Isabel Franzen, Constantia Ratepayer’s and Residents’ Association executive committee member
The application for the proposed retail development on the old Ladies Mile dump site by Shoprite Checkers/Solomon Family Trusts, will be decided at the Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT) meeting on Tuesday December 13.
Despite 54 objections, the City planners, in their report for the MPT, have essentially recommended approval.
The Constantia Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (CRRA), in their comment on the proposed development, stated their support for the restitution of the site to its rightful owners and their endeavours to obtain rights for development in an “appropriate” manner.
However, we objected to the current proposal, as it does not comply with the City’s own planning policies and does not satisfy the desirability criteria listed in the Municipal Planning By-Law, such as: the socio-economic impact; compatibility with the surrounding area; the impact on safety, health and well-being of the community; the heritage impact; and traffic and transport considerations.
We concluded by saying: “This large, vacant site presents a unique opportunity for the establishment of a quality new neighbourhood, accommodating a range of housing types and associated uses, including convenience retail, restaurants and open spaces.”
The floor area of this proposed development is about half of that of Constantia Village, and it will be much higher, making it much more visible. The City acknowledge in its report that the proposal violates the southern district plan, which specifically states that ‘’no further regional shopping centres should be permitted” in the area.
The CRRA only received a copy of the City planners’ report on Friday December 2. Six working days is insufficient time to prepare for a meaningful interview at the MPT meeting.
Also, many residents will be away on Tuesday December 13, so we intend to apply for a postponement to February. It will also allow for comprehensive consultation with our members – an opinion survey indicated that more than 80 percent of respondents were opposed to the development in its proposed form.
The application and City report to the Municipal Planning Tribunal is available from the CRRA website.