Tygerberg Hospital and Project Flamingo catch-up surgery provides hope

Tygerberg Hospital and Project Flamingo catch-up surgery provides hope to 14 women living with breast cancer 

n a joint effort to close the breast cancer care gap, Project Flamingo and the dedicated medical and nursing team at Tygerberg Hospital volunteered their time this weekend to perform life-changing surgeries on 14 women living with breast cancer. This was the second weekend of catch-up surgery following seven patients who had their surgeries at the hospital on Saturday, 8 July 2023.

The Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness, along with our partners, are working hard to reduce critical waiting periods for these life-saving surgeries. While our province’s surgical and oncology units do their best to help women affected by breast cancer, the reality is that the demand for these services outstrip our available resources. Initiatives such as Project Flamingo help take immense pressure off our public health system at various hospitals.

Since 2016, a total of 188 surgeries have been performed at the hospital through Project Flamingo. In 2022, Tygerberg Hospital treated 3 288 follow-up breast patients of which 75% were breast cancer patients and 1 301 new breast cancer cases. This is a significant increase from 450 new breast cancer patients that was seen in 2018.

“Patients face an uphill battle already and we stand ready to support them with action and compassion,” says Dr Liana Roodt, the founder and hands-on surgeon at Project Flamingo.

Tygerberg Hospital Surgeon, Dr Ilna Conradie says the challenges within our health system are numerous and often difficult to overcome. “I can, however, change one patient’s experience of health care, and I can make a difference in one person’s life. This is what motivates me to work here and to drive this project at our hospital.”

For several women who benefitted from this weekend’s surgeries, they deeply appreciate the access to timely treatment and heartfelt support offered to them.

What our patients say:

Elaine Bergman (65), from Blackheath, benefitted from last month’s surgery and had her left breast removed. She discovered a lump in her left breast in 2022 and had since undergone various tests. She had her very first operation on 2 May 2023 to remove the tumour. “The care I received from the staff was so amazing. Before I went to theatre, the staff came to talk to me and by the time I had to go in, I wasn’t afraid anymore because I knew, I was in good hands. I feel great after the operation and my scar is healing very nicely. Thank you, Tygerberg Hospital, Project Flamingo, staff and sponsors,” says Mrs Bergman.

Vanessa Stephanus (61) from Uitsig, who’s married with two children and two grandchildren has a family history of breast cancer. In April 2023, her tumour was removed and sent for further tests. “I was at work when the doctor called me with the results. I want people to look differently at cancer and not stigmatize it as a death sentence. Always remain positive and focus on your recovery and not people’s opinions. It’s not the end of the world but a new journey,” says Mrs Stephanus.

Charlene Fredericks (49) from Ravensmead is a medical receptionist and a proud mom of one daughter and two grandchildren. She started her chemotherapy at the end of January. ”Don’t take your health for granted, especially us as women. Take care of yourself by going for your regular checkups. Trust your instincts even if you must go for a second opinion. We have so much to live for. We are survivors!”

Susanna Gianiotis (48), a chef from Ruyterwacht, discovered a lump in her breast end of February and 1 June 2023 she received her results. “At first, I was overwhelmed. Now my objective is to encourage others and share my journey as this will not beat me. I see it as a life changing experience.” 

More about Project Flamingo

Project Flamingo is a South African Breast Cancer NGO, with equitable cancer care for all at the heart of its operations. Their catch-up surgery programme is active across five public hospitals in the Western and Eastern Cape, and procedures are done on Saturdays when theatre spaces are not in use. Thanks to their generous donor funding, theatre nursing staff, and operational costs are covered, and surgeons and anaesthetists offer their time pro bono to ensure patients are operated on timeously. The relevant hospital still covers the theatre time and some of the medical supplies. Depending on the nature of the procedure, between four and nine patients are accommodated on a single list. To ensure a fair selection process, patients are selected for surgery on a needs basis and project lists are scheduled at least 12 months in advance.

