Strandfontein housing development scaled down

A proposed Strandfontein housing development which initially included the construction of 1 400 subsidised houses on land the size of about 12 rugby fields has had to be scaled down.

This after one of the two plots was found to be ecologically sensitive.

Proposed sand mining area in Strandfontein.

The original budget of R320 million will also be reduced according to available housing opportunities.

Last week Malusi Booi, mayoral committee member for human settlements, told the Plainsman that they would no longer be developing Erf 21168 because it should be protected and conserved as part of South Africa’s biological diversity, natural landscapes and seascapes.

This follows an application by Maccsand Holding Company for environmental authorisation to flatten the dunes on Erven 21168 and 1212 bordered by Spine Road and Baden Powell Drive, between the edges of Strandfontein sports ground and Sewende Laan informal settlement.

Recent environmental studies were completed in support of drafting a framework for an integrated housing development on Erf 21168 and 1212.

Mr Booi said the final revised number of subsidised residential units would only be known once the current feasibility studies and development framework were completed and ratified by interested participants and statutory mechanisms.

“The fact that Erf 21168 has been identified as a no-development zone means that a significant portion of the original development site has to be excluded from development, which already points to a reduced residential yield,” said Mr Booi.

He said the project was in its planning stages and that the timeline would be impacted by how many subsidised houses would be built.

If all goes to plan the construction of civil engineering services and top structures was planned to take place from mid-2023 until the end of 2026 or early 2027.

The public has until Thursday July 21 to comment on the draft environmental impact assessment report and environmental management programme.

According to the background information document sent to all interested parties, including residents, businesses, developers and the City – the scoping phase and the subsequent scoping report was finalised by environmental consultant Rughshana Daniels last year.

On Thursday April 1 Strandfontein Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association hosted a meeting via Zoom with the City’s human settlements department project manager, Bernardus Wentzel, who spoke about the draft Strandfontein Integrated Housing Development (SIHD) Framework, which included the building of approximately 1 400 breaking new ground houses on Erf 1212 (“Housing questioned”, Plainsman, April 7).

Marian Nieuwoudt, mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, said the City had provided comment on Maccsand’s proposal In November last year, during the scoping phase that is the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process.

She said the City received requests to comment on the draft assessment report and draft environmental management programme on June 22.

“The City will review these technical reports and provide further comment by the deadline of the public participation process,” she said.

Ms Nieuwoudt said there were a suite of approvals that must be in place before Maccsand can start any sand mining activity.

About three years ago Maccsand withdrew an application to sand mine a week after residents said: “No” at a public meeting at the Strandfontein community hall on July 10, 2018 (“Upset over sand mining plans”, Plainsman, July 18, 2018; “Sand miners withdraw application”, Plainsman, July 25, 2018).

In the past, Strandfontein residents and ratepayers have been vocal about barring any development without their input (“Big hopes for houses”, Plainsman, September 11, 2019).

Mario Oostendurp, chairman of the association, said they had distributed the background information document and would be commenting on the proposed plan to sand mine.