Housing outpace works

Grant Twigg.

Infrastructure upgrades in the northern suburbs are not keeping pace with the rapid speed of residential development.

This warning came from Grant Twigg, chairman of Sub-council 2, which met in the Kraaifontein council chambers on Thursday last week.

Mr Twigg said the north had “development galore”, but he cautioned that “we are not going to have the infrastructure to support it”. He was responding to an item that has languished on the sub-council agenda for four years: a pending R4.5 million water and waste services upgrade in Wallacedene and Scottsdene. The sub-council is still waiting for the project to get under way.

The most recent agenda said: “Tenders are in place. Shortfall of funding in the outer (2019/20) financial year. It has been addressed in the draft budget. If funding does not get approved the budget will be viremented.”

This means that the funding will be transferred towards the completion of a different project.

Councillors were not happy about that.

Mr Twigg said: “Our priority is not being attended to.

“This one has been coming on for years and it has to be done. That money needs to be spent, and it needs to be spent on this project. “

Michael McLaren, a finance representative for Sub-council 2, said glitches in the tender might have caused the delays, but he assured that money for the project would be found in a future budget.

“It’s going to be viremented, but funding will be available in the next financial year,” he said.

Ward 102 councillor Karin Brynard wanted that in writing. “And that there is enough money in the budget to complete the project. Before we can say ‘it’s fine, it can go’,” she said.

Ward 8 Councillor Marian Nieuwoudt was worried that a second infrastructure project in Scottsdene appeared to have disappeared from the agenda.

“Two years ago there were two projects that were earmarked and the one has just vanished. We need to get assurance on the continuation of the project.”

In an interview with the Northern News, Mr Twigg explained that the sewerage system was “just about holding” but if more residential development happened before it was upgraded it could cause”various problems” with the underground piping.

“Over the last four years, there has always been a discussion around it, but there’s always been a delay with the spending of the money.”

Mr Twigg said that since the meeting, the sub-council’s finance representative, Ed Albertyn, had assured the councillors the money would be made available, as well as “outer years funding”.

“This wasn’t in the report, but the official gave the confirmation,” he said.

Councillors also wanted clarity on several items outlined in the Integrated Development Plan.

One such item was the widening of the Brackenfell Boulevard. Ms Brynard asked why it had been moved to the 2022 budget.

“We are the most congested area in the city,” she said. “People can’t get out of Old Paarl Road anymore. People can’t get over the bridges in Brackenfell anymore.

The report stated: “Although the dualling of Brackenfell Boulevard features on the city-wide congestion programme, the relative priority would not warrant a TDA (Transport Development Authority) funding allocation within the immediate five year horizon.”

Mr Twigg said it seemed as if some of the items were not properly investigated. He was referring to the request for a high-light mast for Bloekombos.

“This information then, goes to the official who decides whether it gets done or not. What information is being collected?”

According to the report, input would not be considered for the budget process because insufficient detail had been provided.

Mr McLaren advised that the ward councillors interrogate the plan and give the information to the relevant departments.

Ms Nieuwoudt recommended that the projects be discussed with representatives from the relevant departments at a workshop.

“We need to do it before the budget,” she said.