Community slams City decision

2015-06-09 06:01
An area around Clifton 4th Beach, known as the Clifton garages, has been approved for sale or lease in a multipurpose development. But locals say the approved proposal is not what they were given to comment on.

PHOTO: 
nicole mccain

An area around Clifton 4th Beach, known as the Clifton garages, has been approved for sale or lease in a multipurpose development. But locals say the approved proposal is not what they were given to comment on. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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A public participation process for the Clif­ton precinct upgrade has been dubbed “fundamentally flawed”.

This after the City of Cape Town council supported the in-principle sale or lease of sections of four erven, referred to as the Clifton garages.

The City-owned land between the Clifton bungalows and Camps Bay, which currently includes the Glen Country Club, Maiden’s Cove, a sports oval and garages for bungalow residents, is regarded by the City to be in a degraded state and provides somewhat limited access to the oceanfront for residents and visitors, says mayoral committee member for finance Ian Neilson.

The proposal suggests the sale of land for the possible development of a three-storey parking lot and over 25 000m² of retail space. It also looks at rationalising the facilities at the Glen Country Club and the Bungalows restaurant area.

A public participation process for a proposal to upgrade the area around Clifton 4th Beach closed in April (“Input for new plan”, People’s Post, 10 February).

Media reports have estimated the development is worth R100m.

The public participation process, which ran for just over a month, was “hardly a lengthy process”, says Clifton Organised spokesperson Janey Ball.

“It’s taken less than two months for the ­issue to go from public participation to full council,” she says.

The initial consultation process was only related to the in-principle sale or lease of these properties, Neilson says. It has met the necessary requirements. All comments received were included for consideration.

“This process has not been rushed.”

The Clifton upgrade is a project in the five-year development plan of the City. A number of City-led initiatives around the development have already been undertaken, including a precinct upgrade plan, the drafting of development guidelines and discussions with the provincial government on the feasibility of establishing a public-private partnership for this development, Neilson says.

But the report that was tabled in front of the council differed considerably from the one made available in the recent public participation process, Ball insists. The new plan suggested increased development compared to that which residents commented on.

The new proposal has changed specifications and caters for 40 bungalows and a boutique hotel, Ball says.

The council proposes the development of a residential area, in the same bungalow-style as the existing dwellings, to be located on the cricket oval site, Neilson says.

“The latter would be relocated to a more appropriate site in this area, where it would replace an unsightly car park. A proposed underground parking facility would be established out of sight, below the level of the current bowling greens,” he says.

“Most of the development that we foresee, which includes the establishment of a small commercial zone with a high street of sorts, is proposed to take place on the site that is already developed.”

Camps Bay Ratepayers’ Association chairperson Chris Willemse says the public was shown a “pathetically inadequate proposal” and the process has been “awfully ­irregular”.

“What the councillors saw is not what we saw. That makes it a fundamentally flawed process.”

A concept urban design framework is being drafted as a basis for public discussion.

“We are hoping that this framework will address the shortcomings,” Neilson says.

Discussions about the upgrade have not been rushed in any way, he insists.

“The garages are dilapidated, large areas of tarred parking are unsightly and buildings are below par. We are now embarking on an in-depth engagement about our proposals for this area which will inform the urban design and tender processes,” he says.

“We are, amongst others, suggesting that the area be developed for residential opportunities, an underground parking garage, retail facilities, and uses ancillary to these facilities as well as the redevelopment and relocation of sports facilities.”

Public engagement meetings are expected to take place this week

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