Eagle eyes on coastal schemes

Strandfontein residents have formed a steering committee to ensure they are privy to the development of prime property along the False Bay coastline, including the proposed building of 4 500 houses.

The Camp Road housing development,a proposed City of Cape Town project, includes 1 000 social houses, along Strandfontein Road to Witsands Road, on the False Bay coastline, with its northern boundary defined by Spine Road.

The land, Erf 1212, is owned by the City and zoned for agriculture.

At a meeting of the Strandfontein Ratepayers’ Association, chairwoman Gaironesa Diedericks, said the association wanted to pre-empt any developments the City had planned for the community. “I’ve lived here for more than 40 years and everything we have here, we have had to fight for,” she said.

She claimed the council had never asked the community what it wanted.

“The main reason for calling this meeting is to elect a steering committee to take this process further of engaging with the relevant role-players of the City. This is an open meeting, not a political meeting,” she said.

Ms Diedericks called on younger residents to get involved and attend the association’s annual general meeting in March next year.

She accused the City of double standards in the way it handled developments in different communities.

“We are not against development, but we are against the way the City wants to develop. Without asking us they come and they tell us. If this was a different area, they would first go and have workshops with the people on the other side before coming with any proposals or plans,” she said.

“Here they come and tell us this is what we are going to do, and we have no input.”

Ephraim Stanfield, vice-chairman of the association, said residents wanted to know whether they could have first option to live in the houses, what type of houses would be built and the densification impact of the development.

Resident Alan Stellar said he understood there was a need for housing, but Strandfontein needed infrastructure.

“We need public transport. By the time the bus comes to Welgelegen Avenue, it is full already,” he said. “I bought my house as an investment; as soon as those houses are built my investment is gone.”

The association’s meeting comes a month after Ward 43 councillor Elton Jansen met with his constituents to discuss the housing project plans.

Mr Jansen told the Plainsman this week consultants were looking into whether 4500 houses could be built on Erf 1212.

He said every housing development started with the election of a steering committee, which was done in conjunction with the Department of Human Settlements. So he felt the Strandfontein Ratepayers’ Association was acting prematurely.

He said that since becoming a councillor in 2014, there had been an outcry, from the association, in particular, and the greater community for housing around informal settlements in the area; at Camp Road, including Sewende Laan, Oppermansoord, Plot 9 and Masicendani.

“Some of the people living in these informal settlements have been living there for more than 15 years and some are even from the village.

“We all know that everybody has a right, including the informal settlement dwellers, some who are are originally from Strandfontein,” he said.

Mr Jansen said the City could not be expected to just remove them as it would infringe on various rights.

“I have always made it clear that I am the ward councillor for both formal and informal residents – there is no them and us,” he said.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said the Camp Road project was at an early stage and consultation with the local community was still needed.

The size of the housing site had not yet been determined as the wider site included the Strandfontein resort development.

The planning process would look at where development could happen on what was an environmentally sensitive site, he said.

“The City will be investigating the feasibility of developing the site for a mix of housing typologies,” he said.

Many rounds of public participation would be needed, as part of the environmental and town planning approvals.

“At this stage all the required processes have not yet been identified,” he said.

High-level investigations into the possibility of developing the site would start early next year.

A development framework would first need to be drafted and discussed with interested and affected parties.

“Once such a high-level framework is in place, the development of one or more precincts in that framework may be identified as appropriate. All processes required by legislation will then need to be undertaken for those precincts,” he said.

The ratepayers’ input would be welcomed once the process started. The development framework would take into account all land uses and not only housing, he said.