Missed opportunity

Caroline Voget, Constantia

Thank you for publishing my letter on the rezoning of the Kendal Road/Spaanschemat River Road land claim site to permit the construction of a Shoprite-Checkers building and several shops and restaurants (“Constantia’s hidden history”, Bulletin March 2).

I was pleased to see two responses published in the last issue (“Setting the record straight”, Bulletin March 9) and acknowledge the right of the Solomon’s family to develop “the land to its full potential” but …

I am so disappointed and sad that the City of Cape Town has turned its back on a perfect opportunity to try and “dismantle spatial apartheid” in Cape Town by providing affordable and inclusive housing in an area already zoned for “mixed use” that would allow working class people to live closer to work, good schools, greenbelts, parks and existing shops and services.

There is an existing school and mosque, several vegetable gardens and flower farms – all with roots that go deep into the old community of Constantia, and all with a huge potential for building a cohesive and real community here. We will look back at the stark and generic shops (however legal and however appropriate the City planners think they are) and deeply regret this decision to go with shallow greed.

This is the thin edge of the wedge for Constantia (and I am referring to lower Constantia here – the bits where some vestiges of its old rural character are still visible). Constantia Village will probably demand that the servitude limiting its footprint be lifted to compete with the Shoprite-Checkers site, the bullying tactics of the owner of the “House of Pots” against local residents over the last 20 years has paid off and it is the first house to fall to commercial rezoning thanks to the City of Cape Town’s greedy ways.

It’s just a matter of time before the whole of Doordrift Road, Spaanschemat River Road and Constantia Main Road topples to the relentless pursuit of big business and the alienation of the residents of Cape Town.

City of Cape Town, you are making a big mistake and future generations will not thank you.