Transportation engineer Tony Abrahamson outlined a strategy to limit inappropriate developments, at Wynberg Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association’s (WRRA) annual general meeting last week.
Held on Thursday February 8, it was attended by just under half of the association’s 80-odd members. with Mr Abrahamson as the guest speaker.
Top of the agenda at the meeting were the plans to devise a precinct development strategy in Wynberg, which have been backed by ward councillor Liz Brunette (“Flats come under fire,” Bulletin, February 8).
The Wynberg precinct is from Main Road to Waterloo Road and Wetton Road to Constantia Main Road.
WRRA posted on its website recently about several blocks of flats proposed for the area, saying these have mushroomed with many on single dwelling sites where cottages have stood for decades, some having historical status.
Among them are the Aldro at 34 Wellington Avenue where flats are priced at R3 million upwards, and Victoria Square, on the corner of Bayview and Bower roads, where flats are going for R1.8 million.
Mr Abrahamson showed a picture of Victoria Square where the 14 one-bedroom flats are going for R1.8 million.
WRRA chairperson Kristina Davidson said some of the historical cottages had been altered over decades leaving little heritage value.
She said the WRRA was not against densification – the City policy of building affordable housing close to transport and job opportunities – but it did not want “ monolithic blocks of multi-million rand apartments, many of them not in keeping with the fabric and character of the suburb”.
Such blocks, she said, could also not be supported by the area’s ancient sanitation and sewage system.
Mr Abrahamson, who has a special interest in land use and development, said the aim of the precinct development strategy was to formalise the urban conservation area and to promote sustainable development for future generations.
He said houses west of Wellington Avenue were GR2 – group housing, flats, with a building height of 15m. West of Wellington Avenue are GR4 – group housing, flats built to 24m. SR1 or single residential is in Wynberg Chelsea Village.
It is not only properties in the spotlight.
Mr Abrahamson showed a map of existing and future arterial road systems in Wynberg. There was some discussion around the MyCiTi bus route, with some residents challenging the WRRA’s Joan van Zyl’s assertion (based on an analysis of the public participation report) that most Wynberg residents were against the Brodie Road couplet that would cut through residential areas.
Ms Davidson said residents were not against the MyCiTi but questioned the route, which would mean demolishing rows of Grade 3B heritage cottages. Alternative routes were possible, she said, using existing roads (Rosmead Avenue and Broad Road) and connecting directly with the transport interchange.
In October 2015 the City of Cape Town was ordered by the Western Cape High Court to investigate alternative routes to the South Road/Brodie Road couplet before proceeding with its Phase 2A MyCiTi bus project. It was also told to conduct a public participation process before evicting 26 families leasing houses in South Road, part of the MyCiTi route.
In May 2017 the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed an application by the South Road Families Association for special leave to appeal against a Western Cape High Court ruling that cleared the way for the next phase of the MyCiTi bus project.
Ms Brunette, who attended most of the meeting, said Wynberg Improvement District and Wynberg Business Forum were not against the Strandfontein Wynberg MyCiTi link. She said the City had appointed an independent consultant to look at the routes and a decision regarding this should be made by the end of March.
Regarding the City’s plans to take over the rail system, Ms Brunette, who sits on the City’s transportation team, said there were plans to partner with Metrorail and brand it and use the rail corridor for more reliable transportation.
Mr Abrahamson said the next step is for the WRRA to establish the scope of work required for the precinct development strategy, which would look at the implications of increased population on the area’s infrastructure.
Thereafter, the strategy would be developed, with the intention of guiding development in Wynberg and enabling Wynberg residents to put forward sound arguments to City planners.
Ms Brunette said she supported the strategy and had requested a historical overlay plan. To join the WRRA, contact Karen Gird 083 441 9734 or email firstname.lastname@example.org