Residents fed-up with canal cleaning delay

A polluted canal had residents up in arms since pre-covid.

Ottery residents are angry that their pleas to the City of Cape Town to clean a canal, running past Eric Road has fallen on deaf ears for the past two years.

Community leader Melanie Arendse said the canal runs through wards 65, 66 and 67.

“I have spoken to the community and they said it looks disgusting and the stench is terrible.”

William Monk, who lives opposite the canal, said the pollution started two years ago and that the canal had not been cleaned since before the Covid-19 pandemic. Requests to have the canal cleaned, he said, had fallen on deaf ears.

Mr Monk said he believed that many residents whose wheelie bins had been stolen, were simply dumping their rubbish in the canal.

“However, (the filth) caused a rat and mouse infestation and the overgrown grass and bush attracts snakes. We’ve found many snakes at the Ottery civic centre.”

Overgrown bush and grass at the canal in Ottery caused a stink.

He said living in these conditions made it difficult for “hard working citizens (to) build a good environment for the next generation”.

“There are no safe areas for the kids to play and we need serious intervention from the City, so we can bring pride back into the community,” he said.

Thorayah Coetzee, a security guard at the Ottery civic centre, said they had found many snakes at the centre which house a creche and a library and hosted many other activities for children.

“I have been a security guard at the centre for eight months and since then the canal has not been cleaned, the grass was not cut and trees and bushes are overgrown.”

Ms Coetzee said the children swim in the canal, but “I have warned them not to”.

When Southern Mail asked the Ottery Civic Association if they were aware of the pollution in the canal and its repercussions, the association said complaints had been raised but not attended to. These pertained to vagrants, refuse collection challenges, theft of bins, as well as safety and security risks relating to homes.

When asked if the pollution caused a health hazard, the OCA said: “Firstly, the canal is not for swimming and parents should be disciplining their children in this regard for their own safety.

“Notwithstanding the fact though, that the canal is treacherous to the safety of children. It is a definite health hazard. The City has therefore failed to cleanse, maintain, and ensure the safety of residents in and around the areas through which the canal traverses.”

The OCA confirmed that snakes, had been found at the Ottery civic and at people’s houses.

“This is true, snakes have been spotted in our area. This could be due to the many uncontrolled fires that have recently occurred as the reptiles ‘slither for safety’. We do not want them destroyed as they should be protected as part of the ecosystem in the Ottery Wetlands that the City is hell bent on destroying through hazardous development and deliberate destruction of the animal species some of which are endangered.”

The Southern Mail contacted the City for a response to the matters raised by the residents and the OCA, but by the time this story was published, they had not responded.