Green light given for toll plaza construction to begin

Chappies toll plaza gets green light
Cape Times
January 27 2012
By Melanie Gosling

Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle has given the go-ahead for construction on the Chapman’s Peak toll plaza to begin.

Workers began moving equipment on site on Thursday, in preparation to begin building the toll plaza that has drawn some of the greatest public opposition to a development Cape Town has seen.

This move to start work comes days after a mass protest on Sunday where 2300 Capetonians marched on Chapman’s Peak Drive to show their opposition to the building of the toll plaza and double-storey office on Table Mountain National Park land. Local residents opposing it say the authorities have never shown the need or desirability for the toll.

Carlisle said that his department had instructed the toll company Entilini to start construction. On Thursday residents expressed shock that building was under way, and said the premier’s office had written to them in December to say the public would be given 30 days’ notice before construction began. This assurance was in response to a lawyer’s letter from the Hout Bay Residents’ Association pointing out that it was unlawful to build on national park land.

Asked about the lack of 30 days’ notice, Carlisle said his department had instructed Entilini to start construction “within our road reserve”.

“The 30-day notice refers to the SANParks land, and will be given at the appropriate time,” he said.

Len Swimmer, chairman of the resident’s association said it was “totally irresponsible” of the MEC to give the go-ahead on the road reserve land, when the legal issue of building on SANParks land had not been settled. It could result in a “half-built” eyesore.

“This decision after the massive public protest march is a slap in the face to the public. Carlisle himself asked at the march, he said: ‘Hands up all of you who oppose the toll’ and then he said: ‘Right, that’s 90 percent’. And then days later he cocks a snook at the two-and-a-half thousand who marched in protest, and goes ahead,” Swimmer said.

Asked why he had given the go-ahead in the face of public opposition, Carlisle said. “I fully respect the concerns and objections that have been raised in recent weeks. In regard to many of them, I am also sympathetic, and very much wish that things could have been different. In every case, I or my staff have responded to those objections and concerns in detail.

“I feel sure that all reasonable Capetonians will also respect the position I find myself in, and understand the obligations I have in terms of due process and contract. Nothing has occurred or been set forth which allows me to alter or ignore either due process or contractual obligations. At all times I have said that I will proceed unless the courts order me to do otherwise.”

Philip Bam, vice-chairman of the Greater Cape Town Alliance, said on Thursday: “Carlisle is ignoring what the the people are saying and that is very reckless of him. He is also doing too much for the company.”

Residents, who are in the process of taking legal advice, say if they go ahead and get a court interdict to halt construction, the public will have to pay the company compensation through the province. – Cape Times


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