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Cape Town -
Concerns have been raised about a R140 billion plan to develop Wescape, a city near Melkbosstrand with 200 000 homes.
Mayor Patricia de Lille has said the project would unlock opportunity and create jobs.
The main objectors include the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), Eskom’s Koeberg power station and the city’s disaster risk management centre, which say the development would be within the 5-16km Urgent Protective Action Planning Zone and any emergency evacuation of such a large number of residents would fail.
The area is subject to the Koeberg emergency plan, which requires that, in the event of a nuclear accident, it should be evacuated within 16 hours.
The NNR said: “Such a large addition to the population in this area (would be) unacceptable as it is inconceivable that such a large population could be evacuated and cared for in the event of an accident at Koeberg.”
The site is 29km from central Cape Town and outside the urban edge, but the city has asked the provincial government to extend the north-western urban edge to accommodate the development.
Other city departments and a number of provincial departmentshave objected to the development, which would occupy 3 150ha and have a possible population of 800 000. The concerns are given in a city report.
The city’s fire emergency services, disaster risk management, water and sanitation, and environmental resource management said the development would require a large sum from the city for bulk services This could detract from other development priorities.
Eskom said the major electrical infrastructure needed could take eight years to install.
Several private developers are involved and say the project would be privately funded.
It is not known who on the city’s housing waiting list of 400 000 would benefit.
De Lillesaid the proposal was subject to the approval of the MEC for local government and planning.
The city’s human settlements department says the development would ease the housing backlog and deal with the influx of people from other provinces. The city’s economic, environmental and spatial planning committee supports the plan, saying there is limited space for development.
The application to the province for the urban edge to be extended was approved by the council in December.
The province’s roads and transport department said the proposal was “sketchy” with regard to transport infrastructure. The Integrated Rapid Transit system would not be sufficient to serve a development of Wescape’s size and there was no indication a train service would be provided.
The Department of Economic Development and Tourism said the development would fall outside the city’s spatial planning policies.
“The scale of the proposed settlement needs to be considered against the housing demand in the western areas of the city. The economic implications for existing areas such as Atlantis and Mamre should also be considered.”
Other city officials said there was sufficient land inside the urban edge for housing and no need to amend the city’s spatial development framework, adopted last year after extensive consultation.
The province’s Department of Human Settlements is in favour of amending the urban edge.
Noeleen Murray-Cooke, an architect and senior lecturer at the centre for humanities research and geography at the University of the Western Cape, said: “There seems to be this private sector pressure on the city which displaces a lot of planning thinking, instead of thinking of what’s best for the city. Isolated places like Atlantis were a travesty.”
Many private sector proposals went against the city’s densification policy. “Sprawling goes against densification policies. We need to look at upgrading places on the Cape Flats.”