Canalisation of Baynespruit stream still on hold

2015-02-27 00:00

TWO more years have been added to ­Raisethorpe and Northdale residents’ already 30-year-long wait for the full canalisation of the Baynespruit stream.

In the agenda of the last Msunduzi executive committee meeting held on February 19, a new budget of over R11 million was proposed to ­reinstate the project — but that may only happen in 2017.

Residents who live on the banks of the stream are up in arms — and have been for many years — as the widening river has eroded the soil from where they have put up fences or left large parts of their properties inaccessible. Originally two metres wide, the river, which has two sources in Northdale and Bombay Heights, has widened to almost 10 metres in some areas.

Deccan Road resident Hari Singh said he has been reporting the soil erosion at the back of his home since 1972, when they moved into the premises. “Every time we report it to the municipality, they say there is no money,” Singh said.

A property owner in Ishwari Road, who asked not to be named, said she has lost more than half of her usable land to the river and does not have direct access to the property.

“Access is through the middle of a neighbour’s yard. Neither the neighbour nor I get any ­reduction in our rates for this inconvenience. During storms, flooding and soil erosion is ­rampant,” she said.

According to an e-mail sent to DA Ward 30 councillor Jaiheen Singh by Msunduzi Municipality engineer Wiseman Thabethe, a report was submitted last December which has been approved to resuscitate the canalisation project, but “unfortunately everything would be from scratch”. The e-mail states that for any construction to take place, there must be a Record of ­Decision and a water licence must be acquired, which takes more than 18 months. “Due to these processes, the implementation of this project can only start in the 2016/2017 financial year should everything go as planned,” Thabethe said.

Parts of the river alongside Dolphin Avenue had already been canalised when the project first started 10 years ago.

However, the municipality was put under ­administration and the project suspended when it was set to be re-implemented in 2010.

Now, five years later, the validity period of the contract has lapsed, leaving the municipality unable to use the same contractor it appointed then.

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