Proposed road threatens endangered Cape toads
Cape Town - Environmentalists have hit back at the City of Cape Town over a proposal to build a road in the Noordhoek area that could threaten an endangered species of toads.
The proposal to extend the existing Hou Moed Avenue to Lekkerwater Road in Masiphumelele would run alongside three ponds and cost R60million, but the environmental impact and necessity for the road have not been adequately investigated.
Glenn Ashton is part of the Noordhoek Environmental Action Group and was able to lead a successful appeal to the Western Cape government between 2003 and 2004 to block the building of the road.
“It’s not only the danger that it poses to the toads, which are part of the whole environment but where they want to put that road is in the part of the wetland that’s already under a lot of pressure.
“That wetland filters the water that goes through to the lakes and from there into the Noordhoek wetland. In the late 1990s and early 2000s quite a few surveys were done on it and already indications were it was in a pretty dire state and it has got worse since then and citing those studies they turned down the application,” said Ashton.
He commented that the wetland could spill over and collapse if more pressure was placed on it through construction.
“Certain experts have commented but that’s not looking at the bigger picture. You can’t look at a wetland in isolation and we won’t be able to fix those wetlands once they’re gone.”
The toads are found in the low-lying coastal areas and in parts of the southern suburbs, the Cape Peninsula and Stanford, and spend 11 months of the year living in nearby gardens before walking over to a pond for the breeding season.
Weekend Argus previously reported the City’s mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase said the final assessment for the construction of the road and environmental impact was done by a fauna specialist.
But Purchase said the building of the road was not imminent and she believes upgrades to Kommetjie Road, Noordhoek Main Road, and Ou Kaapse Weg will relieve any traffic congestion.
Residents of the area said the assessment undertaken by the fauna specialist was inadequate to accurately access the environmental impact.
Purchase said she was aware of residents’ dissatisfaction and an environmental impact assessment will deal with the matter “once and for all”.
Graham Mountifield has submitted as much as 50 pages of objections to the City for the building of the road through the Noordhoek wetlands.
“The fauna specialist is not qualified to provide any input on toads, he is a generalist and not a herpetologist.”
Lynn Hanger said Purchase’s comments left her “flabbergasted”.
“She talks like the approval of this road is a foregone conclusion in contrast to her various assurances to me personally, both in writing and to my face, as far back as 2017, that we don’t need this road. This short-sighted approach is going to cause the Noordhoek wetlands to collapse and the whole valley will turn into a stinking bog,” said Hanger.
Meanwhile, a PhD candidate in ecopsychology and climate change, Andrea Marais said the building of the road would not alleviate traffic congestion.
“This will place surrounding communities (like Masiphumelele) at risk if this road goes ahead.
“Not only will this unnecessary road create a thoroughfare through Masiphumelele increasing crime in the community, but it will also increase community disaster risk events in the future with rising sea levels and flooding,” she said.