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Monday Aug 06, 2012

Forum criticizes Cape Town's secrecy on Princess Vlei

Mayor Patricia de Lille is not in the good books of the Princess Vlei Forum, which says it is time she addressed their frustrations, and gave them clarity on the city's plans.

At issue is whether or not a 900sqm shoppign complex will be built on the shores of Princess Vlei - a proposal that has been strongly opposed by both environmental lobby groups and residents of neighbouring suburbs who use the green area for baptisms and recreation.

The development of the land, which is of historical significance to the Khoisan and environment significance in the Cape Flats fynbos biome – one of the most critically endangered fynbos regions – has been in the offing since Insight Property Developers initially tried to buy it from the city in 1998.

At a press conference yesterday, Princess Vlei Forum leader Philip Bam said the mayor now needed to confirm whether or not the city would sell the land, and in so doing, allowthe development to go ahead.

"She doesn't respond to us and tells us to speak to [local government MEC Anton] Bredell. We don't want to hear from Bredell," he said.

Forum member Bridgette Pitt said the group kept getting "different stories" from the city.

"Our concern is that the whole issue can get lost in a tangle of bureaucracy, and then what happened with Chapman's Peak may happen with Princess Vlei," she said.

Bam said arguments that a mall would improve security held no water. "If malls make places safe, then there must be a mall on every corner in Lavender Hill," he quipped.

Bam said that the People's Plan for Princess Vlei would do way more good for the area.

"We want to preserve the little bit of memory and space we have.

"We want to develop the vlei, in partnership with the city, into a memory park where young and old can learn about Khoi heritage, the environment, and the history of the south of Cape Town."

He argued further that it was the city's responsibility to preserve areas like Princess Vlei.

Asked to comment, De Lille's spokesman, Solly Malatsi, said the decision on the Princess Vlei development had been referred to the provincial government.

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)

 
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