Merlewood housing project ‘not on hold’

2016-07-07 06:00

CONSTRUCTION at the Merlewood Mixed Income Housing Project has not stopped according to Hibiscus Coast Municipality Manager, Max Mbili.

“The project is incomplete … we handed over 64 houses to beneficiaries in December, who told us they will be patient and wait for water and electrical connections.

“Now these same people say that they don’t know what is happening,” said Mbili.

The plans accommodated the construction of 228 houses, however, only 66 were built about three years ago and the contractor failed to deliver.

The houses were vandalised while the project was put on hold as HCM was appointing a new contractor to rectify the damages.

“Once the houses were fixed we told beneficiaries we will give them their title­ deeds and they can occupy the houses so that vandalism does not take place.

“They agreed to this, without having water or electricity and told us at least they will have a roof over their head.”

The same contractor, who repaired the vandalised homes, was then appointed­ to continue with building the rest of the houses, however, the plan of action changed so that the town planning layout could be reviewed.

“The contractor is going to first concentrate on infrastructure such as roads, water and electricity before anything else is built. Planning and design for this is nearing completion,” said Mbili.

Spokesperson for Hibiscus Coast Municipality, Simon April, said these are all technical aspects, which the community cannot see.

He said HCM appointed an independent electrical engineer to plan and design the provision of electricity for the entire project area.

“This work has already been done and the designs are currently with Eskom for the final determination and costing modelling,” said April.

HCM is also waiting on decisions with regard to a bus-taxi route from Cogta and professional information from the town planner, land surveyors and engineers.

“Unfortunately, this is another process which will be more of professional input rather than physical work the community can see and hence, the impression might be that these behind-the-scene activities, which are reported to the community, but due to the high level of expectation and current politically charged period of electioneering, are easily described as putting the project on hold.”

Mayor Nomusa Mqwebu said these matters were discussed at council and it was the ward councillor’s duty to take the information to the ward.

The project as a whole is expected to be complete by April 2017.

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