PRRA: Archive 2009

PRRA December 2009 Reportback

It is salutary to be reminded that Pinelanders’ complaints are often minor compared to what others have to endure. At a recent meeting of the Pinelands Exco with the committee of the Kensington and Factreton Ratepayers’ Association, they listed some of their problems in one of the oldest communities in the Western Cape, for example, drug dealers operating with impunity, a high school with totally inadequate toilet facilities, an informal settlement in the graveyard with gravestones being vandalised and destroyed, rundown sports facilities and a lack of information and consultation, so unwanted and unsightly buildings are put up without any prior notice.

Alderman Brian Watkyns was able to advise them on how to influence what goes on in their community. In view of some of the grossly unfair criticism he has received recently, these visitors were most impressed by how well-informed and helpful he was, and how hard he works in all parts of his constituency. At the same meeting, Gerry Adlard, Development Consultant of Cape Town, gave some sobering facts and statistics about informal housing which is where much of Cape Town will be living for the foreseeable future. Because of the housing backlog, migration and rapid urbanisation, it is impossible to build enough low-cost housing. The major problem is lack of suitable land which is why so many informal settlements are in unsuitable environments such as flood plains, electric or pipe line servitudes, road reserves - or graveyards.

Only the West Coast has spare land - at R1,000,000.00 per hectare! In addition to land for housing, there is also a need for sewage, clinics, schools and job opportunities. For every R3 spent on infrastructure or services, an additional R2 has to be spent because of vandalism. Gerry Adlard will be the invited speaker at the first General Meeting of the Pinelands Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association to be held at the Town Hall on Wednesday 17 January at 7.30 p.m.

The secret to a well-run suburb is an active and involved community. The Pinelands Association is there to serve the community and deal with problems and complaints. It does its best to stop our Garden Suburb from deteriorating any further.

For those celebrating Christmas, a very Merry Christmas.
May the festive season bring peace and happiness to everyone.
And a Happy New Year to all.

PRRA Meeting

21 Oct 2009

Notes from the meeting held at the Town Hall on Wednesday 21 October.

Special Rating Area
At the Meeting held at the Town Hall on Wednesday 21 October, Taffy Roberts outlined what was needed to get Pinelands classified as a Special Rating Area, the new name for a CID (Community Improvement District), which pays for services in addition to those provided by Council, especially Crime and Grime. Advertised meetings have to be held to inform Pinelanders, 51%of whom must agree in writing before Council gives its approval. Then a Section 21 Company has to be set up to run the Special Rating Area. Pinelanders can choose to include the whole or part of Pinelands; join Thornton; form a Special Rating Area first, then invite Thornton to join, or join an existing CID. Pinelanders can also choose what services they want. With more volunteers, the cost is reduced. Though times are hard, Council allows those unable to pay their rates in full to claim a rebate. The acting Chairman, Riad Davids, pointed out that CIDs have been a success. If Mowbray obtained a CID which sorted out its crime problem, Pinelands might suffer a crime wave. