Councillor's Report
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Alderman Brian Watkyns

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Alderman Brian Watkyns

  • Tel Office: 021 531 3716
  • Cell: 083 444 4807
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email: bwatkyns@icon.co.za
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2009

About Brian Watkyns

Brian Watkyns has represented the Pinelands area since 1982. The original Pinelands Town Council consisted of 6 Councillors. With the first amalgamation of local councils in 1996, Thornton, Epping 1, Ndabeni and Maitland Garden Village were added to Pinelands with a part of Maitland to create Ward 37.

The year 2000 saw the introduction of mega- cities with 200 Councillors. Ward 37 had areas of Langa, Kensington, Observatory, Mowbray and Hazendal included to create new Ward 53.

In 2005, the boundaries were changed to exclude Kensington but Maitland Garden Village was once again included.

Brian is currently the Chairperson of the Planning and Environment Portfolio Committee and the Chairperson for Sub Council 15. Brian also serves on the Spatial Planning,Environment and Land Use Management Committee. In addition he is a trustee on the Cape Municipal Pension Fund and a member of the Table Mountain Advisory Forum Steering Committee.

From time to time Brian issues printed report backs in the form of a Pinelands Focus and a Thornton Focus. Updates are issued on a regular basis in an e-mail format. If you want to be included in the mailing list send your details to bwatkyns@icon.co.za. Separate updates are sent to Pinelands, Thornton and Epping, so please indicate which you would like to receive.

If you would also like to receive news of a more political nature, please indicate and you will be added to the political news database.

You can also visit Brian's own website at
watkyns.notlong.com

Councillor's Report

   

Recent Issues & Articles:


Read more on these topics on this page
  • Howard Centre: Redevelopment Issues
  • Nightingale Way: Traffic Calming Measure
  • Pinelands Police Station: Inadequacy of current premises
  • Children's Play Park Moved to Central Square
  • Parks Dept man in Pinelands, Themba died recently
  • Building Renovation around Central Square Heritage Area
  • City awards tender for Athlone cooling tower demolition
  • The Future of the Athlone Power Station
  • Brian Watkyns visit to Letchworth Garden City in UK
  • Cooling Towers to be demolished on Sun 30 May
  • Athlone Cooling Towers to be demolished due to structural weakness
  • Appeal to support Siyabonga Tshmese
  • Free Concert in Wynberg Park on Reconcilliation Day
  • Cable Theft in Pinelands
  • City calls for water restrictions to be observed
 

Your Comment

comment on issues or problems relating to local government


Howard Centre: Redevelopment Issues


Howard Centre management boycotted a meeting which I called on Tuesday 24 August to try to resolve a number of outstanding issues surrounding the recent upgrading of the Centre.
The reason given for the boycott was the presence of the Pinelands Ratepayers Association and Ward Forum members at the meeting despite the fact that the Association had been involved in each of the issues on the agenda. Some of the issue had also been discussed publically at both Subcouncil and Ward Forum meetings and were therefore very much in the public domain. Despite the absence of the representatives from the Centre, good progress was made and a follow up meeting will be held later in September to obtain feedback on a number of issues which came to light during the discussion. These include :

  • Non compliance with the lease of City land regarding the informal traders and parking for library staff.
  • Possible non compliance with the required number of parking bays and loading bays.
  • The apparent inclusion of loading bays as parking bays to meet requirements of their planning application
  • The permission granted by Council to use offsite parking to enable the planning application to be approved
  • The implication of parking bays for private vehicles in the Pick n Pay loading area
  • The inability of articulated trucks to use existing loading bays
  • Returning Logan Way to two way traffic by reducing the parking bays on both sides of Logan Way to parallel parking only
  • The removal of one of the three disabled bays near the entrance to the centre and the impression that the remaining disabled bays are constantly used by security vans
  • The Centre’s apparent abandoning of the responsibility for three parking bays near the parking garage

It is a great pity that the Centre Management have seen fit to exclude themselves from the process of trying to resolve these outstanding issues. I even promised not allow discussion around the sensitive issue of tiles at the Centre. Despite their refusal to be in involved in the process we have asked officials to meet with Centre Management without the presence of the Association. Ward Forum members or myself and report back at our next meeting


Nightingale Way: Traffic Calming Measures


For many years residents have requested traffic calming measures for Nightingale Way in Pinelands as it had become hazard to pedestrians due to the number of speeding motorists. The Zebra crossing in the area of the bridge over the Elsieskraal River Reserve is often ignored, placing pedestrians at risk. Initially residents requested that the zebra crossing be augmented with a pedestrian robot but this proved too costly. The many subsequent requests for traffic calming measures did not meet Council’s criteria for establishing speed humps. About two years there were two accidents in Nightingale Way involving young Pinelands residents. The one accident resulted in the loss of two lives and in the other , the loss of a limb. This intensified our quest for traffic calming measures but still the criteria was not met. I requested that regular speed traps be set up. This was done but there was no appreciable difference in motorists behaviour and Nightingale Way remained unsafe. Late last year it became evident that an increasing number of learners from the two schools in the vicinity, namely Canons Creek School and Pinelands High School, needed to cross the road at peak hours in the morning. I requested approval for part of my 2010/2011 ward allowance to be utilised for a raised pedestrian crossing similar to one in Howard Drive and permission was granted.


