GCTCA robustly and formally objects to development on the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA)

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PO Box 31010
Grassy Park

28 April 2016
To: Minister Anton Bredell & Cllr Johannes van der Merwe

Dear Sirs,

Re: Rabicorp/Oaklands Development on the PHA

We have just had confirmation that the Oaklands development is to be in the SE of the PHA. It is true that this area is less horticulturally important than the SW corner where MSP Developments wanted to build an upmarket suburb in 2013. However, it is still far more valuable for its purpose as the overlay of an irreplaceable aquifer and for agriculture than as the site for unnecessary superior housing. Such housing should be built in the NW sector of the PHA, as recommended by Bredell below.

In January 2014, Bredell turned down the application by the City for the movement of the Urban Edge and the change in the land Use Designation from ‘Agricultural Land of Significant Value and Core 1’ to ‘Urban Development’ to permit the MSP development, giving the main reasons for his decision as:

  1. The agricultural land in the south-western sector of the PHA was observed to be productive and a provider of many job opportunities. The demarcation of the productive agricultural land by the Western Cape’s Department of Agriculture remains a very relevant consideration. The south-western sector has the most intensively farmed and productive agricultural land in the PHA – 64% of the application area is currently being actively farmed, whilst a further 20% has also been under cultivation in the past seven years.
  2. There is a definite gradation and division between poorer quality water areas in the northern sector of the PHA and areas of higher water quality in the southern sector, associated with the presence of the Cape Flats Aquifer. Geo-physical and climatic conditions make the southern sector of the PHA potentially the best horticultural land in the area. The PHA is located on an aquifer, available as a free water source for horticulture. The quantity and quality of this groundwater is best in the south of the PHA. The southern PHA areas are also closest to the cooling coastal breezes, a favourable condition in the hot dry summers.
  3. The northern sector of the PHA is under severe pressure from urban expansion (particularly the growth of informal urban settlements) and faltering agriculturally. The connectivity advantages of the north-western sector of the PHA with adjoining urban settlements are preferable for urban expansion to the areas in the southern sector.The PHA’s “agricultural viability line” as defined by the Department of Agriculture should therefore be adhered to for the purposes of urban development applications in the short term.

If there is an EIA in progress concerning the suitability of the proposed location of the Oaklands development, the PGWC Dept of Agriculture’s standpoint is hereby forcefully pointed out to you and should be clearly understood, as nothing has happened to change the wisdom of Bredell’s view in early 2014 that the southern sector of the PHA should not be covered in housing because of:

  1. its unique value in relation to the underlying aquifer which is such a vital source of good water in this water-scarce region and
  2. the permanent job opportunities it provides for horticulture, an essential element of food security for the Peninsula and surrounding areas.

The GCTCA sincerely hopes that sanity will prevail and that political and housing development greed will not be the victor at the extreme loss of food security and very scarce water supplies, as well as jobs. We look forward to your clear-thinking logical positive response and reversal of wrong decisions in order to please developers.
Yours faithfully,
Len Swimmer
Deputy Chairman

Source:PHA Food & Farming Campaign https://www.facebook.com/PHA4FoodFarming/timeline

Artists depiction of the proposed Oakland City to be developed on the Philippi Horticultural Area, City of Cape Town – Source: PHA Food & Farming Campaign




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