Conradie Better Living on the horizon

The ground breaking ceremony at the Conradie Better Living Model development site.

Premier Helen Zille broke ground at the multi-billion rand Conradie Better Living Model development which is expected to fast-track upgrades to road infrastructure and public transportation nodes in the surrounding area.

The R3 billion development will see 3 602 residential units built on the 22 hectare plot. Of these, 1 764 will be subsidised, affordable units. The remaining open market units will help to cross-subsidise the affordable units. The development will also include commercial space, parks and recreational spaces, as well as two new schools.

At the ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday January 16, Ms Zille said the development marked a significant milestone in the provincial government’s efforts to redress the legacy of apartheid spatial planning, and to deliver well-located, affordable integrated housing opportunities for citizens living in the province.

“We celebrate the realisation of the enormous effort and hard work of a dedicated project team over the past three years. It has not been an easy road to get to this point, but the results will be worth it – the pioneering development of an affordable, mixed-use, residentially-led development close to the Cape Town CBD.”

She said the project would catalyse upgrades to road infrastructure and public transport and create more than 4 300 jobs during the operational phase and about 9 300 jobs during construction.

This comes after the provincial executive took a decision to confirm the disposal of the old Conradie Hospital site to Concor Construction in terms of the Land Administration Act (WCLAA, 1998) in December last year. At the time, Ms Zille said the Conradie development never got off the ground in 2006, due to a botched sale to a developer, without a viable affordable housing model in place.

Ms Zille said they underwent the necessary public participation processes; secured authorisations from Heritage, Environmental and Water Affairs; designed the supporting infrastructure; obtained rezoning approval from the City of Cape Town; and appointed a developer, all within three years.

“During this period, we had six statutory public participation processes and additional engagements, including ongoing meetings with representatives from neighbouring communities and businesses, going beyond the minimum prescripts of the legislated planning approval processes.

“This included the project team and I conducting a site visit in October 2016, following concerns raised by residents over a proposal to extend Odin Drive, a cul-de-sac, as part of the project. Following this visit, I requested that a study be done to determine alternatives to this proposal. This resulted in an amendment to the development proposal, an amended rezoning application and ultimately an amended approved project,” she said.

The Tatler previously reported on Pinelands residents’ unhappiness over the proposed development, where four residents’ associations joined forces to block the development (“Residents object to development,” Tatler, June 15 2017).

At the time, representatives from the Pinelands Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, the Kensington-Facreton Ratepayers’ Association, the Thornton Ratepayers’ Association and the Maitland Ratepayers’ Association formally objected to a rezoning proposal that would help to clear the way for the development.

Speaking on behalf of all four groups, Carol Clarke, the secretary for the Pinelands association, said several aspects of the development worry them. They wanted the 3 606 proposed units reduced to 2 500; the proposed nine-storey building heights limited to four storeys, minimum unit sizes of not less than 50m2, the parking bay ratio increased from 0.5 to 1 bay per unit; the scrapping of a proposal for liquor off-sales and the retention of all mature trees along with a detailed landscaping plan of current trees and proposed plants.