Newsletter June 2011

Recruitment of new CPOA members

A letter of appeal was delivered by mail drop to Constantia property owners with a view to recruiting new members. Sadly the response has been very poor. It would therefore be much appreciated if existing members would each encourage one or more neighbours to join the CPOA. Please use the enclosed application form for this purpose (see Page 8 of this letter).

Final Draft of the District Spatial Development Plans

The City of Cape Town’s (Metropolitan) Spatial Development Framework is now in its final draft. In 2009 our association engaged three consultants to prepare comments on its behalf. It can now be recorded that these comments played a significant role in shaping the final draft.

The eight plans consist of an integrated Environmental Management Framework and Spatial Development Plan. These provide guidelines for the development of housing opportunities, industrial growth, infrastructure development, as well as conservation guidelines.

One of the district plans is the Southern District Plan which broadly covers a geographical area from Mowbray to Cape Point, and includes the Constantia valley. Each of these districts has distinct features which offer specific development opportunities and challenges to each region.

Public comment has been invited on these district plans and our association has responded. Our main comments have focused on the following:

  • The need to retain the existing Constantia/Tokai structure plans until such time as the Southern District Plan and a Local Area Structure Plan for Constantia/Tokai has been complied. In regard to the latter, our association has offered to appoint consultants to compile the local area plan.
  • The draft district plan identifies the need to intensify existing commercial nodes and to introduce mixed usages and densification of residential development in the vicinity of such nodes. We have pointed out that the Constantia Village Shopping Centre is subject to a servitude agreement in favour of our association and is also controlled by the Constantia Triangle Structure Plan. Further, that the density of residential development is subject to the agreed minimum erf sizes.
  • It is encouraging to note that the district plan discourages the non-agricultural use of the Constantia winelands and the non-urbanization of the Porter Estate. We have strongly supported this policy.
  • Similarly, we have supported the importance of preserving the non-urbanization of land outside the urban edge.
  • Infill areas for affordable housing have been identified, which includes portion of the SARDA riding school land, the Ladies Mile recycling land, Firgrove, Sweet Valley, the Kendal Road depot, and Dreyersdal Farm. It is some comfort to note that a medium to low density is envisaged for residential development of these sites and not high density as previously proposed in the case of the Firgrove and Sweet Valley sites.

Once these plans have been finalized, they will be submitted to the Western Cape Provincial Government for consideration and adoption.

Our association wishes to commend the Council’s project leaders Catherine Stone and Norah Walker on producing these highly professional planning documents. We believe that the integration of the spatial development plan and the environmental management framework is a first for metropolitan councils country-wide. Subject to the comments that we have submitted, it is our view that the City’s draft spatial development framework and district plans are a major step forward and will be invaluable in sensitively informing planning developments and guiding the orderly growth of the City.

Heritage Impact Assessment: Steenberg Farm

The Owners of Steenberg Wine Estate intend closing down the hotel complex on the farm for financial reasons. The hotel is part of a complex made up of seven separate structures, the oldest being the historic Steenberg homestead (dating back to 1682) and the newest the administration and spa building built in 1996. It is intended to convert six of the buildings into single residential house. The homestead would be stripped of most of its 1992 hotel extensions and retained as the headquarters of the Graham Beck Foundation.

As the property is located within an area designated as a Grade 1 site by the SA Heritage Resources Agency, application must be made to SAHRA. A Heritage Impact Assessment forms the core of this application.

This application was recently considered by the Environment and Cultural Landscape Permit Committee (Belcom) of SAHRA. Representations in regard to our association’s concerns were made to Belcom by one of our executive members together with a specialist consultant appointed by our association.

Belcom was equally concerned that the use of the Steenberg Werf for residential purposes, although of low impact, would have an ongoing impact on the cultural landscape of the Constantia valley. Further, there was concern about the proposed development and the expansion of the urban edge around the werf both in terms of the cultural landscape and the farm as a working entity.

The application for subdivision and the rezoning was considered by Belcom to be the most important aspects of the heritage assessment. Belcom believed that the idea of separating the land, alienating a portion within the cultural landscape and, ultimately, conferring upon it land-use rights commensurate with urban living, was inherently questionable from a conservation perspective. Belcom also found that a spot zoning within a rural landscape would transfer an urban identity upon the werf precinct.

Belcom decided not to support the subdivision and the intended rezoning of the site.

The committee was of the disposition that, should the applicant provide an alternative to the current proposal, which serves both the needs of the community and heritage principles, it would not be averse to considering it.

The owners have the right to appeal the decision of SAHRA.

 

 

Update on the Constantia Uitsig application

The sub division and rezoning applications which include permission for 30 new up market dwellings, extensions to the hotel complex, commercial zoning for the restaurants and the cricket field are still under consideration by the Council’s planners.

