‘Need for detailed plan’

2016-02-23 06:00

The findings of the Far South strategic environmental assessment were presented to the local subcouncil last week.

The Far South Peninsula Community Forum (FSPCF) requested that such a strategic environmental assessment of the Far South be carried out in 2013, following a variety of concerns about development in the area.

The goal was to identify and evaluate the strategic environmental impacts of the City of Cape Town’s approved Southern District plan.

The CSIR was appointed to carry out the assessment, and its recommendations highlight the need for more detailed planning in areas of informal settlements, interfaces with open space, buffer zones and ecological corridors.

There is concern at the official comment that in its current form the finished assessment is not legally binding in any way, says FSPCF spokesperson Patrick Dowling. Therefore, the way in which the findings and recommendations are taken up into a revised Southern District plan is very important, he explains.

“The City has quite a lot of flexibility about the way in which it chooses to interpret the assessment and which, if any, of the ‘policy options’ covered actually end up in the Southern District plan,” he says.

In terms of transport, the CSIR has found the proposed densities in the district plan were not likely to attract more public transport and that there is a need to promote non-motorised transport and public transport.

The assessment is “somewhat ambivalent” about traffic, Dowling says.

“While we support any effort to encourage non-motorised transport the question of public transport needs to be carefully analysed because the City sees this as going hand in hand with much higher population densities, which then undermine the environment, heritage, tourism and recreation elements,” he says.

“We also do not see ongoing road widening and extensions as a sustainable approach in the long term. Therefore the idea of inter-nodal transport needs to be explored with full public participation to arrive at a solution which eases congestion without compromising the Far South’s most valuable assets and natural systems.”

In terms of housing, the CSIR recommends that more attention is given to upgrades in informal settlements and the position of social services.

It also recommends that green technology be used more, which the FSPCF agrees with, Dowling says.

“The FSPCF knows that we will have to be very vigilant if such good intentions are to be realised,” Dowling says.

The assessment recommends more focus on fire management, removal of invasive alien plants and preservation of natural and ecological corridors.
In response, the City’s environmental resource management department has highlighted the conflict between space for humans and wildlife, which is “intensifying on the Peninsula”. Habitat must be set aside to support flora and fauna, it says.

The FSPCF wants everyone to look carefully at the issue of special overlay zones for various aspects of the Far South such as heritage, environment, tourism and recreation again, as this concept is raised in the assessment, Dowling says.

“The FSPCF will continue to track the process as the assessment finds its way through the City approval system and into local planning,” he says.

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