Flames fan over station

2017-08-01 06:00

If the community of Masiphumelele “does not want” a fire station, the City of Cape Town’s safety and security directorate “will find another [community in need of the facility] to relocate the project to”.

This is City officials’ response to concerns that the development of municipal facilities will replace housing on a Kommetjie Road site.

Masiphumelele community worker Rosemary Milbank says the site, named Solole, was bought for affordable housing but, based on reports at local community meetings, will now be used for municipal facilities – such as a trauma unit and Law Enforcement office – with little public consultation taking place.

In addition, facilities such as police stations and the False Bay Hospital are already available to the community which is instead in need of housing and municipal services, she says.

The City started the process of building a fire station on the site following a devastating fire in Masiphumelele in 2015 (“Site for Masi fire station”, People’s Post, 8 December 2015).

The decision to build a fire station in Masiphumelele was based on a study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research on the placement of fire stations to best serve the communities, particularly those vulnerable and prone to fires over the next 18 years.

This study revealed a lack of coverage for the Ocean View and Kommetjie area as a result of the expansion of these areas, JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services, explains.

“The City has indicated for two years now that it plans to build a fire station in the vicinity of Masiphumelele because of the dire need for this service in the area. If, for whatever reason, the community feels that they do not want this facility in their area, the Safety and Security Directorate will find another area to relocate the project to, as funding has already been secured.”

Smith confirms that the fire station will include a trauma room and training yard, which is a standard requirement of such a facility, as well as some basic medical ­facilities.

“The station will be equipped to stabilise walk-in medical, trauma and antenatal cases, as well as be equipped with intermediate or advanced life support to respond to Ocean View and Masiphumelele, notwithstanding any fire-related calls within these areas. This will save lives and give residents access to emergency medical assistance,” he says.

“There are no immediate plans or budget for a Law Enforcement office,” Smith adds.

The planning framework for the provision of new and additional housing for the residents of Masiphumelele has not been finalised yet, says Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development.

“The fire station will not take up the whole site, but only a portion of the land – meaning, the rest of the site will be available.

“In the meantime we are also investigating the acquisition of other erven and making other land available in and around Masiphumelele for residential development to alleviate the housing need,” he says.

Smith adds that it is “not a case of a fire station instead of housing” and that a public participation process for the rezoning of the site has just closed.

“If the fire station is not built, then the same budget would be taken elsewhere to build another fire station in one of the other areas that need it urgently, such as Nomzamo, Langa or Sir Lowry’s Pass Village. If for whatever reason the fire station did not proceed at Masipumelele, the funding would immediately be repurposed for one of these fire stations.

“The fire station will only take up a portion of the erf,” he says.

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