OBSERVATORY IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
SAFER, CLEANER, SMARTER
The Observatory Improvement District (OBSID) was officially ratified by Cape Town City council in July 2009 after the majority of property owners voted in favour of Observatory becoming a Special Rating Area (SRA). OBSID includes both residential and commercial properties.
In a Special Rating Area City Council collects an extra monthly levy from all property owners, to top-up City Council services. This extra levy is paid to the OBSID to improve the area by providing services such as Public Safety, Cleaning, Greening, etc.
OBSID also undertakes projects to make Observatory smarter in the broadest sense of the word.
Obsid also pays attention to Business Development, to issues related to Arts, Sport, Heritage & Culture and a field worker attends to Social Development.
The OBSID Board of Directors, which was elected by the community at a public meeting in June 2009, had their first meeting on Saturday 3 October 2009, after which OBSID started its operations in November 2009, when the public safety and cleaning contract were in place.
For more information about what an Improvements District and a SRA is, who benefits, who pays, how much and why, etc read this article.
OBSID is so-called as Obs is the general shortened term for the suburb in which it operates (Observatory) and thus reads and is pronounced Obs Improvement District /OBSID.
The Mission of OBSID is to:
- develop and sustain a safer, cleaner and smarter public space throughout Observatory
- nurture the unique ambience, charm and diversity of Observatory village as a meeting place of artists, intellectuals, professionals, workers, residents and visitors
- contribute to a commercially attractive, artistically vibrant, ecologically sustainable and family-friendly environment
- foster cooperation between residents, ethical businesses, other stakeholders and the City
Foremost is creating a suburb where residents feel safe in their homes and on their streets.
- PUBLIC SAFETY: OBSID provides dedicated foot patrols in the area, supported by patrol vehicles and a central control room. OBSID works together with the Woodstock Police, the Groote Schuur and Woodstock CIDs, the Obs Neighbourhood Watch and Metro Law Enforcement to reduce crime and establish visible patrolling presence in all public spaces.
- CLEANING & GREENING: Streets are cleaned once a week – grime, litter and graffiti have become things of the past. Gardens in public spaces are established and maintained.
- SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Problems associated with homeless or displaced people are dealt with in a holistic way.
- HERITAGE: OBSID works together with the Observatory Civic Association to ensure that the historic character of Observatory is respected, and that public spaces, including parks and the village green, are well-maintained and safe.
- WHO BENEFITS: Perhaps the biggest benefit is that everyone contributes, everybody benefits and there are no freeloaders 🙂
How we work
OBSID is run by the Chief Operations Officer (COO). She/he manages all staff and contracts with the service providers. She/he also ensures compliance with City Council requirements.
In the OBSID office she/he is assisted by the Office Manager (OM), the Finance Officer (FO), the Public Safety Managers (PSMs) and interns.
The outdoor work is done by the cleaning team, the Social Development Manager and the Gardener.
OBSID is governed by a Board of Directors (BoD) made up of members of the community who are all volunteers. They are accountable to the community for good governance and to ensure that the levy collected from you as a ratepayer is spent wisely, in the best interest of Observatory and in line with the City’s SRA policy.
The Board of Directors provides strategic direction and prepares proposed budgets and plans for approval by the OBSID members at the OBSID annual general meeting (AGM). The AGM takes place in the last quarter of each calendar year.
The board of directors is chosen by OBSID members at the AGM.
Only members have voting rights at the AGM. Any property owner in Observatory can become a member of the OBSID.
The OBSID committees provide direction for the day to day work and projects undertaken by OBSID. All committees are chaired by a Director and are made up of one or more Directors, the COO, the OM, FO (if applicable) and volunteers who live locally.