Speeding fines the last straw

2012-03-15 00:00

AMBER Valley, the prestigious retirement village in Howick, has threatened to slap hefty speeding fines on residents who dare to flout the 30 km/h speeding limit.

This has enraged some residents who feel that the body corporate has gone too far in regulating the large retirement village that adheres to strict eco-values.

The village, which has over seven hundred units, is the largest in Howick and it has a reputation of offering excellent facilities.

But below the surface many elderly residents are furious at the way the rules and regulations have made it seem like a police state. The speed limit was imposed a while ago, but the furore erupted when the cameras were installed to capture images of traffic offenders.

One resident who did not want to be named said: “This place is like a luxury prison. We told the body corporate we would refuse to pay the fines.

“This place needs to be more transparent and has to communicate more with the residents.

“We came here to retire in peace, not fight with body corporate over their petty rules.”

Board trustee Ron Nicholson said most residents were in favour of the speed limit and cameras. He said: “I don’t know what the fuss is about; in fact none of our residents have received fines.

“We received the cameras for free from a company that will monitor the traffic. They impose the fines and earn revenue.

“In theory we will get 20% of the revenue they generate. Our main aim was to target the contractors and casual visitors who speed in and out with their 4x4s.”

Nicholson said the fines of R35 000 that were mentioned were exaggerated.

“The fines are designed on a sliding scale. If you travel between 50-60 km/h then you will pay R750 and upward.”

Amber Valley general manager Ian Bishop said the fines were comparable to the municipal fines.

He said: “We considered the option of speed humps, but decided the only way to make people take the fines seriously was to make them pay.”

He said the residents were informed of the decision and 75% of them were in favour.

“We are a private property and as such we can impose our own rules and if a person is fined then it becomes a civil case.”

Len Fry, a resident who called for a meeting of concerned residents recently, said they formulated a list of concerns for the body corporate.

He said: “A hundred or more residents gathered to express our concerns. One of the main issues was the speed cameras. We hope the board will address these at the AGM on March 28.”

A woman who spoke to The Witness admitted that many of the residents did not sign the register at the concerned homeowners’ meeting because they were scared of being victimised.

She referred to the body corporate as “the gestapo”. Another resident who had rented a home on the estate for six months, was told to stop jogging because she would scare the animals, and a woman was told to stop feeding the birds as it would encourage hadedas.

An angry resident said : “I haven’t even read the rule book — it would put me to sleep — permanently!”

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