As another challenging year draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on this year and start messaging about what 2022 has in store for us as the CraigPark Community and the CRA.
The past year has been a year of regeneration and renewal for the CRA, I think we can tick that off. At the beginning of this year membership dwindled from a peak of six hundred (in 2018) to 130 members. The CRA, as one of the oldest residents’ associations in Johannesburg, established in 1937, was facing, what I referred to on 18 February 2021, an “existential crisis”. We have come a long way since then……
We are proud to report that we have turned this around, with membership approaching four hundred; we are a sustainable residents association again and will continue build from here. This did not happen overnight, the first thing we did, as the incoming committee, was develop and communicate a clear strategy, as per the diagram. This has resonated with residents, as the membership numbers show.
Strategy is however only one part, and during the year the CRA has delivered on the following initiatives. A big “Thank You” to the committee and residents who have got involved. Dozens of people have worked selflessly and tirelessly for the benefit of the Community. A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you.
The 2021 list of achievements includes the following – I hope I have not left anything out:
- Developed a coordinated strategy and implemented an annual budgeting process.
- Contracted with FireOps providing a free subscription to private firefighting service to members – the implementation process run by local resident Rolf Endres
- Held two spruit clean up days in Delta Park, and an Arbor Day in Hugh Wyndham Park, with dozens of residents getting “stuck in.”
- Contributed towards the Buckingham/Hamilton Garden maintained by a local resident Martin van Niekerk.
- Maintained our green spaces including Delta Park, using the CRA gardeners.
- Sponsored the reintroduction of the Domestic Watch Program run by Penny Steyn.
- Coordinated the Pothole Repair Program with the JRA.
- Initiated a COVID Relief Programme, including a free Vaccine Bus service, Vegetable Gardens outside Craighall Primary, and the Scouts Soup Bags of Hope Program.
- Part sponsored a Homeless feeding scheme run by the Cairns family, facilitating the part time employment of two of the homeless men.
- Implemented a weekly Time trial on Wednesday at Vice Café.
- Held the inaugural Festive Night Run 2 December, there were more people there than at the AGM, and it was a whole lot more exciting!
- Rewritten and approved the Constitution to make it properly relevant, after no changes since 2002.
- Commenced development of the Secret Garden at AJ’s.
- Run several focused membership drives.
- Renegotiated the CAP Public Space Security contract for a better and more sustainable solution agreed on under the original contract signed in 2018.
While 2021 has been a trying year on many fronts, we believe the CRA Community is well placed for next year. We will continue to build on what we have achieved, with additional projects that will benefit and build community in our area. More on that early next year, but I believe that it is important that we as a community work together, with the city administration and through our never tiring councilor, Martin Williams, to get things done. I do not think many of us think that we are getting a return on our rates, and its high time that changed.
Elspeth Kempe – Rest in Peace
Many residents will also remember Elspeth Kempe, a past CRA committee member, who gallantly took on the role of Chair of the CRA during 2020, bringing much needed stability to the CRA and managing the committee after a somewhat turbulent time. Elspeth was a friend and confidant to many residents, wife to John, mother to their two sons and a real stalwart of the community.
She was called to rest on 17 November after a prolonged illness. On behalf of the committee and all residents I would like to pass our sincerest condolences to John and the Kempe family and thank her sincerely for all she has done in the community.
Thank you to the Committee and all our members, many of you who have stepped forward this year to show your support. Membership allows us to make things happen, creating real change in the neighborhood. We face numerous challenges as a country, a province, a city, and a community. We cannot be the spectators shouting from the stands – little if anything is achieved that way; join us and your fellow residents that have already stepped onto the field and join the team. We always need and really do appreciate help and volunteers, but we need specific assistance in the Infrastructure and Business portfolios, for which we will send out more information shortly. If you would like to assist, please let me know.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you, the best for the holiday season, please stay healthy and look after yourselves and each other, as we look forward to an improved 2022.
And if you are not a member already, please do join up at www.cra.org.za – we are able to accommodate and already have several households where there more than one member. Please also follow us on Facebook, at (1) Craigpark Residents Association (CRA) | Facebook