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Cape Town makes progress on another major Bulk Sewer upgrade

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis was on-site today as the City broke ground on the next portion of the major R470m Milnerton Bulk Sewer upgrade, with construction of an entirely new pipeline set for completion by 2025. Read more below:

This complex project entails the construction of a new bulk sewer in Montague Gardens using innovative micro-tunnelling technology. The City will also extend and connect the Edgemead and Century City Bulk Sewers into the new infrastructure.

Once the nearly 4km of new bulk sewer is built by early 2025, the City will divert sewage along this new line while it rehabilitates the existing Bulk Sewer in Montague Drive, Montague Gardens.

Given that the existing pipeline is under the busy Montague Drive roadway, pipe rehabilitation will make use of trenchless technology. A robotic crawler will first profile pipes to determine the best method of repair, and all work will occur underground with minimal surface level disruption to residents and traffic.

‘It was a joy to break ground on yet another major upgrade project of this administration. The existing Bulk Sewer under Montague Drive is operating at full capacity, with an upgrade needed to accommodate future growth in this part of the city. That is why we are constructing an entirely new bulk sewer, which will operate alongside the rehabilitated existing pipeline.


‘The new pipeline will be complete in 2025, the same year as the conclusion of our major Cape Flats Bulk Sewer rehabilitation – the largest in SA. In this way, we are future-proofing our city, so that Cape Town can be an even better place to live as the metro continues to grow.


‘When we talk of our long-term vision of building a city of hope for all, it really comes down to projects like this, which bring about better living conditions for residents,’ said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.


Over the next three years, the City will invest a massive R1,4bn in major bulk sewer upgrades to the Cape Flats, Philippi, Milnerton, and Gordon’s Bay lines.


Cape Town is ramping up infrastructure investment, with a 223% increase in its Water and Sanitation infrastructure budget over three years, from R2,3 billion in 2022/23 to R7,8 billion in 2025/26.


Besides bulk sewer upgrades, other highlights include:


  • R8,6 billion capital expenditure on WWTW upgrades over three years
  • R1,3 billion for sewer spill responsiveness including the proactive jet-cleaning of 200km of sewers annually
  • Quadrupling pipe replacement from 25km in 2021/22 to 100km annually, worth R850 million total over three years.


‘Aside from improving basic services, and personal and community dignity, the scale of Cape Town’s R43bn three-year infrastructure pipeline – bigger than Joburg and Durban combined – will create an estimated 135 000 jobs in the city over three years,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.


Infrastructure upgrades set to combat Lagoon pollution


Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation, said the Milnerton bulk sewer upgrade includes the installation of a sandtrap and screening facility at Koeberg Road Pump station. This is set to improve performance and reduce breakdowns caused by foreign objects entering the pump station.

A new 300m long bulk outfall sewer of 1 350mm diameter will also be constructed at the Koeberg Road Pump Station to accommodate the combined flow of the existing and new Montague Gardens Bulk Sewers.

‘Improving the Koeberg Road Pump Station’s operations will reduce the number of sewer spills into the Diep River and relieve environmental pressure.

‘The City’s goal is to steadily restore the environmental health of the Milnerton Lagoon through a combination of infrastructure upgrades and dredging of the waterbody to remove pollution build-up in sediment.


‘Besides the Milnerton Bulk Sewer Upgrade, other major infrastructure projects in the area include the R5.2bn upgrade to double capacity at Potsdam Wastewater Works – the Western Cape’s second largest infrastructure project – as well as the R118m Koeberg Pump Station Upgrade,’ said Councillor Badroodien.


Cape Town quadrupling sewer pipe replacement


Across the metro, the City exceeded its target of doubling sewer pipe replacement from 25km to 50km for the 22/23 financial year ending June 2023, replacing 55km of pipeline.


The annual pipe replacement target will now be doubled yet again to 100km per year from 2023/24, for a total investment of R850m over the next three years.


Pipe replacement is part of a strategy to bring down sewer spills over time, including major bulk sewer upgrades, proactive cleaning of sewer lines, resourcing of sewer spill response teams, and digital telemetry systems for early warnings on sewer spills.


These interventions have led to a 30% downward trend in reported spills in Cape Town over the last two years based on preliminary data. The City is now rolling out a Reactive Incident Management System (RIMA) to track progress even more closely by digitising the coordination of sewer spill responsiveness.


