In the City of Cape Town council meeting today, the DA and ANC today voted on the process to be followed in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (3of 2000) for the expropriation of existing servitudes right of way in favour of the general public registered over the planned CTICC expansion erven 246 and 247, named ‘CTICC East’.
The ACDP supports the expansion of the CTICC but continues to insist that it must be legally valid. With this in mind, on behalf of the ACDP I proposed that the agenda item be referred back to the relevant department to correct the various misleading inaccuracies presented in the report and to ensure the process is legally valid.
An important planning principle the world over is that the transaction must be free from risk before pursuing the development, rather than following irregular and legally invalid processes and then curing the defects after the fact, such as this one, and ultimately at great cost. In this regard, removal of the servitudes should be part of the Site Development Plan (SDP) approved in 2005, but are not.
The servitude between Erven 246 and 247 is not simply for a pedestrian walk way as the report states. The SDP, which has not yet been updated or amended, AND the City’s own Zoning Scheme, shows that it is a public road named Corso Street. This is important because the process of removing the road from the SDP and Zoning Scheme requires the City’s Transport for Cape Town department and the Planning Department to agree that the road is no longer needed before submitting a proposal in this regard to the full council to vote on. No-one, including full council, can build a 30meter high development across a road, even if the road is still on plan, without the zoning scheme and SDP being changed first. Yet this is the implication of approving todays agenda item.
Other concerns I raised include that the 2005 SDP (SDP 2) approves a 50meter high bulk in the Planning Principles Document while todays agenda item reduces it to 30meters high without informing council of the reasons why, who approved the reduction (council certainly didn’t) and the cost associated there-with. The resultant loss of 40% of the bulk will have a significant impact on the CTICC and its market and investment value to the public who is paying for it, yet the public remains unaware of these decisions and implications. Removal of the servitudes as a precursor to building one massive 30meter high CTICC East across the three erven further flouts SDP 3 “Pedestrian Movement Plan” by blocking all East/West pedestrian movement. It also flouts SDP 6: “View Corridors and Visual Focal Points” by removing 8 VFP’s and 3 view corridors, without public debate. Finally, most of the 11 “Traffic, Transport and Parking” conditions (SDP 8) are ignored. I also asked how Erf 186 quietly had its zoning changed from Open Space 2 to Business without it going through council after a public participation process.
The office of the Public Protector’s (PP’S) imminent report on the expansion of the CTICC, following the release of the City Forensic Services Department’s damning investigation report, should be finalised before the City proceeds further with the expansion, precisely because the PP’s report will surely require that all these decisions be overturned and the expansion process started anew, at great cost to the public.
The ACDP calls on the PP to interdict the CTICC expansion project until it finalises its report, and to ensure that the City FSD’s report is released to the public immediately.