Sunday, June 29, 2008


Proposed Township Developments in Prince Albert

Two proposed housing developments in Prince Albert were publicised in the last edition of the Friend. Both raised questions in my mind about what type of town Prince Albert should be.

An advertisement, placed by Environmental Consultants from Durbanville, invited comments on a security complex/townhouse development. These comments would form a part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, required before developers can go ahead with their plans. It is intended to develop 1.919ha into 56 new erfs and to build a public road over 6 metres wide and other roads of less than 30 metres in length, and to install services to and within the site.

Unless my arithmetic is faulty, it appears that the erfs will therefore be about 270 square metres in size, which is very tiny by Prince Albert standards. I understand that the Spatial Development Framework for Prince Albert recommends that a minimum erf size of 500 square metres be maintained west of Kerkstraat. I understand also that the proposed development is to be named ‘The Olive Tree’ as one olive tree will be planted alongside each driveway. Clearly, gardens will be out of the question.

The second township development appears under the article entitled somewhat innocently “Groot Planne vir die Prince Albert Gholfbaan”, and now appears to have two parts, viz, a re-siting of the Golf Club together with a golf estate, and a re-development of the present golf club site. It is to the developers’ credit that they have decided to keep Prince Albert residents informed of their intentions even before the legally required processes begin.

Here, part one of the proposal is for a golf estate with a nine-hole golf course, new clubhouse and 150 new houses (in three phases of 50 each - is this the total number envisaged?).

A meeting – at the present golf club – was held to further explain the new development. A number of new facts emerged at this meeting: the old golf course, currently owned by the members will be exchanged for the new golf course. The re-siting of the golf course was considered necessary for socio-economic reasons and because some members of the Prince Albert community use the present facility for cutting down wood and for recreational purposes. The impression was given at the meeting that the golf club will own the new golf course. The Golf Club will be extended to include tennis courts, bowling greens, and will be a facility open to all in the Prince Albert community.

What was unclear to me was how the ‘new’ Golf Course (Country Club?) would avoid the problems which have led the present Golf Club to feel the need to swap the land.

The second part is that the existing golf course will be developed by the new owners for sale to (and ownership) by all economic sectors in Prince Albert. The number of erfs and the requirements for water and services have not yet been established.

The ‘new’ Golf Club will retain its Karoo Character, but greens and fairways will be watered with sewerage water and undrinkable borehole water.

It is encouraging to hear that public participation will be a feature of the Environmental Impact Assessment aspect of the planning of this new golf estate. I would encourage all members of the Prince Albert community to participate fully.

The questions that occur to me are the following:

1. Does Prince Albert have sufficient water to supply to developments such as these? The town’s history includes the painful imposition of water restrictions a couple of years ago, a ban on building new swimming pools, and a ban on sinking new boreholes (all these actions taken to conserve precious water). Other new developments in the town which have been permitted (e.g. Waterkop, Kweekvallei, and one other that I can think of) have not yet been fully developed and their impact on the provision of water in the future is not known and still to be experienced, not to mention vacant erfs and erfs on which building is already taking place. I am not aware of a municipal plan which predicts future water needs nor a supply plan to meet current and future needs. Does such a plan exist? Indeed, can water be supplied to all erfs not yet built on? Will public processes adequately deal with these questions, given that this has not happened during past township developments?

In the golf club estate development it is stated that it is intended to ‘green’ the new golf course possibly using sewerage water, but no mention is made of the provision of water to the new township, nor to the development on the existing golf course..

2. Will these developments add to the aesthetic appearance of Prince Albert? We do not currently have tiny plots of ground and the construction of these types of development in other towns and cities does little for their aesthetic appearance. We look forward to details regarding the appearance of the golf estate and to the development on the existing golf course.

3. What will the real impact be on Prince Albert? Maybe the developers could be persuaded to show ‘models’ superimposed on photographs of Prince Albert to give us a preview of what to expect.

4. Does Prince Albert need ‘security’ complexes? I find it abhorrent to imagine our town developing big city attitudes to security.

5. These types of development are often aimed at ‘older’ citizens. If this is so, are facilities being provided for frail care?

Bokkie Botha
Ambulans: Prince Albert

Ek verwys na die brief van mev Willemse in u Mei uitgawe.

Hiermee betuig ek my opregte medelye met die afsterwe van ‘n geliefde.

Die diensrekord toon dat ‘n noodroep om 19:27 ontvang is, dat ‘n ambulans om 19:31 uitgestuur is, en dat die ambulans die toneel op die Prince Albert-weg stasie om 20:14 bereik het ( d.w.s ‘n reaksietyd van 45 minute ).

In die lig van die groot afstande tussen bestemmings, twyfel ek of die ambulans enigsins vinniger kon reageer.

Uit die brief blyk dit ook dat probleme ondervind is om die ambulansdiens te kontak en dat vertraging in die reaksie van die ambulansdiens grootliks daaraan te wyte is dat die diens nie dadelik die boodskap ontvang het nie.

Die noodnommers wat geskakel kan word in geval van ‘n mediese noodgeval is 10177 vanaf ‘n Telkom-lyn en 112 vanaf ‘n selfoon. Gebruik asseblief hierdie telefoonnommers in die toekoms om te verseker dat u die toepaslike reaksie kry.

Wees verseker dat ons daartoe verbind is om te alle tye daarna te streef om ‘n kwaliteit mediese diens te lewer.

Pierre Uys
Minister van Gesondheid in die Wes–Kaap

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