Bo-Kaap residents are seeing red over the development on 40 Lion Street.
Residents claim that the development in the area is causing serious damage to their heritage roads, homes and their environment.
On Wednesday morning, May 2, a driver lost control of a heavy truck and according to eyewitnesses, narrowly missed the children who were going to school.
According to resident and secretary of Bo-Kaap Civic Ratepayers’ Association, Jacky Poking, this is not the first time an incident like this happens.
“The first time this happened, a truck hit pipe water, resulting in a water burst and we had no water for a whole day. The second time it hit a street light and our street was in darkness and now this,” said Ms Poking.
According to Ms Poking, over 500 people objected to the development, raising concerns over a lot of issues.
Ms Poking went on to say that the residents requested a traffic plan from the City of Cape Town, wanting to know the exact plan on how they were going to build and ensure the safety and security of the residents, including school children in the area.
“We also requested a heritage study be done before the development and the company just went ahead with their work while we were still waiting for the tribunal to sit on the matter,” she said.
Ms Poking said the City of Cape Town promised to get back to residents once the issue comes to the tribunal so they can present their case.
“Blok was clever; they sent through two applications, which we both objected to but one application was approved. According to the City’s by-law from 2016, if you build on a site within what the City allows, you don’t have to ask anybody because the zoning allows them to go ahead without any further consultations,” said Ms Poking. The City told residents that the developer had an approved plan because they were not doing departures.
Residents have also raised an issue of constant noise, headaches and cracks in their homes caused by the drilling and jackhammering.
“The houses here are old, and the high blood pressure of the 75- year-old woman who lives near the construction site has sky-rocketed rapidly,” said one resident, Noor Osman.
Mr Osman said the City always claims to follow procedure and processes but ethically and morally, they are inconsiderate.
The residents said they complained to the developer about the issues and Blok said they will not respond to everyone.
According to residents, Blok sent residents letters, giving them tips on how to manage stress.
Communications officer for Blok, Colin Wardle, said the incident with the truck was the first and only incident of its kind on their site.
“Conversations with the principals of both St Paul’s Primary, Vista High School as well as eyewitnesses on site have confirmed that contrary to an unfounded allegation on social media, no children were involved or endangered by the incident,” said Mr Wardle.
He said safety in and around their sites is a serious and ongoing priority, and since construction at Lion Street site began last month, they have conducted safety presentations at the neighbouring schools and provided them as well as homes in the area with safety signage and explanations. “Ross Demolitions has concluded its internal investigation and is implementing a series of initiatives and training to prevent repeat or similar incidents,” said Mr Wardle.
Richard Bosman, the City of Cape Town’s executive director for safety and security, said Cape Town traffic services are aware of the incident in Bo-Kaap. He said Cape Town traffic services receives regular complaints in the CBD, particularly related to parking and those causing obstruction. “The City’s district roads team have indicated that they will will be inspecting the roads leading to the site of the development,” said Mr Bosman.