After moving into their new office recently and with the new financial year kicking in, the Observatory Improvement District (Obsid) has big plans in the pipeline, including changing its security service provider, helping to develop businesses in the area and making public open spaces more accessible and user friendly.
Obsid head Amanda Kirk, who has been in the position for just over a year, said they had been quiet for a while but continued their work on the ground.
She said they recently decided it was time to move offices and have all their teams under one roof to ensure cohesiveness and better team work and communication.
Obsid started moving its team, which were located in three different spaces, at the start of April to its new premises at St Michael’s Office Park in St Michaels Road, with the last team moving in at the start of June.
“We felt that the space we were in did not reflect the work we did and we wanted to bring everything under one roof. This is the first time in Obsid’s history that all our services are under one roof,” she said.
Ms Kirk said the new space puts them at the centre of things and made them more accessible, while bringing them closer to the business and the residential community that it served.
Speaking on plans for the new financial year, she said, they were changing back to security provider Securitas and said they now had a better understanding of the public safety needs of the area.
“We are excited about our partnership with Securitas as we can now tap into the larger radio security network with surrounding improvement districts. This will have a greater impact on our ability to respond to issues,” she said.
Obsid also plans to work with local businesses to build a platform where they could be promoted or assisted with possible funding. Ms Kirk said business development would be one of its core focuses this financial year.
“The area is growing and developing – we have a number of local theatres, restaurants, coffee shops and small home-based businesses. We can create a platform to promote these businesses,” she said.
As for the residential aspect, Ms Kirk said they had listened to the concerns of residents and will focus on making public open spaces more accessible and bringing in infrastructure that will benefit the residents.
She said they would also be working with a local landscaper who will regularly maintain and beautify the green spaces in the area.
“We want the community to make use of the public open spaces but need to find something that would benefit all,” she said.
Ms Kirk said they would be expanding their social services component and are looking to work with organisations such as Streetscapes, which had launched successful programmes working with the homeless, and the Straatwerk programme.
She said they had a big homeless community and said there was currently only one public bathroom – open from 7am to 3pm – an issue they were looking at addressing.
“We want to work with the community to find amicable solutions when it comes to the homeless and for the community to give responsibly.
“We find that there are many organisations who are duplicating services and we want to bring them together,” she said.
“There are organisations who are doing amazing work and we want to try and work with them.”
Ms Kirk said Obsid was committed to doing their bit to improve the area, saying they had made some strategic partnerships and had a clear idea and vision for the way forward.
“We remain true to our mandate but are open to partnerships and finding ways to build and keep on improving our services,” she said.