Green light for Uitkamp

TygerBurger

November 30, 2011

Esme Erasmus

“It is a sad day for Durbanville”.

This was the reaction of community and political leaders after the environmental authorisation for the proposed Uitkamp development on Clara Anna Fontein outside Durbanville was granted last week.

It was granted late Thursday 24 November on the very last day that such environmental authorisation on a development may be granted before the festive season.

The agricultural land consisting of two portions of 127ha and 107ha respectively is adjacent to Aurora and opposite of D’Urbanvale.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA & DP) in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (Nema) has granted environmental authorisation on certain conditions. A decision in terms of the Land Use Planning Ordinance (Lupo) must still be taken. Both processes will be followed by a period of appeal.

The portion of 127ha is used for grazing, while the portion of 107ha is being run as a game reserve and consists of the farmhouse, conference and tourist facilities.

The preferred development alternative of about 700 houses in total, will consist of 348 single residential units 51 smallholdings, 125 group housing units and a retirement village with 176 houses.

There will also be provision for office and estate facilities, as well as a school campus of 8,8ha on which Chesterhouse School will build its high school campus.

The parents of the school have been encouraged at a recent meeting by the project manager of Uitkamp, Alwyn Laubscher, as well as an action committee of the school to write letters in approval of the development to counteract possible objection and an appeal, which may drag out the process.

The development has met with strong objections from local authorities and residents.

Several community organisations have already indicated to TygerBurger that they plan to appeal against the Nema decision. Several readers of TygerBurger have also spoken out against the development (see letters page).

Taki Amira, chairman of the Durbanville Heritage Society (DHS) also councillor and resident in the area for years, as well as chairperson of the Good Hope Subcouncil said “it is a sad day for Durbanville”.

“Views and vistas are part of our heritage and we at the DHS will always try our best to protect these and fight any attempt to destroy what little is left of the people’s right and inheritance.

“Unhappily there are others where this is of lesser importance than the environment and our heritage. This is a desecration and a short-sighted decision. However, applications must still be made for rezoning and there again we will oppose at every step.”
George Sieraha of the Durbanville Community Forum, said the forum is definitely going to lodge an appeal.
“The Uitkamp development has never been in the spatial development framework. It was never the vision of the City to develop Uitkamp.
“The decision taken by Mayco on 1 December 2010 to give the thumbs up for deelopment has alerted civil society and communities throughout the City that certain members of the current administration have little regard for the urban edge.
“Mayco has stated that this development would not have been recommended had the land been proved to be viable agricultural land.
“Had they bothered to consult the City’s own documents that accord statutory protection to this area as Clara Anna Fontein it is designated as a celebration edge.
“What about the report by City’s planning and environment portfolio committee (Pepco) dated 15 April 2008, which quite clearly states that no urban edge alignment will occur for Uitkamp?” he asked.
Linda de Vries, chairperson of the Aurora-Vergesig Community Forum, said the wishes and welfare of the existing community is ignored in favour of revenue.
“We will be appealing the decision, because we find no justification for Council to amend the urban edge so soon after the spatial development plan was drawn up with the full participation of the public.
“It would appear that the new Council policy is to ignore public input,” she said.
Colin Murphy, chairperson of the Aurora Neighbourhood Watch, said “the claim that the development will create jobs, which will decrease the social circumstances leading to crime, simply cannot be supported”.
“It is our experience that there is a strong correlation between the use of casual labour as employed by large construction projects and increased crime,” he said.
Interested and affected parties have the right to appeal in writing against the decision to the minister. An appellant must lodge a written notice of intention to appeal with the minister within 20 days of 24 November. An official Notice of Intention to Appeal form must be used.
The formal appeal must be must be submitted within 30 days of the lapsing of the abovementioned 20 days. This must also be on an official Appeal Form.
Forms are obtainable from the minister’s office on 021 483 3721 or send an email to JaapdeVilliers@pgwc.gov.za. View www.dougjeff.co.za.

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