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Thursday Sep 13, 2012

Environmental protest grows over proposed Colbyn delopment

The DA is planning to petition the Gauteng legislature to prevent development on the edge of the Colbyn Nature Valley after its petition to the Tshwane Metro failed.

A view of the Colbyn Nature Valley which contains environmentally sensitive peat and wetland areas.

In February concerned residents and stakeholders started a petition against the proposed development and inclusion of the Colbyn Golf Driving range into the Hatfield Node Urban Development Framework (HNUDF).

DA councillor Siobhan Muller, in whose ward the Colbyn Nature Valley falls, said the HNUDF proposed that a 30-storey park-and-ride facility with motor industry retailers on the ground floor be erected on the property now occupied by the Colbyn Golf Driving range. The range is intended to form a buffer against development to protect the environmentally sensitive peat land and wetland in the valley, she said.

More than 2 000 signatures were collected and a petition was submitted to council in April by Muller.

Muller said she was given 24 hours' notice last month of the petition appearing before the Section 79 standing committee and asked to arrange for two or three of the petitioners to appear before it.

Documents presented to the committee incorrectly stated that she had not commented on the petition when she had never been asked for comment, despite having followed up on the status of the petition with the Speaker's Office on two occasions.

When Muller appeared to defend the petition, none of the petitioners were present as they had not received notice from the Section 79 standing committee or the Speaker's office to appear.

Muller noted before the committed that the petition was against the proposed development of a park-and-ride facility next to the peat land, and not a rezoning application as the document stated.

The committee turned the petition down on the grounds that there was no rezoning application lodged as yet with city planning

A spokesman for the Tshwane Metro Council said it was investigating the allegations made and would reply when the necessary responses were received from the relevant departments.

"The only way forward is to take the petition to the provincial legislature to protect this environmentally sensitive jewel of our city" said Muller.

Pretoria News

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