Cape Town - Judgement was reserved on Wednesday in the Western Cape High Court over the building of Houmoed Avenue Extension 1 adjacent to a wetland in Noordhoek.
Residents in the area are opposed to the project, saying the road will lead to the local extinction of Western Leopard Toads (WLT), which are endangered.
Advocate Murray Bridgman, representing the Noordhoek Environmental Action Group (NEAG), the organisation that is opposed to the project, said the applicant appealed the granting of environmental authorisation (EA) to the City of Cape Town and was refused by the Western Cape Government, and that they seek to review and set aside both the appeal decision and the granting of the EA.
He said that although the case had a fairly long history and had generated controversy and a complicated record, it was the applicant’s contention that it was capable of easy resolution. This on the basis of the “straightforward fact” that there was no expert study on the impact the construction of the road would have on the WLT.
“It is the applicant’s contention that this is a fatal flaw that is incapable of correction. The whole process is fatally flawed. Vital information was not included in the environmental assessment, which was a Basic Assessment Record (BAR) in this case, and vital information was therefore not put before the decision-makers. It is not possible to do an ex-post facto expert study,” said Bridgman.
Michael Edmunds, who represents the City of Cape Town, argued that the road would link the existing Houmoed Avenue to Lekkerwater Road in Masiphumelele and that it would bring employment and economic benefits to the people living in those areas, especially in Masiphumele. He said the road would also ease traffic congestion during pickup hours.
“The environmental assessment has been approved; it was approved on March 20, 2020. The applicants appealed and failed. This road forms part of the overall planning of all the upgrades to the roads in this part of the world. There’s currently no direct road from Masiphumelele to employment opportunities and shopping centres,” said Edmunds.
City Mayco member for urban mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas, said: “The City is of the view that these proposed road extensions are necessary and reasonable, especially for the safety and convenience of residents of Masiphumelele and for the purposes of alleviating chronic congestion in the area.