Stop Paardevlei precinct plan

These notices on the fence of the Paardevlei Precint advise the public of the City of Cape Towns mixed use development plans for the area.

Sonya Rademeyer and Elmarie Malek, Friends of Paardevlei Dam

While driving towards Builder’s Warehouse last week, we noticed three papers attached to the fence across from KIA garage off the R44.

On closer inspection, we discovered that this was the official development application notice of the final environmental impact assessment report (FEIR) with respect to obtaining provincial government approval to proceed with the construction phase of Precinct Two – mixed use development – of the Paardevlei Township.

Precinct Two includes the whole of Paardevlei and wetlands area and the adjacent land up to the R44 and the Old Paardevlei Road.

We would like to urgently alert the broader Helderberg Basin community to these notices posted by the City of Cape Town.

The full document is available for public review and stakeholder comment from April 21 to May 22.

We meet many people twice daily who enjoy walking around the Paardevlei Dam and who appreciate this open space, with its bird and animal life – including free roaming springbok – as the last remaining open green area left for Helderberg basin residents, which is not yet built up.

Having perused the extensive document, we have noted the following concerns:

1. A new proposal for high density housing directly adjacent to the pathway around the dam surprisingly appears in the traffic assessment specialist report of the City of Cape Town (Appendix 6.4), dated February 2017, and is the only recent report amidst the five other specialist reports which all date back to 2013.

2. An apparent lack of engagement with the public.

This 30-day period is the final consultation opportunity for public comment of a process that commenced in 2011. Previous opportunities for public comment were limited to a 40-day period in December 2012 and another 40-day period in January 2014.

In July 2015, the entire property was purchased by the City of Cape Town, who has now lodged this final application prior to construction commencing with permanent impact on Paardevlei and its surroundings. The only public participation noted in the entire document (Appendix 5.4) reflects specialist inputs – seven departments from the City of Cape Town, and one report by Cape Nature – as well as a letter of decision by the Heritage Foundation.

With the exception of one individual, there appears to be no other public input noted in the entire period from inception in 2011, to date.

While we acknowledge the extensive technical reporting, the lack of evidence of public participation raises concern as to adequacy of efforts made to engage the broad community towards such an irreversible process.

A stakeholder is defined as “any person or group of persons whose live(s) may be affected by a project”.

The full FEIR document is available in Somerset West Library and on the Strategic Environmental Focus website.

To comment online, visit www.sefsa.net, register online and go to precinct 2 mixed-use development.