At this stage all objections have been submitted to the applicant for comment and these comments have been received by the Council.

What will happen next?

  • It is understood that the report on procedural issues is to be submitted to the Council’s Planning and Environmental Portfolio Committee (PEPCO), which will probably take place sometime in July.
  • The report is expected to recommend that the Council not pass its Land Use Planning Ordinance (LUPO) delegations to Province. The report may also determine whether the Council would like to ask Province to rule on the need for their Spatial Development Framework to be amended to permit the proposed residential development.
  • If Province believes this would not be appropriate, then the Council will deal with the substance of the LUPO applications before asking Province to deal with their Development Framework amendment.
  • If Province believes it should deal with the Guide Plan amendment first and agrees to such amendment then the Council will deal with the LUPO aspects.
  • If, however, Province refuses the amendment, then the total application will be automatically refused.

It is interesting to note that the necessary Heritage Impact Assessment for properties of such historical importance has not yet been advertised for public comment.

Based on the above, it would seem that this application for rezoning and subdivision could take many months before final decisions are made.

Message from Councillor Liz Brunette

Thank you to all CPOA members who cast their vote on 16 May. Seventy percent of the voters in Ward 62 went to vote, with percentage polls of 73% at the Alphen Centre and 71% at Constantia Primary School. It was an exciting day and a fabulous result in the ward and the City of Cape Town.

I have lived in the ward for most of my life, having grown up in Newlands and been a resident of the Constantia valley for 30 years. I served on the CPOA executive for a number of years before forming the Constantia Hills Residents Association in 2000. As a member of the CPOA and the Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts, I appreciate the heritage of the Ward and its unique amenities, and am familiar with the issues of residents living in Constantia.

My intention is to get a fair deal for residents and make sure that the infrastructure that serves the residents throughout Ward 62 is properly maintained, and extended or renewed where necessary. I will work towards ensuring that the roads are maintained and potholes fixed, and that our public open spaces, historic farms and agriculture are preserved. Constantia and the surrounding suburbs need a reliable, integrated public transport system of trains, buses and taxis that feed into each other, and the roads system on which we are dependant needs to be

improved. I will also do what I can to ensure that land restitution to land claimants in Constantia and other parts of the ward is finalised during my term of office.

My first few weeks as a councillor have been a learning experience – the Council is providing orientation and training programs for Councillors until the end of June. We have had two Council meetings – the first to elect the Mayor and the Mayoral Committee, and the second to approve the Budget for 2011-2012. As a result of demarcation the sub-council boundaries are being reviewed, and after the required public participation process the Protea Sub-Council will reconvene in a few months.

I have attended to queries and complaints from residents throughout the ward since my election campaign; they cover a range of issues – vagrancy, road maintenance and traffic markings, litter, building alterations and departures, drug dens and street lights to name a few. On a positive note, the Constantia Main Road was resealed recently, and the Maynardville Park is undergoing improvements in line with its status as a Quality Public Space in the CoCT.

Contact details: email elizabeth.brunette@capetown.gov.za; cell 0828236584;

Sub-council office at the Alphen Centre 0217942493.

Relocation of the Ladies Mile Recycling Depot

In our last newsletter we reported that discussions were being held between the Council and interested civic groups, including our association, to identify alternative sites to replace the Ladies Mile facility when this eventually has to close.

Although the Ladies Mile depot is included in land claims which have been awarded, it is the intention of the Council to retain this facility until the land is required by the claimants.

A survey is being undertaken at the Ladies Mile depot to determine the number of vehicles using these facilities for garden refuse and other recyclable items, and from which suburbs the vehicles originate. The results of this survey will determine the optimum location of a replacement site or sites.

It has already been decided that garden refuse and other recyclable items should be located at separate sites. At this stage it seems that it may be difficult to find a single site which is as centrally located as the Ladies Mile Depot.

It may also become necessary to establish two garden refuse depots, one to the south to serve Steenberg, Kirstenhof, Tokai and portion of Constantia and one depot to the north, to serve Bergvliet, Meadowridge, Kreupelbosch, portion of Constantia, and Bishops Court.  Two such sites on Council owned land have provisionally been identified by our association, namely, the Old Nursery site, corner of Steenberg Drive and Ou Kaapse Weg and Council land adjoining the Klip Road cemetery on the corner of De Waal Road and Prince Georges Drive. It is stressed that at this stage these two sites are merely our recommendations and require to be formally approved by the Council.

Ideally, a single more centrally situated site for garden refuse recycling should be sought. Discussions are to be initiated between the City Council and the Provincial Government to consider the possible availability of provincially owned land in the Tokai/Constantia area.

