Awareness before developing land

Mea Lashbrooke, Bergvliet

The story “Stonehurst input deadline extended” (Bulletin, September 7) refers.

Privileged to live within the embrace of the Greater Constantia Valley, we should wake from our sleep, induced perhaps by the comfort here.

Objections are again called to Elco Property Town Planners’ application to rezone/subdivide City-owned Raape Kraal Farm, Westlake, for a proposed electrical depot on one of four erfs. Currently zoned agricultural, the farm is also heritage. Proposals for the middle erf include a double-storey structure, parking, administrative, staff, storage, and workshop facilities, and perhaps a petrol station, but no mention of the remaining erfs – a recipe for future controversy.

Farmland and water are scarce. There is said to be a spring here. What about community agriculture, as seen internationally and locally? Once concretised, land is lost. If agriculture is not possible, there’s public open space. Bee husbandry at the historic homestead would benefit either way.

It’s already too late to save other parts of our valley from architectural desecration where designs should have been in keeping with use, history, landscape and orientation.

The American Embassy in Westlake, resembling a concrete bunker, crouches close to a wetland.

Across the road, on the same wetland, metres of foundations support a multi-storey concrete mass obliterating
Elephant’s Eye, storage for one man’s art – perhaps an important collection, but then where is the sensibility to see his building as inappropriate? It’s insulting to dump excess possessions this way. In “Leopard Toad art gallery in store” (Bulletin, August 10), it is reported that “one of his aims is to have them assembled for viewing in one place”.

This article mentions culverts for toads to access the wetland lower down. Are we expected to be swayed by this?

On historic Uitsig wine farm,Tokai, where recently current owners built within the Cape vernacular, a spectacular, vast winery complex is nearly completed-flat-roofed, concrete, glass, blocking Constantiaberg from view proportion and design perhaps better located elsewhere on the farm.

Slopes near Con-stantia Nek are marred by Beau Constantia wine farm’s architecture out of keeping with history, tradition and aesthetics.

Let’s awake to what is happening.