Sewer pipe replacement projects making up the 50km target for the 2022/23 financial year (ending 30 June):

  • 1 Major Bulk Rehab project – Cape Flats Bulk Sewer Rehabilitation
  • 22 Completed projects – Bishopscourt, Southfield, Constantia, 2x Bergvliet, 2x Kuilsriver, Strand, Tokai, Bellville, Dennedal, Delft, Milnerton: Joe Slovo/Phoenix, Milnerton: Dunoon, 4x Gugulethu, 4x Makhaza.
  • 14 projects currently in execution – Dennedal, Sweet Valley, Nova Constantia, 2x Strand, Scottsdene, Maitland, Uitsig, Epping, Bellville: Boston, Bellville: De La Hey, Bellville: Welgemoed, Durbanville, Gugulethu.


Planned projects to meet the enormous target of 100km of sewer pipe replacement for 2023/24 (starting 1 July):

  • Brackenfell Industrial, Stikland Industrial, Kraaifontein Industrial and Bellville: Welgemoed. Bergvliet, Muizenberg, Lotus River, Constantia, Tokai, Wynberg, Broadlands, Strand, Kuils River, Mission Grounds/Sir Lowry’s Pass, Tuscany Glen, Eerstriver South, Kraaifontein, Eversdal, Brackenfell, Bellville, Brackenfell Industrial, Dunoon, Joe Slovo, Langa, Phillipi: Samora Machel, Crawford/Lansdowne, Uitsig, Bakoven/ Camps Bay, Ravensmead, Rondebosch, Gugulethu, Parow Industria, Avondale, Parow, Bishopscourt, Clifton, Lansdowne, Athlone, Claremont, Lower Crossroads, Bridgetown, Fresnaye.

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99,3% of City’s human settlements capital budget spent; emphasises great need for partnerships

The City’s Human Settlements Directorate has been lauded for its top performance, spending 99,3% of its more than R880 million capital budget in the 2022/23 financial year. This is money being spent on directly improving the living conditions of vulnerable households and providing and enabling decent accommodation. In addition, the directorate spent nearly 100% of its informal settlements and urban settlements grant funding. Some R2,5 billion capital budget has been allocated for human settlements projects over the next three years. Read more below:

This is a feat of note and I congratulate every single official and contractor in our human settlements team for this achievement. The incredible performance is not just nice on paper. It shows a real impact on the lives of our residents. It shows we spend budgets on the people it is earmarked for; and it clearly shows that we are ready to scale-up our efforts in collaboration with the private sector.


‘If we want to ramp up our efforts and deliver more opportunities in well-located areas across the metro, the City needs to become more of an enabler of opportunities than the sole provider. Programmes must be based on greater partnerships and more land parcels must be unlocked for human settlements. This includes the large pieces of well-located National Government land. We estimate that 100 000 social housing opportunities are possible at sites such as Wingfield, Youngsfield, Ysterplaat and the Parliamentary village. The release of these national mega-properties for housing would make a huge difference given the sheer scale of the well-located military land compared to the very limited land with housing potential owned by the City and the Western Cape Government close to the urban centres. Imagine what we could do with more land, more funds and greater partnerships. We could truly Build Cape Town, together,’ said the City’s Acting Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Alderman James Vos.


Land acquisitions and the development of affordable residential opportunities in well-located areas, maintenance of the City’s rental units, the no-cost title deed transfer programme, upgrading of informal settlements and backyarder services, and construction of new Breaking New Ground homes, and incremental developments are key pillars of City delivery.


Public private partnerships are vital and a key thrust of delivery at scale going forward.

As such, a new programme was created and in the first year of the Mayoral Priority Programme for affordable housing land release, several sites received critical City Council land release approvals, including:


  • Newmarket Street (Cape Town) – 200 social housing units
  • Salt River Market (Salt River) – 215 social housing units
  • Pickwick (Salt River) – 600 social housing units
  • Fruit and Veg (CBD) – 180 social housing units
  • Earl Street (Woodstock) – 160 social housing units


‘Overall, the City has 6 500 social housing units in the planning pipeline across 50 land parcels City-wide,’ said Alderman Vos.


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First civic education course kicks off

The City of Cape Town’s Safety and Security Directorate has started civic education this week for a new crop of learner law enforcement officers. 

The 78 officers started the three-day training before hitting the streets.

‘The aim of the training is to equip our officers to be more public service oriented and more than just enforcers of the law. This will make them responsible and accountable officers and citizens as it will sensitise them to an array of incidents in which they can respond in more empathetic and culturally sensitive ways,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security Alderman JP Smith. 

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City’s Lourensia Park housing project residents receive title deeds

The City celebrated with beneficiaries of the Lourensia Park housing project in Somerset West during a special title deeds handover ceremony. Read more below:

‘I was overjoyed to be part of this special celebration as we handed over title deeds to beneficiaries in Somerset West. We are absolutely committed to enabling redress and transformation and we will continue to hand over many more title deeds to qualifying beneficiaries over the coming weeks and months in areas across the metro.


‘This project has provided opportunities to 150 qualifying beneficiaries. As a caring and inclusive City, we are committed to providing service delivery through the provision of housing opportunities to some of our most vulnerable residents. This project is an excellent example of what hard work and dedication really means. Thank you to our communities, City teams and project steering committee for the hard work and dedication during the completion of this project,’ said the City’s Acting Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Alderman James Vos.


The selection of beneficiaries for housing projects is done in accordance with the City’s Allocation Policy and the City’s Housing Database to ensure that housing opportunities are allocated to qualifying beneficiaries in a fair and equitable manner that prevents queue-jumping.


Anonymous tip offs are welcome:

Residents can report crime and by-law offences anonymously, 24-hours a day, on 0800 1100 77.


For more information:

Residents are encouraged to visit this link to update their details on the Housing Needs Register: www.capetown.gov.za/housingdb

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Wondering what inverter to get? Check out the City’s list of approved, safe inverters

The City has a list of approved safe and legal inverters on its website. This database is meticulously checked to ensure that customers and installers are using quality equipment for safe and legal systems. Read more below:

‘Safe and legal small-scale embedded power systems reduce the risk of sub-standard, incorrectly wired solar PV inverters and batteries on the grid, including incorrect meters. This is a leading cause of extended power outages in neighbourhoods when the power comes back on after load-shedding. Unsafe systems can also increase the chance of fires or electrocution for building occupants and teams working on the electrical grid. City-approved inverters also enable quicker turnaround time of applications and this is why from October 2023 all systems will need a City-approved inverter and professional sign off,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Councillor Beverley van Reenen.

See Approved inverter and equipment ito NRS 097-2-1 (2023-07-26).xlsx (capetown.gov.za)

National legislation and regulations require authorisation:

National legislation and regulations require the authorisation of all power generating systems connected to the electricity supply. Authorisation requirements must be adhered to and the City continues to work to refine processes to the benefit of customers.

The City has authorised more than 5 700 grid- and off-grid systems to date amid an enormous spike in solar PV applications since the worsening Eskom load-shedding.

City speeding up application process

  • From October 2023 all SSEG systems will need a City-approved inverter and professional sign off. Currently many systems using non-approved inverters are not wired correctly, posing risks to the safety and integrity of the network. This significantly slows down the registration process because there are too many different wiring configurations, many of which are unsafe and illegal, for the City professionals to consider. Reducing the wiring configurations speeds up the process.

To note: this applies to solar PV and battery systems connected into the wiring of the building. It doesn’t apply to backup inverters that plug into wall sockets, as those are regarded as electrical appliances.

  • The City will officially be prioritising grid-tied installations as these submissions are faster to approve.
  • Work is well under way on an online application process that further aims to improve customer experience.

Checklist to guide customers through the process: https://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Graphics%20and%20educational%20material/CCT-Energy-PV-Brochure.pdf


List of approved inverters: See Approved inverter and equipment ito NRS 097-2-1 (2023-07-26).xlsx (capetown.gov.za)

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Cape Town cleansing boosted by more than 200 new vehicles

Vehicles involved in the City’s waste management are extensively used and in high demand for waste removal operations. The delivery of 219 replacement vehicles will help ensure cost-efficient service delivery. Read more below:

During the 2022/23 financial year, the City of Cape Town’s Urban Waste Management (UWM) Directorate made a strong effort to revitalise its fleet to maximise availability and in turn, optimise service delivery.

