The decision to upgrade a 16.5km stretch of Baden Powell Drive, at a cost of R29 million, is long-overdue, says ward councillor Daniel Christians.
When it announced the upgrade last week, the City of Cape Town said work was scheduled to start during the middle of this year and would be completed in December.
Mr Christians, councillor for Ward 81, which covers parts of Portland and Rocklands, said the re-alignment of Baden Powell Drive was first addressed in 2002 following the introduction of the Urban Renewal Programme in Mitchell’s Plain in 2001.
“Soon after, the Mitchell’s Plain Development Forum was established to spearhead developmental projects within Mitchell’s Plain. I was given the opportunity to deal with environmental matters and became the sector head for that sector.
“The Spine Road drop-off facility is a success story coming from the environmental sector. As early as 2002, recognition for a re-alignment for Baden Powell as a viable anchor project was sought. However, it did not receive the necessary attention as did the Rocklands Lookout Hill that abuts Baden Powell Drive,” he explained.
Mr Christians, who has been living in Rocklands since 1981, said in 2002 he was inspired by Nadia Stoffberg, who at the time was driving tourism in Mitchell’s Plain.
“Tourism for the area would promote economic growth while ensuring that economic benefits are more equitably distributed. However, this was not the case – there was no constant approach to tourism and ad hoc decisions were made.
“Employment growth is slower than economic growth with more and more people becoming unemployed. It has always been my passion to see Baden Powell Drive as a scenic route,” he added.
He said that previously the re-alignment of Baden Powell had received no attention in the City’s Integrated Development Plan, hence no budget provisions had been made for the re-alignment.
“Baden Powell Drive has been declared the coastal urban edge line. This line is drawn in order to protect the coastal biodiversity but it also effectively takes away the possible coastal development from the very people that now reside on the coast from Macassar to Strandfontein,” he said.
Mr Christians told the Plainsman the project was long overdue and that in June 2011, the then Planning and Environment Committee of the City had agreed to nodal development south of Baden Powell Drive which included Monwabisi, Mnandi, Blue Waters and Strandfontein. Nothing, however, materialised.
“The concept report on the re-alignment of Baden Powell Drive was served before Sub-council 12, on 22 May 2010. (It had already been) completed in June 2006 with the Record of Decision issued on 2 August 2006, valid for only five years.
“Thereafter it would have followed the preliminary and detail design; preparation of tender documentation and tender and finally construction with a total estimated cost of R77.89 million,” he said.
Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development, said the project included major and minor patching of the road where needed; smoothing out sections of the road where moles have caused undulations in the road and road shoulders; clearing the road shoulders of encroaching vegetation and sand; replacing guardrails where necessary and resurfacing the full length of the road after all the preparation work.
“The residents on Spine Road between Strandfontein and Swartklip roads will be affected by increased traffic volumes along Spine Road because traffic travelling in the direction of the N2 will be detoured onto Spine Road from the Strandfontein Road intersection up to Swartklip Road. For traffic travelling in the direction of Muizenberg, a detour will be provided along Lukannon Drive for part of the 16.5 kilometres,” he said.
He said should Lukannon Drive be used as a detour, the City may have to make a portion of it a one-way in the direction of Muizenberg as it is a narrow road and would not safely be able to carry the additional traffic in both directions.
“Road users would therefore not be able to enter Lukannon Drive at Strandfontein. We also urge motorists to look out for notifications which will be displayed at their sub-councils before the work begins.
“This information will also be available from the ward councillors. Adverts notifying residents of the works will be placed in local newspapers. Flyers will also be distributed at the Strandfontein Road intersection,” he said.