are commonly known as Improvement Districts, Community Improvement Districts, City Improvement Districts or Business Improvement Districts.

The additional rates paid by community members fund “top up” services which ensure better public safety, urban maintenance, upgrades of environments, cleansing or cleaning services and social upliftment when needed.

In Llandudno specifically, residents are charged roughly 10% of their municipal rates to go towards these much-needed additional services.

Former chairperson and current director of the SRA Kiki Loubser, told IOL that this system goes a long way to make an area safer, giving residents a peace of mind.

The area benefits the most from additional security monitoring. Prevention and detection initiatives are also constantly active within the suburb and on the beach, thanks to willing volunteers who spearhead these systems.

It has been six years since the establishment of the SRA and the community have enjoyed exceptional results, reducing the areas crime rates significantly over the years.

Initiators of the SRA must be property owners in the area. They are required to meet with the City before starting the process. This is to help community members understand what an SRA is and what will be expected of them for starting and establishing the process. The next step from here is to define and decide the boundary of the SRA and consult the community on their needs before developing a plan of action.

During a public meeting, this plan must be presented to the community with ample opportunity for comment and queries. Following this process, over 50% of property owners from commercial areas and 60% from residential areas have to approve the plan before it can be submitted to the City.

The City will then verify the application and open it to a public participation process for any property owners to object. The chosen committee for the SRA is required to then hold a second public meeting giving feedback to the community. The application with all comment and objections are then submitted to Council for consideration.

Current SRAs in action include the Woodstock Improvement DistrictSalt River Business Improvement District, Parow Industria Improvement District and the Vredekloof Community Improvement District