Furore surrounding Cape Town's proposed R140bn Wescape City

Posted On Tuesday, 16 April 2013 04:06 Published by eProp@News
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A new city, complete with police stations, universities and cemeteries, could soon rise on the edges of Cape Town.

Touted as the biggest urban development in the country, Wescape will provide homes to close to one million people just 25km from the city centre. The development is the brainchild of a Cape Town company, CommuniTgrow.

The company has proposed to build 200000 homes for lower-income earners, 33 hospitals and clinics, 370 libraries and community halls, 415 schools and 15 sports complexes on 3100 hectares of land near Melkbosstrand. The project is estimated to cost R140-billion over the next 20 years.

CommuniTgrow CEO Ruben Richards said the city council handed the proposal to the local government environment and planning MEC Anton Bredell for approval two weeks ago. But the project has been met with resounding objections from residents who claim that it will result in traffic congestion, pollution and crime — so lowering the value of their properties.

John Taylor, chairperson of the Melkbosstrand Ratepayers Association, said residents were not properly consulted. “All we have gleaned has been from press releases and documents left at the public library.

“According to most recent public statements by mayor Patricia de Lille, this project is receiving strong political support for speedy implementation,” said Taylor.  “This project is said to add a million people to the [100000 who already] live in the ‘red zone’ of the Koeberg nuclear reactor. “The poverty of Atlantis will be exacerbated by an increasing pool of low-income residents, far from any reasonable source of employment.”

Anti-nuclear activist Mike Kantey said the development would encroach into the Koeberg nuclear power station’s 16km emergency zone and that it would be difficult to evacuate so many people in case of a disaster.

Richards said residents’ “nightmares” were implausible. “We are not a bunch of idiots. The company is made of very successful professionals who have done huge projects and have enormous credibility,” said Richards. “We have put our entire plan on the website; it is a downloadable 400-page book for the public to see. We have got nothing to hide.”

Richards said South Africa has a backlog of 2.2million homes and that the rate of urbanisation in Africa will require 800 cities similar to the one proposed by his company. De Lille’s spokesman Solly Malatsi said: “The proposal is subject to the approval of the [local government MEC] who will set the conditions. The city cannot comment on any speculation regarding the development.”

Aziel Gangerdine, spokesman for the provincial department of environmental affairs development planning, said no formal application from CommuniTgrow has been received yet. “At this point Wescape is just a proposal. No application has been received by the department. What they are probably alluding to is what the process should be.” 

Source: The Times

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 10:08

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