Owners demand roads

2015-09-01 06:00

Owners of unserviced plots below Elsie’s Peak have banded together and, after nearly a century of limited access, are asking for proper roads.

The Elsie’s Peak Ratepayers’ Association is putting together a proposal to request the City of Cape Town to develop Cliff and Glen­eagles roads, which would run parallel to Echo Road in Glencairn.

The proposal, says Association chairperson Claire Helsby, includes reports that suggest the roads could become big income generators for the City.

She estimates the cost of building the roads to be about R15m, but says the rates that would be generated by the 62 plots over a year could easily reach R3m once developed.

In addition, there are five plots on the two roads that are owned by the municipality, which she believes could bring in R5m if sold.

The property owners have been waiting almost 100 years for road access to their plots, Helsby explains. Some residents, who have built despite the lack of car access, walk up about 100 steps to reach their properties. The rest are unable to be developed, as there is not even a dirt road.

“We have a right to access our plots. We pay our rates for those plots. If you add up all the rates paid over the 100 years, that road should have been built long ago,” she says.

Mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron says a road has never been built because it’s not a priority for the City.

“The City’s long-term goal is to upgrade all unmade roads with a paved surface and adequate stormwater drainage,” he says.

“As the City’s capital budget does not provide sufficient funding to upgrade all unmade roads in the immediate future, Transport for Cape Town has to prioritise road projects. We can, however, upgrade an unmade road with a financial contribution from the private sector.”

The City prioritises unmade roads based on budget available, the developed erven on the unmade road, the social developmental objectives of developing the road and traffic and safety concerns, Herron says.

“There is an approved City policy, prescribing certain requirements relating to unmade roads. Should the owner or owners be prepared to fund the construction of a road, an agreement is entered into between the City and the owners, after which the approved road design may be constructed under the supervision of a professional civil engineer,” Herron says.

“100% private sector funding will qualify a road for immediate implementation.”
Helsby says the property owners have been fobbed off for years, but this is the first time all the owners have come together to unanimously champion their cause.
The proposal is currently circulating through the relevant departments, which will submit comments, before it works its way to council.

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