Seaboard ‘captured’

Cement trucks are parked in Ilford Road.

Residents have accused property developers of “capturing” the Sea Point, Fresnaye and Bantry Bay (SFB) Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, saying building of rampant developments persists.

Residents have been in uproar on the Sea Point For All Facebook page, sharing videos of images of the developments and the traffic in the area.

According to the SFB Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association website, the association aims to engage with relevant authorities to make the most of the services they provide and ensure that residents have a say in the decisions which affect them – an objective not all residents feel is being achieved.

Tessa Schlesinger, a Sea Point resident, urged residents to join the SFB Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association and vote for new members to come on the board.

“The SFB has been taken over by vested interests and those vested interests are in property, they do not care about the streets. It does not take a professional to serve on the board, just someone who is passionate about Sea Point.

“Building permission should have been refused but there was not enough resident interaction. These builders are building in order to make money from the rich.”

Ms Schlesinger continued: “It’s just a matter of ‘the right palms are greased’ and there is no opposition then they get away with it. In one way there is a shortage of accommodation and in another there is not, as it all depends on what you are willing to pay.”

The Atlantic Sun approached the SFB Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association for comment on the online allegations but the association could not respond in time for our deadline. We will publish their comments when we receive it.

Ms Schlesinger said she prefers walking through the Sea Point area as it is unpleasant to sit in traffic.

“In Sea Point we deal with different types of traffic, there are cars, buses and taxis. If you cater to sell luxury accommodation, you’re catering for people who have one or more cars which are too big for these narrow roads but if you cater for a middle or down market, those people are likely to use public transport.

“I have thought of solutions; there could be more one-way streets which would alleviate traffic congestion.”

Nicola Harris, who has been living in Sea Point for 20 years and is now a Kloof Road resident, said traffic is a nightmare. =

Ms Harris uses the roads daily as she drops off and picks up her children from school.

“It’s not only traffic coming from developments, there is no control over taxis, they stop anywhere, regardless of traffic behind them. Contractors take over the streets. One day a truck came reversing down Kloof Road – no traffic marshals were visible – and my husband’s car was smashed. These roads are narrow and there is traffic congestion all the time,” said Ms Harris.

Asked about the allegations being levelled against the SBF Residents’ Association, Ms Harris said: “There is more than one development, this is a money-making area, the developments are aimed at a particular market. A good ratepayers’ association would alert residents of what is happening in the area. There is a conflict of interest,” she said.

Ms Harris guided the Atlantic Sun down some of the problematic and congested roads. Trucks could be seen parking down narrow roads where developments are taking place.

Ms Harris said: “What if in a case of emergency we need to get a fire truck up here, they would not be able to pass through.”

She said she had taken this up with officials and was encouraged to make use of public transport.

Shayne Ramsay, Ward 54 councillor, said presentations to the ward committee on property and land use management issues have been arranged, to better inform the community of the laws and processes relating to development.

Jared Rossouw, co-director at Ndifuna Ukwazi, an activist organisation, said: “The problem in the area is not development. It is exclusive development and a reliance on cars. Residents against development are more often against any change at all. They don’t want other people to benefit from living in well-located areas in the same way that they do. If we are to transform our city, big changes are necessary that will affect us all. We desperately need more housing in well-located areas and even more density along main roads close to good schools, hospitals and services. The most efficient, sustainable cities in the world are even more dense than Sea Point is right now. Sea Point already has some of the best public transport in the city and congestion here is nothing compared to the hours that poor and working class people spend commuting into the city daily on dangerous and unreliable public transport,” said Mr Rossouw.

Brett Herron, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, said: “Densification will contribute to Cape Town’s longer-term sustainability in terms of our valuable natural, urban, and rural environments; as well as in terms of the City’s operational costs – be it to provide electricity, water, and sanitation, or public transport services.

“Our City is growing rapidly and we need more sustainable use of land. Development requires us to adapt to a rapidly changing environment in order to ensure that our city is sustainable and liveable for us and for our children and grandchildren. It is clear that Sea Point is, in terms of the City’s approved Densification Policy, one of the areas where densification is pursued and promoted thanks to the MyCiTi service and the array of social amenities in the area.”

He said that “by encouraging development upwards rather than outwards, densification helps to reduce the consumption of valuable resources.

“Higher densities accompanied by mixed-use development supports sustainable public transport services. Higher densities in appropriate locations, especially those close to urban opportunities such as services, facilities, jobs, and public transport, will make Cape Town more equitable and reduces travel distances and times, and the cost of transport.

“While promoting densification and a more efficient, integrated city to counter our apartheid legacy, the Densification Policy also recognises the important assets of our city and stipulates that the mountain skylines and views of the sea are defining elements. These views must be protected from inappropriate built forms, and a variety of erf and dwelling sizes must be promoted within any one area. The City’s Development Management Department takes this into account when assessing development applications.”