Houses on the cards?

2017-06-06 06:01
As children cross the field near the Freedom Park informal settlement residents are wondering about future plans for an upgrade to the area.PHOTO: gary van dyk

As children cross the field near the Freedom Park informal settlement residents are wondering about future plans for an upgrade to the area.PHOTO: gary van dyk

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Rumours of housing developments in Ottery are a cause for concern. Last week a group of residents called for clarity on rumours of a housing development on land surrounding the Freedom Park informal settlement.

One of the residents, who did not want to be named, says plans for this vacant land have been up in the air for a number of years.

“We need clarity from the City of Cape Town about its plans for this area,” he says.

“A few years ago we were told that it was going to be for low-cost housing to accommodate the people from the informal settlement, then they said it was going to be flats and it just leaves us in limbo.

“We also want to know if there will be any consultation with us in regards to any developments that happen here.”

One resident who is not fearing development is Keith Blake, known for his community work in the area, who feels that we should never forget the welfare of the less fortunate in society.

He explains that he became aware of plans for this area in 2015 and kept abreast of the City’s proposals for the area.

“I think that people lost sight of the council’s proposal for an upgrade to the Freedom Park informal settlement,” he says.

“Since then I made it my business to stay in touch with the City to get information about it and inform the community.

“Sadly, I have been criticised for daring to help these poorest of the poor and treat them with dignity.

“In the past few months rumours have been spreading with talks of development of 3000 low-cost housing units and now everybody has a lot to say.

“I try telling people what an upgrade will mean but they won’t listen. If you want an example of what an upgrade means look at what happened in the Flamingo informal settlement in Lansdowne. There is now a decent little town where all emergency vehicles can have access and where the City has control because of this.

“In my opinion, the upgrade will, when it does happen, restore the dignity and honour of our neighbours who have been living like animals in shacks.”

Construction soonBrett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development, says the only housing project currently planned for the Ottery area (ward 66) is at Edward Avenue, opposite the Bruce Road community hall.

“The appointment of a contractor is in the final stages and construction is expected to start on site soon,” he says.

“This project will deliver full A-grade engineering services and top structures to 104 housing units. The houses will mostly be double storey, with some single storeys being reserved for elderly or disabled ­beneficiaries.

“Strict quality controls will be in place as all units have to comply with the minimum standards prescribed by the Western Cape government’s human settlements department and have to pass inspections by the National Home Builders Registration Council.

“A landscaped park will also be built central to the development to ensure availability of quality open spaces.

“The development will be of a high standard and it will replace a vacant open space that is currently used for criminal activities. A negative impact on surrounding property values is therefore not anticipated.

“The cost of the project is approximately R30m, including all services, top structures and electricity.”

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