Safety and fire during the hot, dry and windy Cape Town Summer months

Cape Town’s fire season occurs from November through May when it is most hot and dry, together with the windy season, creating the ideal conditions for wildfires to occur and quickly get out of control. From homes and businesses to the Table Mountain National Park, there are various organisations in place to manage fire safety and interventions that should be taken, both to avoid fire and to control it when it happens. 

Fires are not something we want to think about but are part of our reality in Cape Town due to the weather conditions as well as natural conditions in our fynbos ecosystem. It is most important to keep your home, family and business safe, protecting life and property, as our urban living spaces share a boundary with the national parks in many parts of Cape Town and the Western Cape.

helicopter dropping water on Cape Town fires 2021 on Table Mountain
Cape Town fires 2021. Source: Associated Press.
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How to Prepare Your Property for the Festive Season

After a challenging 2021, filled with great uncertainty and change globally, many of us are looking forward to wrapping things up for a well deserved holiday with family and friends. Ensuring that your property is secure and your business protected is the best Christmas gift you can give yourself and will give you the peace of mind that will allow you to relax and recuperate. 

Here are our top security tips to keep your property safe so you can enjoy the merry season: 

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Year-end update 2021 – 5-year term extension for WID & 2021 stats

Good news for Woodstock and the Woodstock Improvement District. The recent AGM, held on 3 November 2021 at the WID offices, has seen the approval of the new 5-year term extension of the Woodstock Improvement District from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2027.

Providing top-up cleaning and security services to one of Cape Town’s oldest residential and business nodes since May 2005, the Woodstock Improvement District has been under new management since September 2020. Led by Geocentric, who have been working with city improvement district initiatives since 2001 and responsible for a total of eleven of Cape Town’s improvement districts including WID and the nearby Salt River, Maitland and Wynberg, the WID’s successes of the last year are a tribute to this team’s experience and increased on-the-ground presence with more security personnel than ever before.

2021 Woodstock Improvement District stats

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Climate action, Cape Town and you – living a more sustainable life

While Spring makes us think “green”, it’s not all spring flowers and baby birds that are in the air. Climate change and its proactive counterpart, Climate Action, is on the world’s collective consciousness with COP26 beginning on 31 October in Glasgow, culminating in this year’s Climate Action Day on 4 November and millions of people across the world who will be out marching for climate justice on Saturday 6 November. Last month Global Day of Climate Action on 25 September, held by Fridays for Future, saw 3500 towns and cities get involved, and this month is also Youth Climate Action Day on 23 October.

But let’s take a step back…

What is Climate Change?

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Woodstock Peace Garden

Head up Woodstock’s Mountain Road and take a detour along a dirt road that forks off towards the top and you’ll discover an inner-city oasis that’s many things to many people. It’s a place where plants are grown, peacocks roam and the children of Alpha School play. There’s a monthly plant sale market and weekly tai chi classes. Caretakers of the space carve wooden sculptures and make pots. Furniture factories drop off their wood offcuts and sawdust, and local residents use it as a depot for organic waste and unwanted plants and potting containers. It’s an unexpected green sanctuary nestled just beneath the major artery to the City of Cape Town that is the N2, with views from upper Woodstock through to the harbour, Table Bay and the mountains beyond, where on a good day one can see snow on the Matroosberg.

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Women-owned businesses in Woodstock

Women entrepreneurs are leading the way in many fields in Africa. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s latest biannual Women’s Entrepreneurship report, Sub-Saharan Africa is the region that reports the highest percentage of female business owners in the world, at 11.3% of its women running businesses (compared to just 6% globally). 

Much is the case in Woodstock, Cape Town, where a host of our established, women-run businesses uplift our community by creating jobs and drawing people to the area. Historically a part of Cape Town where industry blossomed since the late 1800s, from glass manufacture to textiles, still today Woodstock is known as a hub for the creative industries and go-to destination for suppliers.

August has become synonymous in South Africa with Women’s Month  –  perhaps because a single day hardly begins to recognise the importance of female leaders amongst our local and global communities.

This month we profile four of our own Woodstock women, business owners paving the way across the sectors of food, art, fashion and interior design.

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Our Facade Improvement Programme – a lick of paint towards building a better future

Woodstock Exchange

Bestselling entrepreneurial author Jim Rohn once said, “Whatever good things we build end up building us”. In Woodstock, our streets are no utopia, but at Woodstock Improvement District we are committed to working collaboratively to improve our community. We believe that improvement is contagious – which is why we have initiated Our Facade Improvement Programme (FIP). The FIP is specifically designed to encourage businesses, like yours, to invest in the exterior functionality and curb appeal of your premises while providing peace of mind that we at the WID are working to protect your property from vandalism and malicious degradation. 

The FIP is intended to be the first step on the investment journey that we walk together – as business owners, community members, municipal bodies and the Woodstock Improvement District – to repair the urban decay in our surroundings. Ultimately, we work towards creating a healthy urban environment to improve local socio-economic circumstances, the safety of our population and the quality of life for all our inhabitants.  

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Winter in Cape Town can be hazardous: Here’s how to take action and contribute

Winter in Cape Town is known to be a chilly and wet affair. For those who are not prepared, the months of June and July can be brutal in the Western Cape. Heavy rains may bring flooding and water damage, while fewer hours of daily sunlight and colder temperatures each have a variety of knock-on effects, including increases in crime, accidents, property damage and costly energy use. 

Woodstock exchange, dark clouds, Devils Peak, Cape Town

WID, the City of Cape Town and Provincial Government are all taking action to reduce repercussions as far as possible in various winter preparedness programmes.

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Give responsibly: Cape Town non-profit organisations you can support in 2021

Streetscapes
Nazeema Jacobs (left) and Kaylin Mrbral work at the Streetscapes urban gardening project. Jacobs was living on the street but is now staying with her mother. Jacobs completed matric and wants to study home-based nursing. “I love looking after old people,” she said. The only thing keeping her back is a lack of funds. Source: Groundup

Many of us want to give back to society by helping those in need. But in most cases, handouts in the form of cash given to people begging is more often used to fuel addictions and other destructive ends rather than ultimately helping the individual to feed, clothe or house themselves or their family. There are many good organisations in Woodstock, Cape Town and surrounds, such as shelters, charities, NGO’s and NPO’s who have the necessary infrastructure to insure people’s donations go to good use, creating support in the form of feeding, housing, social support, and other forms of well being.

Here we list some non-profit organisations below that are active now in 2021 and contributing meaningfully to their various areas of focus. Help them to do great work and give responsibly.

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The effects of homelessness on our city

Homelessness in Cape Town

The Table Mountain fires that have just begun to be contained have sparked debate in Cape Town once again around homelessness. On Sunday 18 April, the day that the fires began, reports that Table Mountain National Park “surmised that the origin of the fire is from a vacated vagrant fire” were broadcast in the news. However, forensic expert investigating the fires David Klatzow disagrees, saying he is “not convinced” a vagrant is behind the Table Mountain blaze. He is asking for further investigations into both SANPark’s and UCT’s roles in possible negligence that led to the fires getting out of control in the height of fire season when measures should be taken to prevent the spread of fires that do occur.

It is not hard to believe that there is a bigger picture to consider and that placing the blame on a “vagrant” as an easy scapegoat is too simple an answer.

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