Community objects to 40 ha township

Hundreds of Hartbeespoort residents have objected against a proposed 40 ha township on the R513 (Van der Hoff Road) at Silkaatsnek.

The proposed township, at the foot of the protected Magaliesberg Mountain, envisions 348 residential units, spaces for shops, offices, commercial use etc.,as well as private open space and a special sewerage pump station.

Resident have voiced their objections loudly the past weeks since the notice was published and have now submitted it to the Madibeng municipality.

Some of the crucial issues addressed in the objections are sewerage, impact on the protected Magaliesburg Biosphere, water supply, traffic, electricity supply and a possible change in approved plans, amongst others.

The objections point out that ten years after the Sunway township was established, there is still no proper sewerage infrastructure in place and sewage has been polluting ground water in the area for years. At the adjacent Refentse township, the same situation prevails with raw sewage running into Van der Hoff Road on a daily basis.

Addressing water supply issues, the objections point out that there is currently no plans to increase water supply in this area. Water shortages in Refentse and Sunway has led to violent protests over the years.

Concerning maintenance, it is pointed out that the Madibeng municipality has serious challenges to maintain current infrastructure.

Other concerns raised are that the proposed plans will be changed at a later date as was done with the Sunway development. It also touches on the already burdened road infrastructure and traffic in this area.

Andreas Lombard of Lombard Land Surveyors and Town Planners, said this week the “development will certainly not be another Sunway village! It will be a security estate for the middle to higher income market.”

The layout makes provision for 348 residential 1 stands as well as 6 residential 3 stands that can be utilised for the development of town houses, most with beautiful views of the Hartbeespoort Dam and the Magaliesberg, The other uses are indicated on the plan.

“The average stand size of the residential 1 stands is 471 square meters, which is between approximately 400 square meters and erven as large as 600 square meters. The 471 square meter average is more than 2,5 times larger than the stands of 186 square meters in Sunway village. The average stand size is therefore also larger than most stands in a well known development like for example Mount Lyric (Melodie X 31).The stand sizes is not much smaller than the stands in Pecanwood which mostly varies between 500 and 600 square meters.”

Lombard said they are well aware of the current situation and therefore understands the public’s reaction to a new development. “I strongly believe that this reaction was fueled by fear for “another Sunway village” and not facts. A preliminary services availability report was prepared by Civilconsult engineers (which has been involved in numerous developments in Madibeng that ranges from Sunway village to Xanadu) that indicated that the Housing Development Agency (HAD) is in the process of planning a bulk sewer line that may accommodate the sewerage of this development, together with Refentse (Afsaal) and Sunway village that could drain all the sewerage to the Rietfontein Waste Water Treatment works. If this bulk line is not available in time, the developer will also have an option to use a similar treatment system than currently used in most of the estates surrounding the Hartbeespoort Dam, like Westlake, Leloko, Pecanwood, Magalies Golf estate, etc. This can only be finalised as part of the services agreement between the developer and the municipality after an application for township establishment has been approved, but the proposed layout makes provision for a stand for a sewerage pump station (that could also be used for a treatment plant should it be required).”

The water and electricity connections will also be subject to the services agreement. “Once again, as with the road network, the maintenance of the internal reticulation network will be the responsibility of the Homeowner’s association.”

Touching on the protected Biosphere issue, Lombard said that he believes development between the road and the actual Magaliesberg Protected Natural Environment (MPNE)-line is a very effective buffer to protect the larger portion of the mountain. “This can be seen with developments like Kosmos ridge, Mount Kos, Falcon view and Kosmos itself. It is in the interest of the developments to maintain a neat look from the road’s side (in this case the view from Van der Hoff road), while the security estate do not allow any foot traffic to the protected part of the mountain. Access from the development to the mountain will certainly jeopardize the security of the estate. This might require a change in thinking for most people to accept development as a way of protecting nature, but I believe the examples speaks for themselves.”

The developer of the proposed township is Abey Malatse, a Hartbeespoort resident.