Drama over drop-off

Residents are objecting to the extension of the Retreat drop-off site.

A planned extension of the Retreat drop-off site has been fiercely contested by residents who live close to the facility.
A waste management licence was granted on July 2015 in terms of the National Environmental Management Waste Act of 2008 for the facility in 10th Avenue.

Building plans have been submitted for approval and the Land Use Management process relating to the subdivision, rezoning or consolidation of the property is under way.

If everything goes according to plan and the approvals are granted, construction should start early next year.
The plan is to extend the facility by approximately 2 300m2.

A 10th Avenue resident, Andrew Brown, said he and many other residents are completely against the extension.
“We do not want the extension because it would make our road even busier than it is at the moment. This is not an industrial area, it’s a residential area where children play and people live. Things are already bad at this stage, it can only get worse if the drop-off is made bigger,” said Mr Brown.

Mark Solomons, chairperson of the Retreat/Steenberg Civic Association, said many have objected to the plans. “When the plan and the design of the extension were shown to residents they were upset and one of the reasons is because 10th Avenue is not a big road and it is quite an old road in the residential area.

The vibrations from the big trucks cause cracks on people’s properties. People are afraid for their children’s safety playing outside because of these big trucks constantly driving past,” said Mr Solomons.

He said residents were not happy that the initial plan has already been approved and that there are plans to move a chipper to the facility.

A chipper is a machine that shreds wood or garden refuse into smaller pieces. “We’re talking about a residential area next to a facility with a chipper. The community only gets informed when it’s at a stage where plans have already been developed. When the proposal was made about five years ago residents objected. Now the plan has come up again and our objections have not been taken into consideration.

“The City just went ahead and continued their plan for the extension,” said Mr Solomons.

“Another 10th Avenue resident, James Plaatjies, said the City makes big plans without consulting the community. “By the time we hear about it the plans have already been approved and there’s not much that the residents can do about it.

“Why can’t we have a say about what happens in our area? It will affect us, not those who make big plans – they live in cushy areas where they don’t have to deal with noise or dust pollution.”

Xanthea Limberg, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, confirmed that construction would start next year if plans are approved. “It should be noted that this is a free service to the community and the site is being increased in size to expand the activities on site. It will assist the community with waste minimisation as the site will be able to receive more recyclable materials and different types of recyclable materials,” said Ms Limberg.

In response to residents’ concerns about the noise that would be made by the chipper at the facility, Ms Limberg said a noise impact assessment was performed in respect of activities on site. “The remedial recommendations in order to mitigate the noise have been incorporated into the design of the drop-off facility,” said Ms Limberg.

In response to the concern about an increase in heavy vehicles accessing the area, she said access to the site has been moved off 10th Avenue and that the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority is also planning additional roads and the widening of 10th Avenue. “Contractors servicing the waste containers will not be permitted to drive their heavy vehicles through the adjacent residential area,” said Ms Limberg.

She added that public participation was undertaken as part of the waste management licence application process. “Further public participation was undertaken as part of the Land Use Management process. There are also additional public participation activities planned prior to construction commencing,” she said.

To address concerns, a community meeting with the surrounding residents will be called later this month. “This will allow the City of Cape Town to address questions that have already been raised and more queries that may arise from the presentations,” said Ms Limberg.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday November 21 at the Retreat civic centre. For more information, call 021 444 1371.