Seeking common ground

2017-01-24 06:01
It was a full house for the meeting and emotions soared high as to why there should be a clinic at the commonage whilst others said the commonmgae is not the appropriate site for the clinic as the green feel of the area should be preserved there.

It was a full house for the meeting and emotions soared high as to why there should be a clinic at the commonage whilst others said the commonmgae is not the appropriate site for the clinic as the green feel of the area should be preserved there.

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Hout Bay residents are all for the proposed clinic in the area, but remain at loggerheads as to where exactly the clinic should be.

A meeting last Tuesday just led to further division as residents did not agree on the site for the clinic.

The proposed facility will serve all residents. At the moment Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu each have their own health clinic.

There has been suggestions that the community day centre (CDC) be built on the commonage but others believe it’s not the perfect site for the clinic.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas says the CDC has been in discussion for some time.

“The idea is to have one integrated healthcare centre in the area that will serve the residents of Hout Bay. One combined facility will bring better services for the people. The area is growing and the clinics there are not coping. The existing facilities can’t be upgraded and the health department believes a new facility will work better.

“Various locations have been looked at and most of them didn’t work out and the commonage was the best site,” he says.

A CDC should be built in a location within 5km of the communities it serves. This poses a challenge as the CDC is aimed at providing healthcare to the Hout Bay valley area, Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg.

The site would also need to have a minimum size, be above flood lines and have main road access for emergency vehicles. All of these criteria ruled out various vacant sites in Hout Bay.

Len Swimmer, chairperson of the Hout Bay Ratepayers and Residents’ Association, says the association doesn’t want the clinic at the commonage because they have been lobbying for a park on the site.

“Though this is a win-win situation, if we agree to the clinic there we lose on the integrated united family park. The City has pumped out money for the upgrade of the park and this is a space used by everyone in the area. Yes, we want the clinic but not at the commonage,” says Swimmer.

He says the alternative sites the association has suggested are easily accessible.

“They are within the criteria set by the department. There is no impediments and they can start working anytime. But the site they want will have to be rezoned and they have to work on the flood line and it will take them at least two years to get the clinic started,” he says.

Liz Huckle, chairperson of the Hout Bay Community Health Forum, says it is an undisputed fact that Hout Bay urgently needs a new medical facility.

“The health department is well aware of this and intends to build a new one-stop CDC.

“They have identified the old bowling club (commonage) as the most suitable site as it is centrally situated and meets the entire criterion. It is extremely difficult to please all the people all the time but the health of our residents is of paramount importance and affects us all.”

Health department spokesperson Zimkhitha Mqutheni confirms that the department has proposed to build a new CDC in Hout Bay to accommodate all three communities.

“The single consolidated facility forms part of the healthcare 2030 strategy to improve patient experience through new infrastructure. Fourteen sites were identified of which four were too close to Imizamo Yethu, one was too close to Hangberg and six sites were in an acceptable position but deemed unsuitable due to various reasons.”

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