News of the City’s proposed extension of Houmoed Avenue to Lekkerwater Road was not well met at their first meeting with invited and affected parties.
This meeting, held at Living Hope on Monday February 27, was presented by Chand Environmental Consultants, who are directing the necessary basic environmental impact assessment, and the City of Cape Town’s engineer Tony Vierida and Fred de Villiers.
The meeting was the first of the very early stages of the proposal’s public participation process.
Sadia Chand of Chand Environmental Consultants was tasked with keeping order and clarifying questions and answers during the meeting.
Invited residents from Noordsig and Milkwood Park spat tacks at the plan and called vehemently for the information to be shared beyond the small interest group of invited parties. They were assured by Ms Chand that their concerns were being heard and noted and that this meeting was designed to take feedback, and collect their insights.
Residents also cried foul about a proposal to run a road through the wetlands to facilitate easier access to the mall. They objected to the probability of rat runs being created through their sleepy suburbs, the possibility of delivery trucks and taxis being diverted past their homes and they raised security concerns about roads opening up pedestrian access to previously gated or secluded areas.
They also asked for protection of the eco-system as a whole and western leopard toads (which breed in the wetlands) in particular, and they asked for an overview of how this proposal – along with phase two of this plan – will fit into the City of Cape Town’s overall traffic plan for the far south as a whole.
The residents in particular asked that Noordhoek residents be let in on the proposals to allow them comment on an issue that would reshape the traffic flow through their neighbourhood.
In a nutshell, the City of Cape Town’s Transport and Urban Development Authority is proposing to extend Houmoed Avenue to Lekkerwater Road.
The City says this proposal aims to provide a traffic solution for the greater area; and is meant to alleviate congestion during the 30-month construction period of the Kommetjie Road Upgrade.
The proposed route extension starts at the end of Houmoed Avenue in the east, adjacent to Long Beach Mall, and links up with the northern end of Lekkerwater Road to the west, bypassing the residential suburbs of Milkwood Park and Noordsig.
The main focus, the City says, is to tie into Lekkerwater Road; so as to divert/split traffic loads along Kommetjie Main Road, thereby offering some relief during peak travelling times.
However, the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority says their motivation for the road is more than just the alleviation of congestion during construction.
Other motives for the new road include better transport circulation through the valley and creating a publicly accessible edge along the northern side of the formal project; and creating recreation opportunities alongside the wetlands. Rehabilitation of the wetlands was also mentioned as a side product of the plans.
The majority of the proposed route lies inside a proclaimed road reserve; however some sections extend to privately owned land – which the City would have to acquire.
Ms Chand confirmed that the City had privately approached the affected house owners with regards the expropriation of land for this project.
The current zoning of the various land parcels are single residential 1, general industrial 1 and open space 2.
More reasons offered by the City for the road extensions included the necessity of providing an improved access route for rapid response of emergency and municipal services to the community in general.
Mention was made of the new fire station being implemented at the Kommetjie Road / Wood Road intersection.
Also noteworthy is that the City is contemplating the extension of Houmoed Avenue from Lekkerwater Road to Fish Eagle Park.
This separate proposal, referred to as phase 2, will also be subject to an environmental process, where interested and affected parties will be engaged for comment. However, that process has not yet been opened.
The primary Houmoed Extension proposal requires comment from the heritage authorities in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act No. 25 of 1999.
This, Ms Chand, said would be undertaken by a specialist as part of the environmental process.
The aim of the basic environmental impact assessment is to identify feasible and reasonable alternatives, as well as to ascertain whether there are issues, concerns, benefits and/or opportunities associated with the proposed project.
To register as an interested or affected party, and find out more information, contact: Mellissa Mc James of Chand Environmental Consultants on 021 762 3050, by fax: 086 665 7430 or by email, on: firstname.lastname@example.org