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Wednesday Sep 25, 2013

Anger over Cape urban park property development

A committee set up by the City of Cape Town five years ago to manage the Two Rivers Urban Park says it was not consulted about plans to move ahead with the mega-development.

Panoramic composition of the area.

Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and chair of the steering committee that had been set up to oversee the massive project, recommended last week that the council give the goahead for the second phase.

This would involve the finalisation of the institutional arrangements that are needed before the final phase, which includes a mixed-use residential component of 20 000 housing units, can start.

But members of the Two Rivers Urban Park committee have cried foul, saying that there has been no consultation with them or tenants in the area. Liz McDaid, deputy chair of the committee, said: 'This is not a Two Rivers Urban Park project. This is the province and the city aligning themselves to take a piece of ground and trying to use it to make large amounts of money.'

Half of the 250 hectares along the banks of the Liesbeek and Black Rivers between Berkley Road and the N2 are to be developed in what has been described as a 'mega undertaking by the Western Cape government, the City of Cape Town and the private sector'.

The Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town own land within the development area.

Current tenants include Valkenberg, the Oude Molen eco-village and Alexandra Hospital.

McDaid said the project extended beyond the boundaries initially put forward and ignored the city's own agreement with the committee that councillors set up via a council resolution five years ago.

'This is a top-down project driven by private sector greed.'

McDaid said the committee had been asking for meetings with the province about the proposed development since 2010, but had been 'fobbed off '.

But Walker said she had met affected parties before the mayoral committee meeting to update them on the project's progress. She said the committee had been set up to look at the development of an urban park in a much smaller area than the one being considered for the mega development. Walker added that the proposals on the table were 'potential' plans, and would still require extensive consultation.

The mix of residential units was still up for discussion.

Walker acknowledged that the development of an 'active and desirable' site would be a challenge.

Although residents and affected parties in the immediate area would be consulted and involved, the project would benefit the greater Cape Town community as well, Walker said.

Cape Argus




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