Residents angered by start of construction

St Cyprians School has begun construction on the Upper Orange Street field in a multi-million rand upgrade but the surrounding residents are not happy.

Residents of Upper Orange Street are angry that despite them having raised their concerns, construction started at the Upper Orange field that is set to become St Cyprian’s School field.

Dries Botha, who is acting as spokesperson for the group of disgruntled residents, said communication with the school has also stopped.

Last month the residents raised their concerns about the piece of land that is owned by the Department of Public Works but zoned for educational use.

Once developed, the field will be shared by St Cyprian’s School and Good Hope Seminary School. The upgrade project is set to cost St Cyprian’s R14 million and be completed next year (“Sports field upgrade concerns residents”, Atlantic Sun, September 6).

Mr Botha, who lives close to the field, said construction at the site had begun earlier this month. “The construction commenced during the school holidays when the school was obviously unavailable for comment or response.

“In the evidently rushed action, this field was almost completely destroyed in less than two days, leaving dead and confused animals in its wake. This action, lacking any sense of concern for consequences, has now given the community an understanding of the school’s self-serving priorities.

“In the rushed exercise, two heritage protected trees have already been felled. At least one of the trees was completely healthy.

“I have taken it upon myself to create awareness within the community by knocking on doors. People are outraged. The sheer concept of replacing natural vegetation with plastic in this day and age seems backward. This is a contradiction for a school that prides itself on being cutting edge.”

Barry Smith, of the City Bowl Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, said they would support the residents in any objection against the field upgrade.

John May, project manager at St Cyprian’s School, said the school was currently reviewing its legal options and that he was therefore unable to comment at this time.