Residents object to block of flats

An impression of a development planned for Ruwari.

More than a thousand people have objected to plans for six four-storey blocks of cramped low-income flats and a homeless outreach centre in Brackenfell.

Residents say more people will cause more traffic congestion, more crime and lower property values.

First Plan Town Planners submitted an application to the City of Cape Town on behalf of Madulammoho Housing Associations in Brackenfell, to rezone 10 Affodil Street, Ruwari, from Open Space 2 to a General Residential 2.

Monday August 26 is the deadline to submit all comments and objections.

According to Madulammoho Housing Associations chief executive officer Renier Erasmus, the plan is for six four-storey blocks, dubbed Mountain View, to be built on the 11 000m2 plot.

The blocks will have 216 social-housing rental units.

Also on the site will be nine 30m2 one-bedroom cottages, called Hope Centre, to be used by Mould Empower Serve (MES), a non-profit organisation caring for the homeless.

Mr Erasmus said Hope Centre would be a “training facility” and an “assessment centre” to help the needy and homeless seeking employment.

The Hope Centre units will house former homeless people either being trained or employed by MES and earning R1300 to R3500 a month, from which they will pay rent.

Mr Erasmus denied it would be a homeless shelter.

“There are a lot of people walking through the area knocking on doors and seeking food or employment. The Hope Centre is not a homeless shelter and will only provide referral services to other social development organisations. It will also provide training opportunities and place people in jobs. The idea is not to attract more homeless people to the area but to provide a place where they can be referred to other initiatives of the city for help.

“The Hope Centre aims to provide a solution to the current homeless and unemployed challenge in the area,” he said.

He said there was a need for low-cost housing in Brackenfell.

“There is almost no rental stock in the whole Brackenfell under R5000 per month.”

The flats will be for people earning between R3500 and R5500 a month.

The 30m2 one-bedroom units and 45m2 two-bedroom units will each have two parking bays.

Cars can enter and exit on Affodil Street and Kruis Street, leading to the Bottelary Road.

Resident Sakkie Burger said he was one of the many people who had objected. He cited traffic congestion and an increase in crime as the main reasons for his opposition to the development.

He said there was a lack of infrastructure in Brackenfell – schools, public hospitals and police – to support such a development and he feared a drop in his property value.

“Traffic will be chaotic. This idea was not thought through. It was just a piece of land sold for a third of its value, which will eventually decrease the value of our properties, considering the fact that it is low-cost units.”

Mr Burger said he had no issue with the homeless coming to the training centre, but their presence might attract the wrong crowd and most of them would have to use taxis.

“ I feel sorry for them (homeless), but that land being developed will inconvenience many residents,” he said.

The chairperson of the Ruwari and Protea Village Neighbourhood Watch, Nathan Krumm, said he was worried about the development causing more crime because he had a shortage of patrollers on his Sector 2 team.

“We don’t know the type of people the development will attract and how this will negatively impact the community. Usually when low-cost units go up, months later, the blocks become deteriorated and nobody looks after it.”

That, he said, would hurt property values, and that was one of the reasons he had objected.

The City’s acting director for development management, Pieter Terblanche, confirmed that “over a thousand objections had been received.”

He said a traffic impact assessment and a notice of intent to develop – required by heritage legislation – had been done.

Heritage Western Cape did not respond to questions by
the time this edition went to print.