The City of Cape Town has defended plans for a proposed commercial development in Maiden’s Cove near Camps Bay and Clifton, which residents fear will be of detriment to the popular destinations scenery, as well as traffic in the area. Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson says the redevelopment will put better use to available space in an area which the city feels is currently degraded.
While the area’s popular bowling club and cricket oval will be retained, both may be shifted for the provision of a 750 car underground parking garage. Also in the works are plans to increase access to the ocean.
“At the moment Maidens Cove is fence off and difficult to access, and there is a big open parking lot that is fairly ugly. We want to make this place look much better. It’s a very large site, so we believe there is also the opportunity for development that would not take away from access to the water site,” he said.
Other plans include the provision of additional bungalows near Clifton, as well as potentially a retail outlet linked to the underground garage.
Whilst the City has big plans for Maidens Cove, it is believed that a permit will be need from Heritage Western Cape before any work on developments can start. Neilson says the plans are not advanced enough as yet for the City to submit such an application, as urban planning and informal discussions with the public are still on-going.
“This is so that when we go out to tender for a developer we can put controls in place that for example will say they may not build above a certain height. Then that developer, once they win the tender will have to develop a more detailed proposal and make all the approval processes,” he explained.
But according to Chris Willemse, chairperson for the Camps Bay and Clifton Rates Payers and Residents Association, the City has been far from transparent in the process, and is trying to “railroad” the proposal through and leave the problems with developers.
“When you have public participation you have to inform the public, otherwise what’s the point of asking them? They should be doing the traffic and environmental impact (assessments). That is what the City should be doing,” he claimed, suggesting the City themselves are not sure of what the results of the development will be.
Willemse has stressed that many of the proposed developments, including multimillion rand bungalows, will be of huge detriment to the area, which is seen as a popular and scenic viewing point for many across Cape Town.
“What the City are doing is selling off something at bargain price on the basis that it has no real value at the moment, and somebody else has got to take the risk. The problem is the City are now the arbiter over that process.”
“The whole thing smacks of subterfuge, and what the City needs to do is come clean with everybody, go out and do the proper assessments and then put that on the table,” he added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)