Pinelands Police Station: Inadequacy of current premises


For almost 60 years the Pinelands Police Stations was accommodated in a rented residential property in appalling conditions in St Stephens Road, Pinelands while more recently the detective branch operated from a house in Forest Drive The Pinelands CPF lobbied for many years to have a new station built on the unutilized Provincial land in Avonduur on the edge of Pinelands. Despite promises made by SAPS National Office, this did not materialize. However the St Stephens property was sold in 2006 with the result alternative accommodation had to be found. As an interim measure both the Station and the detectives were moved to the then recently vacated SAPS task force offices on Jan Smuts Drive in Maitland in late 2007. Although these premises are purported to be temporary, they have some critical drawbacks.

The main issues being the lack of holding cells and a lock up storage facility known SAP 13 which used for storage of evidence . On a daily basis the Pinelands SAPS have to transport prisoners to cells in either Kensington or Maitland. The absence of these critical SAPS facilities severely hampers the effectiveness of the Pinelands Police Station and highlights the urgent need for the long promised new Pinelands Police Station to be built. However it appears that with the move from the original station, there is little motivation on SAPS National Office to keep their promise even though directly opposite the current station, they are in the process of developing new Provincial office. It is therefore unlikely that lack of finance is holding back the promised Pinelands Police Station.


Children's Play Park Moved to Central Square


One of children playing in the newly moved park at Central Square which Brian Watkyns did with ward allocation. The play park was previously behind the Pinelands Library, but had become derelict and disused. In its new safer and more prominent location, the refurbished play park is now well used. Brian Has received a number of emails expressing thanks.




Parks Dept man in Pinelands, Themba died recently


Sadly, Themba, the Parks Dept man in Pinelands died recently.


Building Renovation around Central Square Heritage Area


A building renovation in progress around the Central Square Heritage Area.

Brian Watkyns is seeking opinion on whether such developments are in keeping with a proclaimed heritage area.


City awards tender for Athlone cooling tower demolition


The Athlone Power Station which was shut down in 2005 has been an issue for Pinelands residents for many years. Earlier this year it was decided that the two towers would be demolished, due to the fact that they have become structurally unsafe. The original date for demolition of May 30 is being reconsidered at the moment.

Alderman Clive Justus, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, announced that Jet Demolition (Pty) Ltd. had been appointed to demolish the two cooling towers at the former Athlone Power Station.

Three months ago, on 14 February, reinforced concrete stiffening rings on one of the towers collapsed. These stabilising rings were added more than two decades ago and their collapse raised safety concerns.Two consulting engineering companies confirmed that the towers may collapse, particularly in strong, north-westerly winds and a decision was thus taken to proceed with the demolition of the towers.

In terms of the bid specification and an agreed working programme, the winning contractor will be responsible for safe access to the towers and their implosion. Thereafter, they must clean up, level and prepare the site for subsequent operations.

In response to the request for quotations, eight offers were received, ranging from R4,79 million to R23,46 million. Following an evaluation and a check for compliance with the tender requirements, the lowest offer which complied with the specification, R6,496 million, was submitted by Jet Demolition (Pty) Ltd. The need to expedite the demolition was obvious and the City Manager’s office, accordingly awarded the contract. The company’s track record indicates that it will be able to successfully complete the contract.

Jet Demolition will now meet City officials and the appointed consulting engineers to discuss the programme for the works in greater detail. “We are well aware of the great public interest in the demolition of the towers and will share further information with the public as the process unfolds”, Alderman Justus said.


The Future of the Athlone Power Station


The Athlone Power Station which was shut down in 2005 has been an issue for Pinelands residents for many years. Earlier this year it was decided that the two towers would be demolished, due to the fact that they have become structurally unsafe. The original date for demolition of May 30 is being reconsidered at the moment.

The chance now exists to explore ways of using this valuable space to create a vibrant area. The City of Cape Town has embarked on a public participation process to decide how to develop the Athlone Power Station site. There are a range of possible development scenarios for the site which include educational, commercial and residential components as the land comprises of 38 hectares of City owned land

Not all buildings will be demolished. In particular the old red brick turbine hall, which was built in the 1950s is envisaged as being part of the redevelopment of the site. There are some constraints on the site, one of which is a 'chlorine exclusion zone'. This zone covers part of the area nearest the sewage plant on the south side of the N2 and makes that part of the site unsuitable for housing. There is strong support from academics to aim towards creating a green power station, with educational facilities housed in the old buildings.

