By Wardah Wilkinson
It appears that the City of Cape Town’s plans to develop affordable housing in Salt River will see some upheaval from residents, intent on keeping the suburb exclusive to middle class residents. A flyer has been in circulation on social media calling on residents to ‘make their voices heard’ regarding the development, which was approved in September.
The City plans to develop affordable housing units on 11 sites in Salt River, Woodstock and the CBD, which will accommodate for about 4000 lower-income households which includes Woodstock and Salt River residents. The developments for the social housing units land allocation is the old Woodstock hospital grounds and a park in Golders Green road.
“We are disappointed that there is a flyer going around, as we had met with all the residents associations and with Reclaim The City. There was a 3-day open day explaining what the project is about,” said Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development.
“The city has no intentions moving ahead with the project, without the response of the residents. There is no reason for residents to not have come and meet with us, as they have the right to raise issues or concerns they might have with us.”
Concerned residents argued that the area is already over populated and the low-cost housing project will bring crime their area.
“It’s very unfair and disingenuous to suggest that poor people bring crime and is criminals…its abhorrent,” added Herron.
Many of the people, who will be benefiting from the low-cost housing, are people who are already living in the Woodstock and Salt River areas.
“There are residents that live in backyards, in overcrowded conditions and tenants who cannot afford rent. We need to build a city where a low-income family has better access to public transport for jobs,” said Herron.
“The importance of this precinct-led development cannot be overstated: apart from the scale and the fact that thousands of households stand to benefit from these opportunities, it also marks a break with apartheid spatial planning where our urban form is defined by poorer families living on the fringes.”
“We will continue to engage with the community to get involved, be it if you against it or to aid with the development. By working together we can produce a product we can all be proud of,” he added.
Reclaim the City spokesperson Nunja Adams says that residents associations are simply worried that the developments will bring crime and traffic congestion and block their sea and mountain views.
“We are happy that project is finally going to happen. We just want a guarantee that the residents of Woodstock and Salt River are going to have the first option for the housing.” VOC