No joy with councillors

Peter van Blerck, Bergvliet

I own a small commercial building, on the Main Road in Bergvliet, consisting of eight shops. When I bought it, I was only permitted to add a second floor of offices provided there was adequate parking.

As there was parking at the Shell garage just down the road, the building plans were passed by the council. However, this parking has now been taken away under “changed” regulations by council.

There is now no longer adequate parking to accommodate my tenants’ customers, let alone for the tenants themselves. I approached the council in November last year, and received a very negative response to my parking suggestions.

I was advised to approach the local councillor Penny East, which I did by telephone three times, leaving a message each time for her to contact me. As there was no response from her, I then made an appointment to meet her at her office and I arrived in very good time for the meeting. After a long wait I was told that she wasn’t in the office and nobody could raise her on the cellphone, so I left and phoned her cellphone, leaving a message for her to call me urgently. Two months later I have had absolutely no response from her.

I contacted Brett Herron’s office and was told to go back to Marlyn Botha in Plumstead who told me that their original ruling on the parking had changed.

I was given no opportunity to present my parking suggestions but was told that my tenants and their customers should use public transport.

When I objected to this fatuous remark I was asked whether I was prepared to pay for the parking to be constructed. Last week I once again emailed Mr Herron, but have not received an acknowledgement of my email.

I fully understand that the council is in dire straits with the water situation, but I need some answers to several questions. Why was the council spending a great deal of money on little jogging paths all the way down both sides of Orpen and Spaanschemat roads from Pollsmoor prison to the top of Ladies Mile Road, over 25 kilometres, that has wasted millions of rand?

Furthermore, a swath of green strips have been placed on all these roads, for what reason? In the meantime, the council has been allowing developments to take place which really should have been shelved until the water problem was solved.

Here are some constructive suggestions towards raising money for the water projects: first get rid of councillors who are earning fat salaries and can’t be bothered to respond to telephone calls, nor attend meetings set up by them.

The mayoral committee appears to need some serious looking into. Getting rid of those who are not doing a good job would save many thousands of rand in salaries.

As ratepayers we need some answers, as they must be aware that right now their positions in the forthcoming elections are in jeopardy, not so much that people will vote for the opposition but, out of sheer frustration, will not vote at all.

I have written to you because approaching the council directly is a complete waste of time and energy.

* Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, responds:

I can confirm that City officials corresponded several times with Mr Van Blerk in the latter part of last year about the issue raised in the letter. They have also investigated his proposals.

The officials explained to Mr Van Blerk as follows:

* The development of his property was approved under the old Cape Town zoning scheme where there was no parking requirement for a retail development (excluding a shopping centre). Mr Van Blerk thus largely relies on shared parking spaces for his tenants on adjacent properties and on public land.

* In terms of the current City policies and the development management scheme, this area is classified as a Public Transport 2 (PT2) zone. Thus, in terms of the by-law a zero parking requirement applies – meaning, no parking is required. The purpose of PT2 zones is to promote and encourage the use of public transport.

The reduced parking requirements as set out in the Cape Town Zoning Scheme (CTZS) as amended in 2014, and the subsequent approved maps, free up valuable space to enable development at higher densities in areas which are referred to as public transport zones.

Officials informed Mr Van Blerk that his request for additional parking to be implemented in the service road on the western side of Main Road cannot be granted as this will lead to business traffic encroaching into the residential areas. Main Road currently serves as a buffer strip to protect the residential areas.

Still, we will investigate the current use of City-owned land along this corridor. Should there be an opportunity to use this space more effectively to the benefit of the general public, the local roads branch will be informed as such.

* This letter was sent to Penny East and she referred Mr Van Blerck to Carol Bew in whose ward it is situated. She does remember that she did miss an appointment with the gentleman as a result of a family emergency. She had already informed him that this issue did not fall within her jurisdiction..

The letter was forwarded to Carol Bew on February 8 but she did not respond.