Civic fears City plans to push through poo plants

The Greater Table View Action Forum says sewage-treatment plants proposed for Table View developments would have grave consequences for the environment, including Rietvlei.

A civic group fears the City is planning to override public objections and ram through approval for two contentious sewage-treatment plants proposed for Table View.

The Greater Table View Action Forum (GTAF), which vehemently opposes the development of two separate sewage-treatment plants on a property on Briza Road and another on Marine Circle, says mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis’s stony silence on the issue has it worried.

The public had until Monday May 2 to comment on both applications.

The 84 and 86 Briza Road application by Elco Property Developers carries proposals for a four-storey building and an on-site sewage-treatment plant which, according to the forum, will pump its treated effluent into the stormwater system and into the area’s nature reserves.

“He’s just not responding to our emails,” the forum’s planning portfolio head David Ayres said of Mr Hill-Lewis.

“The City is not meeting us anymore. They refuse. We’ve tried to engage with the mayor, deputy mayor, head of water and sanitation, acting head of environment and spatial planning through emails and they remain unanswered since January,” Mr Ayres said.

There was a sense that the City was trying to ram through approval for the plants, he said.

However, Mr Hill-Lewis said that as the final appeal authority, his hands were tied, and it would be “inappropriate” for him to respond or interact with any supporters or objectors at this stage.

“I do not respond to the emails of developers trying to lobby for approval, nor do I reply to those lobbying for rejection. If the matter comes before me after going through all the proper processes, then I’ll apply my mind to the merits of the case,” Mr Hill-Lewis told Tabletalk.

Asked if the applicants had emailed him as well, Mr Hill-Lewis said: “I’m not sure about these particular applications. But I get emails every day from those in favour of, and opposed to, various development applications.”

The forum opposes the proposed four-storey building on 86 Briza Road, which is situated in a residential area that is predominantly zoned as single residential.

“As such, we believe that this building is out of context with the surrounding area and against current City policy,” the forum says in comments posted on its website on Tuesday April 26.

David Ayres from the Greater Table View Action Forum inspects 86 Briza Road, the site proposed for a four-storey building with its own sewage-treatment plant.

Mr Ayres said the applicants had erred by applying through the City instead of the national Department of Water, which he said was responsible for applications for sewage-treatment plants.

The forum said the application “reads like a work of fiction, rather than a credible land use application” and should not have been accepted as it is.

The City did not respond to queries.

The proposed plant on 86 Briza would have 44 parking lots and as many rental units, Mr Ayres said. He said the plant would be an inconvenience in many ways for residents.

“We believe (the sewage-treatment plant) to be a threat to the environment and the well-being of the local community,” the forum says on its website.

According to its application, Elco is planning to convert the Briza Road site into a block of 35 flats, ranging in size from 58m² to 74m², with controlled access from Briza Road.

“The proposed development will remain well within most of the building regulations of a General Residential 2 zone,” the application reads.

A graphic of the proposed development on Briza Road.

The second application, also from Elco and also including an on-site sewage plant, is to rezone 5 Marine Circle in Milnerton from General Business 3 to General Business 7 to allow for a 60m-high block of 244 flats, including studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three bedroom units, ranging in size from 28m² to 108m².

According to company records, Elco Property Developers is based in Parow and owned by Harry Eldred Smith. Mr Smith could not be reached on his listed work telephone by time of publication.