New development proposed for remainder of Imhoff Farm

A mixed-use development, covering an area larger than 50 rugby fields, planned near Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie has far-south civics worried.

The proposed R1.56 billion development by Red Cliff Property, estimated to take 30 to 50 years to complete, comprises the remaining 58.63 hectares of Imhoff Farm and will include retirement, residential, retail and educational amenities, as well as a conservation area.

The main access point will be off Kommetjie Main Road at the Slangkop intersection.

Managing director of Red Cliff Property, Gerhard van der Horst, said he wanted to create a sustainable live, work and play environment to attract new investment and create jobs.

“It is estimated that the project will inject R1.56 billion into the area, and create more than 6600 jobs during its construction phase. The operational phase will contribute R330 million to the local economy with a further 604 employment opportunities for locals,” he said.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said the land use application for a rezone to a sub-divisional area had yet to be submitted to the City and had not yet been advertised.

According to the pre-application scoping report, which is part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA), Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) lies to the north and south west of the site and Ocean View, Blue Water Estate and Kommetjie are next to it.

The site is the only undeveloped link between the northern and southern parts of the park.

The Bokramspruit stream and the Paddocks drainage lines are on site and the Wildevoëlvlei is adjacent to it. There are also two types of endangered fynbos, one critically endangered, on the site which abuts a natural world heritage site.

Patrick Dowling, the acting chairman of the Kommetjie Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (KRRA), said the community was very worried about traffic congestion, especially on Kommetjie Road between Capri and Masiphumelele and the development would cause a further bottle-neck.

However, Mr Van der Horst said most retailers were restocked early in the day or during off-peak hours and with more shops in Kommetjie residents wouldn’t need to travel far.

“This should mitigate most of the traffic concerns,” he said.

Mr Dowling said the green belt linking the northern and southern ends of the TMNP was important for a healthy ecosystem and wildlife movement.

But Mr Van der Horst said he intended to leave an area of 22 hectares as open space, including the green belt. Close to 55% of the total development area would be open space, he said.

Mr Dowling said the development suggested elitism, exclusion, privacy, high cost and consumerism, indicating large carbon, water and waste footprints as well as widening social divisions. The association wanted to know how these would be mitigated and how development would support the site’s world heritage buffer zone status.

Due to several other developments in the area, he said, it was likely the main watershed for Wildevoëlvlei would be under severe pressure.

The KRRA had always opposed gated estates, irrespective of the alleged market demand, as they were at odds with the area’s village ethos, which had been celebrated for more than a century, he said.

The public used a minor provincial road cutting across Imhoff Farm to walk to the beach, and it should remain accessible, he said.

Mr Van der Horst said he had completed several other developments in the area and would make sure steps were taken to ease the impact on Wildevoëlvlei.

Sunnydale Ratepayers’ Association chairman, Chris Dooner, echoed Mr Dowling’s traffic concerns, adding that the development was likely to draw work seekers to cramped communities.

“Masiphumelele is already overcrowded and its services overloaded to the extent of imminent failure in some cases, so it will be appreciated if the development includes the provision of the additional services required to cater for the inflow of job seekers.”

But Joey Laffey, of Ocean View, said the proposal was a “fantastic” idea and would create jobs.

“The Ocean View community has many diverse skilled workers but there are no jobs available,” she said.