Parks issue clarified

2014-06-20 00:00

FOLLOWING an outcry from residents over a proposal that future development in the city could include high-rise flats in Alexandra and Dales parks, the Msunduzi Municipality has sought to clarify the issue.

The proposal is contained in a draft local area plan for the Pietermaritzburg central area. This is a broad planning framework that will inform the city’s town planning scheme. Residents still have time until June 30 to comment on the plan, which is available on the municipal website.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the intention was not to close down spaces for recreation.

She said that in the Alexandra Park option the proposed housing and other activities had been earmarked for a portion of the site that was steep and could not be used for traditional sports activities.

“The Alex complex is reaching ­capacity in terms of accommodating more sporting codes and a suggestion on how to accommodate more sports facilities would be to look at options up and downstream of Alex for new ­facilities which can be linked into a sporting ‘corridor’ along the river. In the study area such options could ­include Camps Drift and the Woodburn complex,” Mafumbatha said.

She added that in the Dales Park option, there would be a loss of an informal field in favour of consolidating sporting activities along the Msunduzi.

“By introducing the new river park along the Dorpspruit we’ve suggested taking ‘open space’ and through intervening the space will become more functional and usable,” she added.

Mafumbatha said it was important to understand the context of the plan in the greater Msunduzi area. She said the study area was 16 square kilometres, which represents two percent of the total area of the Msunduzi Municipality (649 square kilometres).

“This area therefore cannot fully satisfy the need for sporting and recreation spaces across Msunduzi. Whilst centrally located, additional facilities must be provided across the municipality and especially on the major public transport routes.

“In understanding what constitutes functional open space, a distinction must be made between recreation space and space suitable for sporting activities,” Mafumbatha said.

She encouraged residents to engage with the plan and make their comments.

“… Any redevelopment of these spaces will need to undergo further in-depth studies and public engagement processes prior to any implementation,” she added.

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