Sub-council moves to close ’Plain’s lanes

Wolfgat Sub-council is working towards closing all 269 lanes in Mitchell’s Plain.

Solomon Philander, councillor for Ward 79 (Beacon Valley, Eastridge and the Town Centre), who chaired the last monthly sub-council meeting at the Lentegeur administrative office on Thursday October 18, asked that a comprehensive report, detailing the number and location of lanes in Mitchell’s Plain and how best to go about having them closed, be sent to the councillors.

The City of Cape Town first tabled a motion to close lanes in Mitchell’s Plain in 2013, when a pilot was started.

During the pilot phase, 55 out of the 57 lanes which formed part of the pilot for Portland and Westridge were closed. The remaining two could not be closed due to residents whose properties abut the lanes either being in arrears with their municipal bills, they could not agree who should apply for the closure or neither neighbours wanted to apply to have the lanes closed.

Wilson Baartman, head of the City’s property management department, said permanent lane closures had to be announced in the government gazette, as it was public space, belonging to the government.

He said there had to be a condition stipulating that neighbours had 24-hour access to the lane.

Eddie Andrews, Ward 78 councillor (Westridge and Portland), and mayoral committee member for area south, said they had seen positive results as a result of lane closures. “The pilot project undertaken has seen the reduction of crime and antisocial activity in those streets where a particular lane was closed, barring thoroughfare,” he said.

He proposed that applications to have lanes closed which had been rejected, be reviewed.

He appealed to owners of properties abutting remaining lanes to reach consensus as to who would formally make an application to the City to have lanes closed “to ensure a safer Mitchell’s Plain”. “This is imperative as the City needs to enter into a lease agreement with an applicant, because this is delaying the remaining lanes identified to be closed,” he said. “Sub-council has a strong view that all of the lanes must be closed.”

The City’s property department is due to start on the second phase, for which they need to seek funding.

Mr Philander asked that before the next sub-council meeting, officials meet to discuss the way forward, that the report be circulated and consensus is reached next month.

The Wolfgat Sub-council, which comprises Ward 78, Ward 79, Ward 81 and Ward 82, can be reached at 021 444 8696. The next sub-council meeting takes place on Thursday November 22 at the sub-council chambers, off Merrydale Avenue in Lentegeur, at 10am.