The planned fleet and plant capital replacement budget are based on economic lifecycle management best practices to ensure that the fleet is operated at the lowest cost per unit of operation, which will reduce breakdowns and maintenance costs.

Between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023, an intensive period of procurement saw a total of 219 vehicles of various types delivered to the City’s UWM Directorate.

The new fleet includes:


Compactors (R126,2 million)

  1. 24 standard compactors for collections
  2. five small compactors for cleansing

Trucks (R67,5m)

  1. 46 trucks for cleansing

Earthmoving equipment (R23,7m)

  1. seven earthmoving vehicles of various types for clearing illegal dump sites and City disposal sites

Light vehicles (R56,4m)

  1. 137 vehicles of various types


Approximately R274 million was spent on these new vehicles in total.

‘The 2022/23 financial year was a successful year of recovery for the directorate in terms of our fleet management. Good work has been completed to arrest negative trends in vehicle availability, and we now have a solid footing to deliver services at a level which our residents expect. We are also in a strong position to contend with any future challenges that may arise,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Waste Management, Grant Twigg.


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City extends condolences after fatal shooting while teams inspect ablutions in Khayelitsha

While performing routine site inspections to evaluate janitorial services for taps and toilets in informal settlements, a shooting incident claimed the life of a security guard and injured another who remains in critical condition in hospital. The security guards were escorting Water and Sanitation inspectors assigned to ensure that cleanliness, repairs and maintenance standards are being met, when shots were fired at their vehicle. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town’s Water and Sanitation Directorate is deeply saddened by the senseless, violent attack on teams assigned to work in informal settlements, while they were at work performing their duties in Site B, Khayelitsha yesterday, Wednesday, 26 July. Following a site inspection, bystanders shot at the private security personnel who accompanied the City inspectors.

Due to the sharp increase in staff being targeted while responding to service delivery needs, measures have been put in place to assign security escorts for teams conducting inspections, attending to burst pipes, clearing sewer overflows, providing oversight of cleaning of toilets and teams repairing taps for clean access to water in all hotspot areas such as informal settlements.

‘I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family, loved ones and staff affected by the death of the security official, who lost his life in this horrific manner,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.

Due to the frequency of security incidents involving Water and Sanitation staff in informal settlements, R1,9 million was set aside in the previous financial year for security escorts. This budget has increased to R8,5 million in the current 2023/24 financial year due to the alarming rise in incidents.

‘We have committed resources and adjusted operations to mitigate risks to staff however; we remain relentless about seeking solutions with input from communities where violence is perpetuated. The City’s only objective is to deliver essential services for clean water and dignified sanitation to all of our communities, particularly the most vulnerable living in informal settlements. It’s unacceptable that it has become a norm for officials at the front line of service delivery to have life-threatening experiences while at work,’ said Councillor Badroodien.

A case has been opened with the South African Police Service and counselling provided to the affected staff members through the City’s Employee Wellness Programme (EAP). The anxiety and emotional distress of working in such an unpredictable environment cannot be underestimated.

We encourage the public to assist us with any information which can lead to an arrest by calling our toll-free, tip-off line on 0800 110 077. Tips are relayed to a City agency that works directly with Law Enforcement and the SAPS.

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City stitching big opportunities for clothing and textile industry with SPVs

This week, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, Alderman James Vos, visited the revamped Prestige clothing manufacturing plant in Epping. Read more below:

The factory is one of the production sites of The Foschini Group (TFG), one of the biggest clothing and textile retailers in the country. More than 1 350 Capetonians work at the Epping plant and over 3 000 employees work for the company in the province.

Prestige Clothing (now owned by TFG) is a founding member of the Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster (CCTC), the City’s Special Purpose Vehicle in the industry. The CCTC has been working with TFG over the last 15 years to support the improved competitiveness of the local value chain, ensuring buying locally makes business sense.

