Necessary versus unnecessary developments

Dr Bernhard Ficker, Somerset West

It was with interest that I read the various letters regarding all the objections to the development
at Helderberg
College.

I came to the conclusion that there was basically nothing new in the objections at all.

As they say, there is nothing new under the sun.

The objection that farm land is now being developed is irrelevant, since most of the developments
around Somerset
West since it was a
small village, have been on previously designated farm
lands.

Seems like there are folk who are intent on victimising Helderberg College and preventing any development taking place on it.

It is clear that a number of folk are against any kind of development as a matter of principle.

Annie Non invites folk to “join the call to stop unnecessary development in our beautiful town”, but fails to give an indication of what exactly are necessary developments and what are unnecessary developments.

I note that you are asking local councillors for comment.

Maybe you could ask them to comment on what exactly constitutes “unnecessary developments”, since there are obviously some folk who believe that almost all developments are unnecessary.

Elden Swart, PR and marketing coordinator: Helderberg College, replies:

Helderberg College of Higher Education would like to reassure the community that the fears, which they have recently voiced in the Bolander (Letters, April 10 and April 17), have been noted and are being taken seriously.

Helderberg College of Higher Education offers accredited higher education degrees in accounting, communication, education, human resources management, psychology, theology and other certificate programmes, and thereby serves the community in meeting its educational needs.

The institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training, and its qualifications are accredited by the Council on Higher Education.

The College was established 126 years ago, and has been operating from the current campus for the past 91 years.

At that time, there were very few houses around the boundary of the college campus, and ever since, a lot of business and housing development has taken place, due to an increase in the Somerset West population and economic activity.

We empathise with the views and sentiments expressed by the community of Helderberg Estate on matters of traffic, farmland, environment, heritage, water, electricity, etc.

All these aspects are regulated by the various government authorities and laws.

We comply with the regulatory laws, such as the Heritage Western Cape and National Environmental Management Act.

The public participation process where required, has also been complied with.

No construction work has commenced.

The routes for construction traffic and programmes have not yet been determined, and this will be dealt with as part of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP).

The construction traffic management for services will be a temporary measure, and an Environmental Control Officer will be responsible for the monitoring thereof.

As part of the application process for the land rezoning, a traffic impact assessment was conducted, and advertised for public comment.

The Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) was advertised in accordance with the specific requirements of Heritage Western Cape (HWC), and the comments from the public were incorporated into the HIA report and recommendations.

The local community has also made representations to HWC, and were not addressed further by HWC.

The allegations of processes being bypassed are not accurate, as the college has followed all the rules and regulation set forth by the City of Cape Town.

Helderberg College would like to open a channel of communication to the community, as it seems that no attempt to contact the college directly was initially made before contacting the press.

Please feel free to email Elden Swart at: development@hbc.ac.za if community members would like to bring anything to our attention.