New ‘city’ shrouded in mystery

The possible design of the Wescape development, which proposes to create a new city centre.

Rumours that the mega Wescape development was to go ahead have been dismissed by the City of Cape Town.

The development, which proposes to host 800 000 people and 200 000 homes on the West Coast within the Koeberg evacuation zone, was first announced in 2012.

The development, which proposes to create a new urban centre worth R140 billion, was conceptualised by CommuniTgrow and partners in 2006.

The development proposed to create 300 000 jobs and all necessary public amenities which include 400 education facilities, 30 health facilities, and 15 sports complexes. The building process was to have included 10 phases built over 20 years, starting in 2015.

However, articles about the development which were recently published online mentioned that CommuniTgrow, chairperson Gita Goven, said that construction of Wescape could now begin as soon as next year.

Ms Goven was quoted as saying CommuniTgrow is currently preparing an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) application, and securing finance for the project.

However, when Tabletalk approached CommuniTgrow to verify this information, we could not get hold of the spokesperson and an email sent to the organisation was left unanswered.

With the published information making its way across social media, residents raised their concerns and commented on the development on the Table View Frustrated Ratepayers’ Association Facebook page, questioning how the development could be approved. In 2013 residents were extremely concerned with the impact of such a huge development on Melkbosstrand, Atlantis and the rural areas around it (“Wescape plan under fire,” Tabletalk April 10, 2013).

Those concerns are still being aired among residents.

Deene Collopy said: “The question is what are the evacuation plans the City and central government will need to have in place to evacuate this area, plus the existing areas of Melkbosstrand and Parklands in the event Koeberg falls over.”

Yolande de Klerk commented: “They’ve been talking about this for the past four years already.” And Alex Lepnik responded: “It seems now [Wescape is] authorized against all concerns raised.”

Dennis Vermaak asked whether the City is going to increase the capacity of the R27 by making a double decker high way to carry the traffic from the new development.

However, according to the mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning for Cape Town, Johan van der Merwe, residents need not be concerned as no EIA application has been lodged for Wescape.

“The City of Cape Town has not approved any application for development rights for the so-called Wescape development. In fact, to date the City has not received any rezoning application, nor is it aware of any EIA application having been lodged with the provincial Department of Environmental Management and Development Planning,” said Mr Van der Merwe.

He said two years ago the provincial government approved an amendment to the City’s Spatial Development Framework (SDF) under the former Land Use Planning Ordinance (LUPO) planning legislation.

The amendment to the SDF’s urban edge does make it possible for landowners to apply for development rights. However, Mr Van der Merwe reiterated that this has not been done.

“Should an application be submitted in future, there will be extensive public participation as is prescribed both in terms of the Municipal Planning By-law as well as the National Environmental Management Act,” he said.