Mixed housing on cards

2019-05-21 06:00
Mayor Dan Plato said the housing project will bring a drastic change in Parkwood and other areas.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Mayor Dan Plato said the housing project will bring a drastic change in Parkwood and other areas.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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The City of Cape Town announced its plan to provide a mixed housing development comprising RDP and rented units for Parkwood community and the Greater Retreat Housing Project. This was during a public meeting held at Hyde Park Primary School in Fairways last Wednesday.

The meeting was organised by the Fairways Residents and Civic Association (Fresca) with the aim to address concerns affecting the community and its surroundings.

It was attended by Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi, Mayco member for urban management, Grant Twigg and mayor, Dan Plato. There were residents from Fairways, Parkwood, Retreat, Ottery, Steenberg, Lotus River and other neighbouring communities.

Topping the list of the concerns were land and housing issues in Parkwood and its effect on Fairways and surrounding areas, lack of amenities, safety in the areas, lack of accountability and transparency by the City when it comes to service delivery issues.

While Plato urged residents to be patient and displayed the proposed plans being considered for Parkwood, he said it takes between three to four years to have the actual ground-breaking projects. He said the whole plan will change the look of the area, adding this is necessary to make sure that all necessary amenities such as a school, libraries, commercial development and a proper structure would be available to accommodate community needs.

He said, for this reason, the City is trying to do away with the normal RDP housing plan which has proven to be consuming a lot of land and rather build double-stories, complexes and semi-detached structures.

He said soon, a steering committee that will oversee the project will be formed and advised residents to make sure they are represented so they can stay in the loop and be part of the decision-making.

Though Plato said the development is “definitely” going to happen and pockets of land have already been identified, he once again, refused to disclose this as per requests from the communities saying, “I fear for illegal invasions.”

Booi added that though the priority is to provide housing for the backyard dwellers, residents should understand the importance of the amenities. He further advised residents to verify if their names are on the housing database and if not, they should register soon in order to benefit from the project.

Responding to other concerns, Plato reminded residents that the City is made up of different departments, guided by the law and must follow protocols. He said he is busy establishing strategies to improve its accountability, which include ordering the ward councillors to “literally” walk in the community to identify the needs and monitor service delivery and thereafter hold public meetings every three months to give feedback to both the City and residents.

Fresca chairperson Dmitri Jegels said they were not totally happy with the answers but would wait and see what happens following the promises made. He said there will be a follow up meeting in June.

Jegels said lack of service and development in Parkwood affects Fairways hence they support their struggle and want the City to take them seriously. He said unlike other upmarket areas, Fairways is willing to compromise pockets of land for “only the backyarders of Parkwood.”

Chairperson of the Ottery Civic Association Cherrel Jacobs pointed out the City has forgotten about the resident of Freedom Park that have been waiting for houses since 1994.

Resident Sharon Davids of Steenvilla in Retreat said the City has let them down countless times, leading to frustrations and wanted clarity on the allocation plan the City will use to identify the beneficiaries.

Clifford Isaacs represented Fairways Senior Club and wanted the City to be mindful of the elderly.

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