Locals croak on school plan

2017-07-11 06:01

A group of local environmental activists are objecting to the rezoning of a property that will lead to the construction of a school in Noordhoek.

The Toadnuts have responded to a rezoning application by the Generations Schools group on a property on the corner of Noordhoek Main and Silvermine roads.

According to a statement by the group, the school is expected to accommodate between 600 and 700 learners.

The group insists the land is not suited to the development, stating a school of this size would increase traffic congestion, did not have enough parking bays allocated and would result in parents being forced to park along the surrounding lanes and would be detrimental to the breeding of endangered Western leopard toads.

The land proposed for the school contains one of the most important breeding ponds in Noordhoek and also acts as a dispersal area for the toadlets to leave the ponds from November to January, say the activists.

“Since 2007, Toadnuts have recorded thousands of toads during the breeding season from July to September along Silvermine and Noordhoek Main roads.

“The roadkill numbers on this stretch of road are between 19% and 23%,” they say in a statement.

The increased traffic due to school activities would “exponentially increase the number of toads killed during the winter migration, and make patrolling the roads dangerous for our volunteers”.

“Although the proposal makes a number of welcome concessions for the toads, the additional traffic for evening events at the school during the three-month-long winter breeding season would result in many more this endemic toad species killed,” they say.

The activists have proposed the property instead be subdivided into 61 acre ­properties.

The school would reportedly include buildings with a floor area of around 5500m2, reaching 7.1m in height, an astroturf playing field, pedestrian courtyard space, surfaced and landscaped spaces between buildings and walkways comprising internal roads and parking and around 10 150m2 of natural open space comprising wetlands, ponds and green space.

Subcouncil chairperson Felicity Purchase confirms the property is owned by the school group and that it is in the process to apply for rezoning.

She has declined to comment further until the process has run its course.

A recent transport study into traffic in the far south found one of the main contributors to congestion was a lack of schools in the ­area.

The school is planned to open in 2019.

Representatives of the Generations Schools group had not responded to requests for comment and details of the planned school at the time of going to print.

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