Impact will be felt

Chris Thorpe, Paardevlei

As a long-time resident of the affected area and a keen environmentalist I wish to express my concern at the proposed development of Helderberg College land adjacent to Waveren Avenue, Helderspruit Avenue and close to the resevoirs. There are the issues associated with the impact on the neighbourhood: traffic on narrow roads, blind corners and roads simply not designed for additional capacity, and of course increased crime during development.

If the college wishes to press ahead with development why would access not be provided directly through the college? Presumably for exactly the same reasons that the neighbours are contesting this. It would be manifestly unfair therefore to burden the neighbourhood with these issues.There are the major effects this will have on the environment.

The area in question abuts the well managed Stellar Protea farm and Helderberg Nature Reserve and provides a buffer between the urban edge and the nature reserve.

I have evidence of Cape leopard both in the nature reserve (on West Peak) and indeed inside the Helderberg College property very close to the area earmarked for the proposed development.

Directly on the area proposed for development I have either directly observed, or have evidence of the following: caracal, large Cape grey mongoose, genet cats, Cape grysbok, duiker, porcupine, ratel or honey badger, Otomys.

There are a number of endemic species of bird, some of which are quite rare. The Cape siskin has been observed adjacent to the reservoir as have sugar birds, and malachite sunbirds. There is a pair of spotted eagle owls that regularly nest and raise their young in the area in question.

The current poor land management practices in the college are presumably a function of inadequate funding and one may assume that the development and incorporation of the land in question is an attempt to ameliorate the funding shortfall. This is a separate issue to the development itself, but the development of the area should not be allowed to be a way of avoiding proper land management and conservation of our natural heritage. For the above reasons I am strongly opposed to the application for rezoning and development.