As the Chair of the Planning Portfolio Committee I believe that all of the surrounding communities will benefit from the responsible re-use of the site. We are, however, at the beginning of a long process of exploring what is possible and affordable. Much more work needs to be done, also involving statutory land use planning and environmental approval processes. All of these will be undertaken in consultation with interested and affected parties and surrounding communities.


Council passes by-law to deal with problem buildings


The City Council has passed a by-law enabling it to deal swiftly with the control and management of dilapidated and problem buildings throughout Cape Town. The legislation empowers the City to implement a strategy to address problem buildings by rejuvenating them or demolishing them. The by-law was formulated following the finalisation of an extensive public participation process.


City tables draft budget of R22,8 billion for 2010/11


The City has tabled a draft budget of R22,8 billion for 2010/11. This is made up of an operating budget of R19.3 billion and a capital budget of R3.55 billion.
Included, is a provision of R1.2 billion to provide relief for the poor such as free electricity and water, and rates and tariff rebates. In its proposed budget the City has increased the rates rebate on all residential properties from R88 000 to R200 000. This rates rebate, in addition to the R1.2 billion (equal to 6 percent of revenue) that Council has set aside for relief to the poor, represents a strong commitment from the City to assist its poorer residents. The final budget will be approved by the City Council at the end of May 2010.


City tables new tariffs for electricity, water and refuse


The City of Cape Town has proposed new tariffs including average increases of 24,6% for electricity, 10% for water and sanitation, and 18% for refuse collection. .
The municipal rate has been reduced to 0,531 cents-in-the-rand. According to Alderman Ian Neilson, Mayoral Committee Member, the significant jump in electricity prices is inevitable because of the 28.9% Eskom bulk tariff increase to local government. The draft budget can be viewed at all public libraries and is open for comment until April 30. The new rates and tariffs will be introduced as from 01 July 2010.


GARDEN CITIES MEET


As the English and South African cricket teams battled it out in 30o heat in the test match, Alderman Brian Watkyns of Pinelands Garden City in Cape Town travelled the other way to pay a visit to a frosty Letchworth before Christmas.

Pinelands, the area Mr Watkyns represents, was created in the 1920s, after the Spanish flu epidemic had decimated the population of Cape Town. Cramped housing was blamed, so the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, who had met Ebenezer Howard, proposed that a garden city should be built. It was the first in South Africa and Sir Raymond Unwin, one of the planners of Letchworth, was consulted for the designs. Arriving in Letchworth Garden City, Mr Watkyns was met by NHDC councillors and officers and was taken on a short tour of the town by a group including Cllr F John Smith, Leader of the Council, John Campbell, Chief Executive.and Alan Howard, Marketing Director of the Letchworth GC Heritage Foundation. Brian Watkyns said, “We are very proud of our garden city in South Africa and it was fascinating to come to the place where it all started and spread round the world. It was also interesting to hear from Letchworth people that you face many of the same issues with the need to preserve your past while always adapting for the future. Here’s to Letchworth, and to Pinelands.”
extract from: OUTLOOK - The community news magazine tfrom the NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL, Spring 2010


Athlone Cooling Towers to be demolished due to structural weakness


At about 1am on Sunday the reinforcing rings on one cooling tower at the Athlone Power Station collapsed, causing Council to take the decision to demolish both towers by implosion. Council initially took the precaution of closing the N2. I was on site with structural engineers and officials by 9am and a visual assessment showed that the collapse of the rings had not compromised the structure and there was no immediate danger of the tower collapsing. However engineers indicated that the strong north wind experienced in the winter months sets up a vortex between the two towers which could cause the tower to become unstable and recommended the demolition as soon as possible. In the early 90s at least one cooling tower in the UK which had a similar design to the two at Athlone collapsed. As a result , precautionary measures were taken by erecting reinforcing rings on both Athlone towers.

The Power Station was commissioned in 1961 and was taken out of service for 10 years from 1985, costing the City about R217milion keeping it ready for some future use. In 1995 it started operating again but was used only in the peak usage periods. Council spent R30 million from 1995 to 1997 to remove the asbestos, install bag filters to reduce pollution and various other upgrades. In 1996 the National Electricity Regulator questioned the profitability of the its operation and in January 1998 a report was submitted to Council, recommending the decommissioning of the power station. Finally in 2002 Council decided to decommission the power station.

This was greeted with much relief by the residents of Langa, Pinelands and Athlone who had to endure excessive pollution from the Power station during its operating life span.
Since then there has been much debate over the future use of the site and in particular the future of the towers with residents in the City being divided over the what should happen to them. While the public debate over the future of the site continues, the future of the towers is now sealed making way for the 8 hectares they occupy to be developed as part of the overall future design.
Alderman Brian WatkynsWard 53
Feb 2010


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