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Monday Oct 23, 2017

Cape Town unveils inner-city housing plans

Capetonians have been given an opportunity to engage with City of Cape Town plans for the development of sites in Salt River, Woodstock and the inner city for affordable and inclusionary housing.

The city held three open days at the Science Centre in Observatory at which people were able to interact with officials and study maps of the 11 city-owned sites.

They will be developed by the private sector and are all within 5km of Cape Town's CBD.

Brett Herron, mayco member for Transport and Urban Development, says the announcement of the plan to develop prime land for lower-income residents near the CBD is "momentous".

"It marks a break with our apartheid past where poorer families are confined to the city's fringes, far away from economic opportunities. We estimate that 4 000 lower-income households - with a monthly income of between R3 501 and R15 000 - will move into these units."

The city wants the developments to house a mix of income groups to "create integrated communities".

"We also want to see tenureblind designs - housing units of similar design, quality and architecture so that a visitor could not distinguish between units meant for lower- and higher-income groups.

"This is one way of building inclusive communities."

The city has set a minimum number of social housing units for each site. Homes will be allocated based on the council's housing allocation policy.

Herron says the starting point for a beneficiary is to register on the housing database. A percentage of the units will be allocated to people, already on the database, who live in the area where the project is, while the rest of the units will go to people who have been on the database the longest.

The city will follow a partnership approach to collaborate with all stakeholders and with people who live and work in Woodstock and Salt River.

People attending the first of the open days had mixed reactions to the plan.

Some were excited and hopeful, while others were more sceptical. Most said they had registered for housing but had received no response, which meant they did not know whether they were on the database or not.

Lettie Visser, 55, of Observatory, said she had had trouble finding a house. "The rent is quite high where I stay and I've been renting for 37 years. When attempting to buy a house, it's either my income is too low or they come up with another reason as to why I cannot buy a house. I cannot take out a loan due to my low income.

"I'm really excited about this project and hope that it will be a success."

Loren Williams, 21, of Salt River, said: "I think the project will be helpful for a lot of people because we have been struggling with high rents for the past few years."

Samantha Williams, 38, was more sceptical: "Housing opportunities are given to people outside Salt River and Woodstock. It should only be applicable to people in those areas. I'm a little disappointed that I have to apply and be on a waiting list. I'm not even sure if I will be able to afford these houses."

Angelique Delafontaine, 68, said her disabled son, Allen, had been on the database waiting for a house for 22 years.

"My son is a paraplegic and has been waiting for so long that he has almost given up. He cannot even have a girlfriend because there is no privacy. He stays with me and sleeps on the balcony because there is not enough space for both of us.

"It will bring joy to my heart knowing that he has his own house and is okay."

Kamilla Collins said of the initiative, it was "about time for our generation". She added: "I hope it will succeed. I pay R6 000 rent every month, and that is too much."

Zulfa Abrahams is the mother of five children, four of whom are at school.

"I get paid R6 000, and R4 200 goes towards rent. I have to take care of my kids and the house with what's left. I'm in a situation where my geyser has broken and my landlord isn't even bothered to fix it. My electricity bill has increased due to that. I hope for my own sake this project works.

"There's a big need for affordable housing in the city. I'm glad that the city is coming to the party and is starting to do something. I see how hard things are for my friends who live in Woodstock. I hope for their sake that this project will work."

Speaking to the residents, it was apparent that many were confused as to how the city would allocate the housing.

Ndifuna Ukwazi and Reclaim the City, which have been running a hard-hitting and thoughtful campaign for affordable housing, welcomed the identification of the sites, which they said was long overdue.

Ndifuna Ukwazi said: "It may not solve the housing crisis but it is a step in the right direction and shows good intentions from local government. We will, however, reserve our celebrations until we see these developments being built.

"We would also like to see engagement with the local communities in order to make these projects a success." Reclaim the City echoed these sentiments.

Bidders must submit their proposals for the sites by February 27. The proposals will be screened by the city's bid evaluation committee, and bids that meet the conditions will be open for public viewing and voting.

An exhibition will be held where the residents and interested parties will be able to see what the bidders are proposing for each site.

For more information about the sites, see http:// goo. gl/ NBoCWc. The prospectus provides a strategic overview of what the city envisions.

  • Woodstock erven among sites to be developed for low-cost housing

    Brett Herron, mayco member for Transport and Urban Development, says the following city-owned sites will be developed for affordable housing:

    Erf 12814 in Pickwick Road in Salt River. The site covers about 3.3 hectares and is a few hundred metres from Victoria Road where residents have access to minibus-taxis and buses.

    Woodstock Hospital site in Victoria Walk. The site is 18 411sqm and within walking distance of MyCiTi bus stops and Victoria Road where residents have easy access to minibus-taxis and other bus services.

    Woodstock Hospital Park opposite the hospital. The redevelopment must include a public open space and incorporate the creche that operates from this site.

    Erf 14888 in New Market Street in Woodstock. The site is 8 483sqm and is next to the MyCiTi bus Route 261 that operates along New Market Street.

    Erf 5667 in Canterbury Street in the inner-city. The site is 2 730sqm and is within walking distance of higher-education facilities, shops, MyCiTi bus routes and other public transport. The site is currently leased to Fruit and Veg City.

    Herron said another three sites had already been allocated to social housing institutions for the development. The statutory land-use applications were under way and the city expected construction to begin "in due course". They are:

    Two erven along Pine Road and six erven along Dillon Lane in Woodstock. The Pine Road development will start first, with the Dillon Lane development as the second phase.

    The Salt River Market in Albert Road will be a mixed-use development with a combination of affordable housing - from social housing (subsidised rental units for households with a monthly income of less than R15 000) to GAP rental housing (for households with a monthly income of between R3 500 and R20 000) to retail and office space.

    And Herron said two sites had been identified for Cape Town's first inner-city transitional housing projects:

    The development of a portion of the Pickwick site, on the corner of Pickwick and Copperfield roads in Salt River, for transitional or semi-permanent housing is already under way. The development will initially house residents who are currently living on the Pine Road site.

    Erven 12010 and 12011 in James Street in Salt River will initially be developed as transitional housing for those residents who are living at the Salt River Market.

    Herron said: "Two cityowned sites in the Woodstock area - one in Upper Coventry Road and the other also in Pine Road - as well as a cityowned site consisting of eight erven along Upper Canterbury Street in Gardens, will be available for development at a later stage."

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