Wetlands ‘secure’

2018-06-26 06:01

The Houmoed Avenue extension applications in Kommetjie are not being well received by the Noordhoek environmental action group, GreenGauge, and Andrea Marais-Potgieter, a member of the group, has raised numerous concerns about the applications.

“Phase 1 is going through two important wetland ponds and placing another at risk. The perpetual narrative used by the City of Cape Town regarding this application is deeply disturbing and avoids mentioning the reality that this road will negatively impact the entire Far South,” says Marais-Potgieter­.

According to her, traffic is not the problem but the number of developments that continually get approved, in an area which is environmentally sensitive and at risk for climate change consequences, is problematic.

“Continuous densification of the Far South will render Houmoed Phase 1 moot, placing the Far South under even more environmental threat in the future since wetland collapse is a reality.

“The endangered western leopard toad, which has the same conservation status as the rhino, is likely to go locally extinct (in addition to numerous other animals in the area) should Phase 1 be approved,” Marais-Potgieter says.

People’s Post raised Marais-Potgieter’s concerns with the City of Cape Town, and Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development, responded to her concerns­.

“I want to state upfront that the City is committed to the protection and wise use of wetlands within the metro. We recognise their valuable role in flood and stormwater attenuation, biodiversity support and water quality improvement functions,” he says.

“Let me demonstrate some examples of this commitment in practice:

“We are fortunate to have a Ramsar wetland, the False Bay Nature Reserve, within the city. This is a wetland that is recognised internationally for its importance and is listed with the Ramsar Convention.

“Last year we also became the first city in South Africa to apply for Ramsar city status. With the full endorsement of the executive mayor and council, we submitted our application to the National Department of Environmental Affairs and are awaiting their decision on whether to submit Cape Town’s application to the international Ramsar Convention for consideration.

“We believe our chances to be recognised internationally for the role the City plays in wetland protection are very good, because not only do we have a world-class National Water Act that governs the protection and regulation of use of wetlands, but we also have a number of excellent municipal bylaws that afford protection to our rivers and wetlands,” Herron explains.

According to him the project to extend Houmoed Avenue is still at an early stage.

“The new road between Masiphumelele and the vlei, if approved, will create new development opportunities along the northern side of Masiphumelele and prevent further encroachment into the vlei.

V Continued on page 2.

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