Dassenburg Development- What Is Going On Here?

A map of the proposed development of Dassenberg
The general area of the proposed development- image thanks to Google Earth

Work has begun on the new housing development at the foot of the Dassenberg Mountain (at the base of Ou Kaapse Weg). Clearing began last week so it seems unlikely that the development will not happen, unless the developers go out of business.

This makes one question what kind of a process has been gone through here as no matter how you look at this it only makes sense to those who are going to make money out of it- which makes you further question the integrity of our planning process, council and regional authorities!

A little strong, maybe, but any person with half a brain in their head and no vested interest has to think that this development is not a good idea.

Apart from the destruction of more countryside (a weak argument for me as this is a site that is overrun with alien vegetation and causes as many complaints about the wood/drug peddlers as anything else, and the love for nature didn’t stop all the other development in the area- including my own house) this development is going to put yet more pressure on our infrastructure, and create an accident black spot that will make the one up the road seem like a beacon of safety. Imagine having to get in and out of traffic during busy times, vehicles coming at 90+kph down the hill and someone pulling out- deaths will occur regularly! A right turn lane as proposed by the developers will have very little effect, and no doubt when it comes time to do this the company will conveniently go under, leaving the local tax payer to foot the bill for the road works.

Reading reports in the media there can be no rational argument for due process being followed on this one. In 1997 the development was turned down, however it the application was readmitted in 2008, being passed in April 2009, by the then MEC Pierre Uys, days before the elections that saw him lose his seat (if it smells like one then it probably is a rat.) And this was not the only controversial rubber stamping that was undertaken by the previous administration, the Seapoint Pavillion (visit Seapool Blog for more on this) and Lagoon Beach near George being just two I found on the Internet without really trying.

The Dassenberg development proposes to place 145 residential units on the 78ha site. This will undoubtedly put even more pressure on the far Souths creaking infrastructure, the roads not being the least of them. We are already struggling to meet the water requirements of the area, as well as having raw sewerage leaking into the sea due to an overburdened treatment system.

The only silver lining is the fact that although the developers, Bakoor (pty) Ltd, have planning permission to develop the site, the subdivision has not been approved; although, according to a report in the People’s Post nothing much has changed at our regional government, with important decisions still being made behind closed doors and proper public participation being ignored. Our own ward councillor Felicity Purchase seems to also be in the dark on this one. My bet is that unless a local organization such as the Noordhoek Environmental Action Group (NEAG) can fight this through the courts then the developer will get the subdivision as requested. I have asked Glenn Ashton, secretary for the NEAG to comment on their intentions going forward on this, and will offer the services of Cape Point Chronicle as a discussion forum on this subject.

I have to say that I am not adverse to all development it just annoys me that due process is flaunted in this way. In this case, because the development was given the go ahead by the MEC there can in effect be no appeal process, someone is having a good laugh at our expense. Unfortunately this will drag on for some time, and in the meantime the developers are busy flattening the mountain.

4 thoughts on “Dassenburg Development- What Is Going On Here?

  1. kommetjie resident says:

    as resident and using ou Kaapse Weg daily, this is simply the most ridiculous idea ever heard of!!! I really hope that NEAG and residents can work a miracle to prevent this from happening. The infrastructure can’t handle this type of development… time to protest and stand together as deep south lovers!

    1. Russell Hepworth says:

      You are absolutely right, I cannot think of a worse place to have an entrance road onto Ou Kaapse Weg, and its not like there will be an alternative way out, unless they are planning a road all the way into the back of Sun Valley. This begs the question, who in their right mind would want to live there, having to risk life and limb every time they want to leave the house?
      As I see it at present the development cannot go ahead unless the sub division is granted, surely it is within the remit of the City to not grant this, effectively making the project pointless. If anyone out there has access to an official, such as a councellor or city official I would be very much appreciate it if they could be cajolled into commenting on this.

  2. Norman Goldie says:

    I have been in property for along time and you people of the south should reconsider stopping the development, look at what happened in Melkbosstrand ,they were forced to give up part of the developments and put up low cost housing, Think again.

    1. Russell Hepworth says:

      Thanks for the counterpoint Norman. I think that what has people most upset about this is the fact that this development was approved by a single official, days before leaving office, in a way that does not allow for public participation in any way. The City of Cape Town doesn’t even have the legal right to appeal. There is something very wrong with that. Second to that is the simple fact that the Far South cannot support anymore development without massive upgrades to it’s infrastructure. Whether this is to be a high class development full of billionaires or is used for RDP housing doesn’t matter, we don’t have the space, the road or sewerage capacity for more houses. If this development had gone through the public process it would not have been passed, it simply doesn’t comply with the City’s policies on urban sprawl for a start. This makes you wonder what the MEC’s incentive was for passing it in the way he did. Low cost housing or not the people of the Far South have been taken for fools and in a democratic society we need not and indeed, should not stay quiet and just let it happen: if we do then it will surely continue to happen until the peninsula sinks under the weight of concrete.

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