A ‘missed opportunity’

A city block viewed from the corner of Kendal and Main roads, Diep River.

The City of Cape Town has decided to withdraw from the C40 Reinventing Cities Initiative, according to a report served before the City’s portfolio committee for spatial planning and environment on Thursday March 7.

The City said that due to various delays, the chance to take part had been missed (“Affordable housing plans put on hold,” Bulletin, October 25).

However, Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayco member for spatial planning and environment, says this report must still be approved by the mayoral committee and council.

The C40 Reinventing Cities Initiative is a global competition which gets the private sector and communities to devise carbon-neutral development solutions and designs for underutilised publicly owned sites in C40 member cities.

“The City can still call on the private sector to assist us with carbon-neutral development proposals for the five City owned-sites that were identified for this competition. As such, this opportunity is not lost, as the City can still explore proposals outside of the C40 Reinventing Cities Programme in the near future,” Ms Nieuwoudt said.

The City’s transport and urban development authority (TDA) spearheaded the project in 2017.

Two plots, constituting 2.7 hectares of municipal land, along the M4 (Main Road) in Diep River, were to have been used for the development of social housing.

The land, known as Mouquet Farm, is flanked by Main Road, Kendal Road, Myburgh Road and Greenfield Road, and is situated close to Bergvliet, Elfindale, Meadowridge and Retreat.

The City had been reserving the land pending the outcome of the C40 programme.

The other pieces of land earmarked for the initiative were a vacant site in Ottery, the Bishop Lavis Town Centre and a parking lot in Woodstock.

Former Mayco member for transport and urban development Brett Herron said it was a missed opportunity for the City to address apartheid spatial planning.

“The withdrawal from the programme is an embarrassment to the City and the leadership role it used to play in the climate change, resilience and sustainability networks,” he said.

But Ms Nieuwoudt stressed that the City had only withdrawn from the competition’s current round.

“We are only withdrawing from this round because the sites that have been identified are complicated and still have to go through a number of impact studies.

This means that the sites will not be ready for development as per the enrolment rules. The City would rather prepare now and then be ready for the next initiative.”

The report will be tabled before the council later this
month.