Innovative thinking needed

Andrew Spiegel, Claremont

Wesley Seale’s and Jacques Moolman’s letters (Tatler, March 18) refer.

Mr Seale raises crucial questions about Mr Moolman’s apparent commitment to long-outdated Thatcherism – misplaced even when in full swing.

He fails, however, to ask why a suburban newspaper publishes ideologically loaded letters each week from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry leaders. Why do they get to fill the letters page?

Mr Moolman’s most recent diatribe lacks logic, depends on long-discredited arguments about cities’ “bright lights”, and sees migrants to our city as unthinking dupes, hoodwinked by conniving manipulators.

Yes, people trapped by “grinding poverty” migrate to where they might expand their opportunities. But that is hardly irrational behaviour, especially in a context where economic structures of the kind Mr Moolman seems to extol marginalise them.

He is right that the City’s and Province’s planners might do better with fewer by-law constraints on them. But amending those by-laws needs to include rapid changes to zoning regulations to enable quickly implemented densification and provision of low-cost social housing within our city’s suburbs and CBDs – rather than in far-flung locations; and simultaneously to permit home-based and other small-scale commerce in presently residential areas.

The latter is to enable the kinds of reciprocal networks that so effectively support residents of densely settled areas and make those areas attractive to those seeking new opportunities.

Such changes need no intervention by Treasury. They do need clear transformational and innovative thinking by the City’s leaders – those in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry included.