Fish Hoek has a plan

2018-12-11 06:01

Fish Hoek Valley Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (FHVRRA) had its quarterly general meeting on Thursday 22 November at the civic centre where attendees delved deeper into issues affecting the area.

Designer Mike Schilperoort and Matthew Gray, an architect, spoke on topics like “Does Fish Hoek have a plan?” and “What will the main road look like in the next 100 years?”

Those attending discussed what they want the area to look like and how they envision it.

FHVRRA chairperson Brian Youngblood said that Fish Hoek does indeed have a plan.

“Fish Hoek’s plan will feed into the upcoming Southern District Plan, municipal plan guiding and policy documents. We need to reduce red tape with a well-communicated design that will see developers’ plans easily approved, such as by the Fish Hoek Valley Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association Architectural Advisory Committee, such as a City-adopted overlay scheme. We need surety of policy, which would include the removal of legacy road reserves that will never be implemented, such as the widening of Main Road by 5m, which is preventing buildings being completely rebuilt to avoid having to comply with this offset. This widening would change the whole character of the Fish Hoek Village for the worse,” he said.

He also spoke about the rejuvenation of the main road. “In the short term, Fish Hoek Main Road needs to be a continuation of the Muizenberg to Clovelly upgrade project and redo the ancient underlying infrastructure that is crumbling, although the sewerage was recently relined. The rejuvenation will be a major project to improve accessibility and cater for the buying populace in shops and restaurants. Ideally, these should be within walking distance of residences, hotel and pension facilities. Fish Hoek needs a major revitalisation, or it will just become more dilapidated,” explained Youngblood.

He added that traffic is plagued by bottlenecks as the road had been designed for City peak hour traffic by that portion of the Fish Hoek bedroom community, but didn’t cater properly for normal traffic nor the southern influx due to the Navy’s different set of working hours. “Also, the traffic lights are poorly coordinated with some pedestrian crosswalk lights adding negatively to the mix. Another problem identified at our last FHVRRA meeting was the traffic tripping sensor at Clovelly, which needs to be replaced. If the new sensor strip is too wide, then Main Road traffic that swings too wide will trip the traffic for no good reason. Fish Hoek has rush-hour bottlenecks and during peak tourism season, traffic will get worse. The City’s Traffic Plan needs to include the increase in the number of businesses and residents in the Southern Peninsula,” he said.

There has been additional development and densification of Fish Hoek and further south. “There has been a collapse of public transport, specifically trains. The number of mom’s taxis has increased probably due to parents not thinking it is safe for their children to walk. We think that high walls lining the pedestrian pavements have led to this feeling of insecurity. Neighbours are no longer able to see the leaners if there was a cry for help,” said Youngblood.

The FHVRRA seems to have everything in place, but Youngblood said: “We have many plans but none formally adopted. Therefore, let’s just call them ‘visions’. The main problem with great visions and plans is poor or no implementation. There are many next steps required.

“The vision calls for multiple designers and multiple developers of the latest design, which is a raised promenade above the railway and Main and Beach roads. The other two parts need further developing. These include the valley and northern and southern mountains. As Fish Hoek is currently a value proposition, a coordinated plan could ignite new development rapidly. We are considering working with the Fish Hoek Business Improvement District and call urban designers, architects, city planners and developers to, inter alia, decide on the optimum mix of retail, office and residential to take this vision forward,” he said.

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