Five other garden refuse recycling sites have been considered but were discarded as not being suitable for environmental and access reasons and because of their proximity to houses.

Also two separate sites for paper, glass, plastic and other recyclable items have been provisionally identified, one at the Kendal Road Council Depot and one in White Road Retreat.

Land adjoining High Constantia Shopping Centre

The Council owned land abutting the High Constantia Shopping Centre and the SMD Store on Constantia Main Road is part of a scenic drive which is a popular tourist route. The land has been neglected for some years and has generally detracted form the otherwise typical Constantia streetscape.

The land is used for delivery vehicles and customer parking for the SMD Store and delivery vehicle access to High Constantia. The area also accommodates some informal traders who have permits issued by the Council. Because large trucks use the land for over-night stops, this has resulted in the land being fouled. In addition taxis are using the kerb as an illegal pick-up and drop-off point. The land has been neglected for some years and has generally detracted from the otherwise typical Constantia streetscape. When the Constantia Main Road was resurfaced last year, the contractor used this land to park their road construction plant and vehicles and as a result the unmade surface of these erven was churned up and became a dust bowl and an eyesore.

In September 2009 the Constantia Property Owners’ Association made representations to the Protea Sub Council to take steps to upgrade and maintain this land. It was indicated at the same time that the owner of High Constantia would be prepared to surface, landscape and beautify the land at his cost.

During the past two years consultations between the Parks and the Roads Departments (including the Council’s planners, its urban design team, the ward councillor and the sub-council manager) have taken place, but no finality has been reached by the Council departments.

In the meantime, the condition of this land was creating a dust nuisance to the customers and the tenants of High Constantia, the owner of High Constantia therefore had portion of the land surfaced with asphalt. This was seen as a temporary measure until a final layout could be provided.

The Council has now suggested that the owner of High Constantia makes application to lease the land and then implements the proposed landscaping improvements. This lease application is currently being processed.

Latest News about the Sillery Development

Residents of Constantia may have noticed that the development of the Sillery Estate designed to provide for some 26 new dwellings, has come to a halt. This has been occasioned by an order of the Land Claims Court after an urgent application was brought in regard to an outstanding land claim affecting the erven which were in the process of being developed.

After a number of adjournments, the entire month of May was set aside by the Land Claims court to hear arguments in respect of the claim. This court hearing has now been completed but judgment has been reserved. In the meanwhile the development is still on hold.

The issue of the uncovering of portion of the historic Leiwater (furrow) on the Sillery land which was dug by slaves to provide irrigation for vegetable gardens, is therefore also in limbo. Our association will once again take up this matter with Heritage Western Cape, once the Land Claims Court has given a judgment.

More effective Control of Builders’ Rubble

The dumping of builders’ rubble and the storing of building materials on public footways without the consent of the Council is prohibited and is regulated by the National Building Regulations; the By Law relating to Streets, Public Places and the Prevention of Noise Nuisances; and the Integrated Waste Management By Law.

In order to more effectively enforce the legislation the Council has recently put the following procedures in place:

  • The approved plan will be endorsed to the effect that all activities in connection with any demolition work or building work must be confined to the site and that the footway/ roadway may not be utilized for storing any building materials, waste materials or rubble.
  • A standard operating procedure has been established whereby when the building inspector establishes any contravention of the above conditions, a notice must be served on the owner to confine all operations to the site and to remove all materials from the footway/roadway.
  • Any non-compliance with the notice will then be handled by the Planning and Building Management’s Enforcement Section.

Green Belt and Open Space Maintenance

Our association, together with the Friends of the Constantia Valley Green Belts Association, has recently held meetings with the management of the City Parks Department to explore resources for the improved maintenance of the Constantia and Tokai green belts.

The Parks department receives a parameter-based inflation increase to their annual maintenance budget. Funds are then allocated on minimum service level basis among the four parks districts. The Southern district comprises five areas and Constantia falls within the Newlands area.  We believe that there is a case to be made to reassess the maintenance resources allocated to the Constantia green belts, which are unique regional facilities having special environmental significance.

The high growth of the Constantia green belts and natural open spaces require substantial maintenance work, and in our view, this cannot be entirely met by the application of broad-brush minimum service levels.  We are concerned that the existing maintenance programs for these “ultra-green areas” are steadily falling short of meeting reasonable objectives. The Constantia Valley green belts, meadows and road verges are all part of the Cape Floral Region and it is incumbent on the City of Cape Town to protect and maintain this prestigious status.  Furthermore the pathways are both recreational and important commuting routes for many of Cape Town’s citizens.

