Sub-council discusses ‘ticking time bombs’

Athina May

Ward 23 councillor Dr Joy McCarthy described the water and electricity situation in wards 4, 107 and 23 as a ticking time bomb, at the Sub-council 1 meeting held on Thursday February 18, as the number of C3 notifications complaints lodged in these areas have exceeded those in all other wards in the sub-council area.

Ward 4 had as many as 253 notices lodged for water and sanitation, followed by Ward 23 with 214 notices and Ward 107 with 287 in the month of January.

Also competing with high notices was the electricity department, which received 338 complaints in Wards 4; 177 in Ward 23 and 27 in Ward 104.

This caused concerns among council members regarding the service infrastructure in the area and its ability to cope with the rising development in the area, as applications for development continued to make its way onto the sub-council agenda.

An application to rezone a property on 105 Blaauwberg Road from residential to commercial was brought to sub-council in November last year, but was postponed pending certificates of capacity for the water and sanitation and electricity to be submitted to sub-council from City departments.

However, the application came back to sub-council without certification as the owner indicated that certification was not needed for his application.

Dr McCarthy explained that the council members did not expect these certificates from the applicant, but from the City.

“As ward councillors we have an oversight role, an obligation and duty to safeguard the interest of our residents.

“These two departments have the highest number of notifications and this certainly tells a story.

“It would be negligent if we neglected the accumulative impact of these developments on a clearly overburdened system. We’re asking for a certificate of capacity to see if water can cope so that we’re not sitting on a ticking time bomb,” said Dr McCarthy.

She said sub-council members will be requesting an engineer’s report to verify that the infrastructure in the area could in fact cope with increased development in the area, as the contract would be legally binding and the engineer would be held liable should the “time bomb” explode.

Another issue on the sub-council agenda was the approval of house shops in the Summer Greens area and their possible front for illegal dealings.

Dr McCarthy said that the area lost its aesthetics and didn’t look like it did 15 years ago. “There are two house shops on every block, is it not the commercialisation of a suburb?” asked Dr McCarthy while addressing the planning and building development management representative, Elmarie Marais.

Ms Marais responded, saying that the majority of the property remains residential, with only a section of the property being used for a commercial use and could not be considered as commercialisation.

The Summer Greens Residents’ Association(SGRA) also objected to a house shop which it felt would detract from the aesthetics of the area.

Ms Marais said that the aesthetics would be carefully looked at as the department would have scope to do that and Dr McCarthy suggested that a site visit be conducted to assess the claims of the SGRA regarding the owner’s occupation of an illegal building on the home premises.