Residents object to housing proposal

Residents say this time of the year the daisies bloom and beautify their area.

Residents have until September 21 to comment on a proposed low cost housing development in Ferness Estate, Ottery.

Provincial government plans to build 74 houses and 12 flats, on a plot bordered by Koraal Street and Columbine Avenue.

Ferness Estate resident Abdul Behardien contacted Southern Mail expressing his disappointment that a “beautiful field which blooms with lovely daisies, will now be decimated to build low cost housing on it at the expense of the current residents”.

Mr Behardien said the land was situated next to a communal park. “This is the last piece of open land that is left in our area but the City has other plans,” he said. “We were hoping to get the attention of the greater public. We have downloaded objection forms and (gone) door to door handing out and informing residents.”

Elizabeth Francke, 77 and her husband Jan, 81, have been living in the area for 57 years Both their daughters as well as their granddaughter live in the area with their families.

“The field means such a lot to us as the daisies that are in full bloom at the moment and has now covered the whole field was planted by us and it has become a tradition that the whole Ferness community and people from outside the community come to take photos there every year,” she said.

“This has always been a place where kids come to fly their kites or play with their soccer balls. At one stage the field was just a bush of Port Jacksons (but) we cleaned the field as a community and have been keeping it clean ever since.

“The fact that this might now all be a thing of the past is very emotional for us as we would miss the open space and getting together of the kids playing on the field very much. Not to mention all the traffic that would now be in the already busy area,” said Ms Francke.

Riaan Roussouw, who has been living in Ferness Estate for 54 years, said the housing project would put a strain on existing infrastructure, would result in an increase in traffic and wear and tear on roads, all of which would negatively impact the value of their properties.

“The area between Koraal Street and Columbine Avenue is the only space for our enjoyment and pleasure due to the spectacular floral beauty of white daisies that starts in the middle of July and lasts up to the end of August. Situated next to this area is a park with swings and jungle gyms, a roundabout, a see-saw and a mini gym,” said Mr Roussouw.

Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayco member for spatial planning and environment, said about 75 notices had been sent by registered mail to interested and affected parties on August 18.

“On August 19, on-site notices were placed on the property to inform passers-by. Notices were also placed in the Cape Argus and Die Burger on August 21,” she said.

Ms Nieuwoudt said no decision had yet been taken about the proposed development. “At this stage the proposal is being advertised for public comment. Thus, this application is at a very early stage,” she said.

The proposed development for 74 dwelling houses and 12 flats is not gated and the property is owned by the Western Cape Government, Ms Nieuwoudt said.

“The application has been submitted by an agent appointed by the WCG. Questions relating to the occupants and the timing of the proposed development should be directed to the Western Cape Government’s Department of Human Settlements.

“All City directorates will be required to comment on the application once the public participation process is complete, this includes the relevant departments dealing with the environment, biodiversity, heritage and so forth.”

And with regards to traffic flow, Ms Nieuwoudt said: “The City’s directorate for transport will provide input and advice on the impact, if any, on the flow of traffic.

“As for the proposed development itself, the City is still in the process of assessing the land use application. This process is at a very early stage with the public participation process currently ongoing. The public now has the opportunity to comment on the proposed development and they can use this opportunity to motivate their support/objections to the proposal,” said Ms Nieuwoudt.

The closing date for objections and/or comments is Monday September 21. People can click here or contact Mr Behardien on 082 823 5522 for copies of the objection forms.