Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has decided to rejoin the controversial C40 Reinventing Cities Initiative competition it withdrew from earlier this year.
The competition entails sacrificing several pieces of prime properties for carbon-neutral development projects.
The latest decision from the City has raised the ire of lobby groups, accusing the City of not prioritising the need for housing in well-located areas.
“The City should not play around with such issues because there are so many people in need of housing in well-established areas. We need to leave the luxury things like the C40 and focus on the immediate problems,” said Philip Bam, the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance chairperson.
The City is now seeking for council to approve a public participation process in order to make the redevelopment of a number of sites across Cape Town as part of the C40 competition.
The proposed sites are the Athlone station car park, Kapteinsklip station precinct in Mitchells Plain, Mouquet Farm in Diep River and the Tygerdal site in Goodwood.
Previously the City embarked on a vacant site in Ottery, the Bishop Lavis Town Centre and a parking lot in Woodstock for the competition.
Bam said the Mouquet is ideal for the use of housing because of its proximity to basic services.
“It offers a range of basic essentials around the site, close to opportunities, jobs and basic services. We are in dire need of housing and it can solve many of our social ills,” he said.
Kashiefa Achmat, a member of Housing Assembly, a social movement representing over 20 communities in the Western Cape said it was evident that the calls for housing in well-located areas have fallen on deaf ears.
“The City is not listening to any communities when they call for housing. This is affecting the peoples lives.
“The poor will not benefit from the City’s participation in this competition so what is the point?” Achmat said.
Faizel Petersen, chairperson of the Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association, said they had a meeting with the community of Tygerdal and their ward councillor, questioning how residents will benefit from this.
“We are already struggling with homeless people and vagrants in the area and this could attract more people,” he said.
Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt said: “The City did not complete the process as there wasn’t clear agreement around the sites selected.
“The sites that were identified were complex and the different stakeholders could not reach agreement on the selection of the sites at the time.
“The new sites identified in this round form part of the City’s overall Catalytic Land Development Programme and offer clear opportunities for transit-oriented and carbon-neutral forms of development.”
Nieuwoudt said Cape Town needs to start adapting its approach to development to become more sustainable.