In planning the district/area budgetary allocations for the 2011/2012 financial year, we have asked that a critical analysis be made, firstly, as to what maintenance work can be achieved according to current minimum standard levels and, secondly, what desirable additional maintenance work cannot be covered in this way. In regard to the second category of maintenance work, consideration is to be given to the reallocation of funds, between cost centers of the Newlands area, or from inter-area, or inter-district allocation of funds. To this end, the Constantia Valley Green Belts wardens have compiled a list of essential maintenance expectations for each green belt/area which they believe require additional attention. An inspection of the Klaasenbosch, Lower Diep River, Alphen, De Hell, Spaanschemat and Doordrift trails have been undertaken with the Parks District managers to demonstrate the maintenance expectations.

Apart from the Parks Department’s responsibilities for open space maintenance, the Stormwater (Rivers) and the Roads Departments (trails) also have roles to play. A joint meeting of the three departments will be arranged to discuss the funding of essential projects by the latter two departments.

The volunteer work undertaken by the members of the Friends of the Constantia Valley Green Belts Association assists tremendously in the maintenance of our green belts. Grants from the ward councilor and other donors allow this work to be carried out.

Report from Constantia Watch

We have noted that criminal activity has moved away from using the greenbelts for access, instead criminals are ferried in and out of the area, forcing us to concentrate on vehicular traffic. This led to the implementation of our License Plate Recognition Camera Project at two access points: Brommersvlei and Parish Roads. Operation is due to commence on 13th June. The data bases of stolen vehicles will be shared with SAPS/Metro and other Watches throughout the Peninsula. The system will be expanded to all other access points – as funding and logistics allows.

Our crime pattern analysis shows that daytime crime is averaging at 65% of incidents. It is thus necessary to make sure that domestic worker and gardener carry a panic button at all times and keep front gates/doors closed and locked whenever possible. Also report immediately to the Watch any squatters in greenbelts, so we can act with speed. Do not give out food to vagrants, who may knock on your door, this encourages them to remain in the area with a resultant increase in petty crime.

 

GETTING IN TOUCH:

CPOA                                                                                    021-794 4388 Tel/Fax

Ward Councillors: Liz Brunette                                              021-794 2493 or

082 823 6584

Protea Sub-council                                                               021-794 2493

Municipal Offices, Plumstead                                               021-710 8000

All emergencies                                                                        107 or 021-424 7715

from a mobile

All Municipal Service Complaints                                         086 010 3089

Ambulance                                                                            10 177

Alphen Clinic                                                                        021-794 5906

Baboons                                                                                0715886540

Bees                                                                                      021-713 0433 or

082-675 9249

Building Inspector                                                                 021-712 4604

Burst pipes                                                                             086-010 3054

Crime Watch control centre                                                   086 000 2669

Dumping                                                                                086-010 3089

Garbage collection                                                               021-704 1005

Hawking problems                                                                  021-703 3075

Fire Brigade                                                                           021-794 1128

Health Inspector                                                                    021-710 8078

Ladies Mile Refuse Depot                                                      021-400 5239

Land Use Inspector                                                                021-710 8276

Meter readings/consumption queries                                     0860 103 089

Metro Police Control Room                                                   021-596 1400

Noise complaints                                                                   021-596 1999 or

021-788 9350

Parks and Forests                                                                   021-791 8300

Power failures and pre-paid meters                                        080-022 0440

Street lights                                                                           080-022 0440

Roads & Drainage                                                                  021-713 9500

Sewerage blockages, water leaks & supply failure                 086-010 3054

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION FORM

 

Constantia Property Owners’ Association
Alphen Centre, Main Road, Constantia
PO Box 68, Constantia 7848
tel/fax: 794-4388 e-mail:
cpoa@yebo.co.za web: www.constantia.co.za

This application form is for completion by new members only. (See letter overleaf). If you are already a paid-up CPOA member – please ignore this form or give it to a friend or neighbour in the Constantia Valley who may wish to join our association.

 

SUBSCRIPTION: 1 SEPTEMBER 2011 – 31 AUGUST 2012

MEMBERSHIP FEES: R300 per household (2 members)/per annum
R200 per person/annum

MEMBER’S FULL NAME: ________________________________________

ADDRESS: __________________________________________________

ERF No: ______________

TELEPHONE No:____________________(h)____________________(w)

Facsimile: ________________________Mobile:_____________________

E-mail: PLEASE PRINT CLEARLY IN SPACES BELOW:

/    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /    /

AMOUNT ATTACHED:
Annual Subscription (R300 or R200)                  _________________

Additional Voluntary Contribution                      _________________

TOTAL      _________________

SIGNATURE: _______________________

If you wish to bank direct:  Standard Bank

Constantia Branch: Code 025309

Account No: 071696881

NB: After which please fax proof of payment & this form to our office to ensure entry on the membership database.

 

 

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