‘In 2022, the group produced 17 million garments in South Africa, up from 6 million in 2016. With over 23 800 people working in the industry, clothing and textile is the second largest employer within Cape Town’s manufacturing sector. But it is worth noting that there is scope for growth in this regard. Research by the CCTC has found that at least 20 000 jobs can be created in the sector in the Mother City alone based on increasing local sourcing,’ said Alderman Vos.

The CCTC is an industry-led, public-private partnership of retailers, manufacturers and public sector stakeholders that works to build a globally competitive clothing and textile industry in the Western Cape through the development of quick response capabilities, manufacturing productivity improvement programmes, skills development, and market access initiatives.

One of the Cluster’s projects, the Business Accelerator Programme, which assists small clothing and textile businesses in Cape Town to become suppliers to large retailers, resulted in the signing of new contracts worth millions of rands this past year.

‘Towards this end, the City, through the Economic Growth Directorate, is directing more funds towards the Cluster. With these funds, the Cluster will expand its programmes to upskill people, boost SMMEs, and build investment opportunities,’ said Alderman Vos.

The City is channelling further support to clothing and textile manufacturing via the Craft + Design Institute (CDI), through whom the City administers the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator Project.

Under the project, a group of 119 young Capetonians recently celebrated their graduation after training at 45 manufacturing SMMEs based in areas around the metro including Lakeside, Masiphumelele, Tableview, Brackenfell and Claremont. The CDI facilitated the programme.

‘Over the next financial year (July 2023 – June 2024), the City has allocated R41 million in its ‘Building Hope’ Budget to direct economic incentives to attract jobs and investors to Cape Town. This is to build on the successes made through our SPV programme in the previous year in which more than R10,85 billion in investments was facilitated, 8 718 jobs were created, and 3 497 people were trained for work in the metro’s high-value industries. With our projects and programmes, we will continue to lay the foundations for a stronger economy that supports more people and makes Cape Town the easiest place in Africa to do business,’ said Alderman Vos.

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Problem Building Unit making strides

In the last 12 months, the specialised Law Enforcement unit has had some progress in its fight against problem buildings, with 48 new problem buildings declared, an average of 236 active cases in various stages of investigation, and initiating legal proceedings against 28 property owners. Read more below:

The City’s Problem Building Unit enforces the Problem Property By-law 2020 to identify, react to complaints and manage dilapidated and potential problem buildings.

Staff attached to the unit are guided by the by-law on how to deal with potential problem buildings.

Generally, a compliance notice is issued first and if the owner is non-responsive, further action is taken, including declaring a problem building, instituting a tariff which is charged to the owner’s municipal account or legal action to compel the owner to act.

‘Problem buildings are a challenge, not just in our city, but globally. We first introduced our Problem Building By-law just over a decade ago, and the amendments that were passed in 2020 have given our staff some more room to manoeuvre. Thanks to the amendments,  as well as an increase in the staff complement, and greater public awareness, we are starting to see some encouraging results,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

During the 2021/22 financial year, the PBU tariffed 336 properties, closed 77 cases, had an average caseload of 438 and declared 21 problem buildings.

By comparison, in the 2022/23 financial year, the unit tariffed 334 properties, closed 293 cases and had an average caseload of 236. During this period, they declared 48 problem buildings.

Among the notable successes were the sale in execution of a problem property in Steenberg, and the appointment of an administrator for a property in Hanover Park.

‘Ongoing challenges include properties that have been abandoned by the owners, deceased estates and properties that have become subject to illegal occupation. The amended by-law does however make provision for officers to approach the High Court for a possible evacuation, eviction or administrator order. I do want to remind the public that these matters take time, and that staff have to act in accordance with the by-law. However, the sooner residents report potential problem buildings, the sooner our staff can act to limit the impact on the neighbourhood,’ added Alderman Smith.

Only once a neighbour or affected parties have officially lodged a complaint against the owner of a potential problem building, can Law Enforcement officers act and follow the process as regulated by the Problem Property By-law.

For detail on procedural and legislative rules pertaining to problem buildings, the by-law can be accessed here.

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