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Cape mega-city plan favoured

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There is still mixed reaction to the R140 billion Wescape mega-city being planned near Melkbosstrand, although some former opponents have done an about-turn.

Len Swimmer, chairman of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, said he had initially been opposed to the development, but “had gone in the opposite direction”.

There is still mixed reaction to the R140bn Wescape mega-city being planned near Melkbosstrand. Credit: Supplied

He said the area was the only place to expand.

“We have the mountain and the sea and nowhere else to expand, except up the West Coast.”

Regarding concerns it was close to the Koeberg nuclear power station, Swimmer said so is Melkbosstrand.

First announced in 2013, plans for the 3 100 hectare development by communiTgrow, a private urban development company, include 200 000 homes, more than 400 schools, a university, creches, 30 health facilities and 15 sportscomplexes.

The options would range from subsidised and gap housing for lower income groups to apartments and free-standing homes for those earning more.

The development, which is expected to start around 2019/20, will take 20 years and will create about 300 000 jobs.

Johan van der Merwe, the Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, said, to date, the city had not received any rezoning application for the Wescape development, nor was it aware of any related environmental impact assessment (EIA) application lodged with the Western Cape government’s department of environmental management and development planning.

There were a number of concerns expressed at the time, including from several professors at UCT’s city and regional planning programme who wrote an open letter to mayor Patricia de Lille and Premier Helen Zille, saying the future of the city did not lie in “grand solutions”.

“Cape Town has had its fair share of these – for example, Atlantis, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha – and all have been abject failures.”

Objections were received from the National Nuclear Regulator, Koeberg and the city’s disaster risk management.

Eskom has also taken Anton Bredell, the minister of local government, environmental affairs and development planning and the City of Cape Town to the Western Cape High Court over a decision to amend the urban edge to allow for the development, which is in the restricted zone of 16km around Koeberg.This case is ongoing.

Figures from a PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) report estimate that the population in the Western Cape is expected to grow from 5.83 million in 2011 to 7.3 million in 2040, while the total population in the City of Cape Town is expected to grow from 3 740 026 people in 2011 to 4 634 202 in 2040.

Councillor Nora Grose, whose area covers Melkbosstrand, said nobody liked development, especially in small towns.

“But if you look at the housing need, especially for the younger generation, then you can see there is a need.”

She said bulk services were currently being upgraded in the area, but didn’t see the development as happening soon.

“It is a long-term vision from what we understand.”

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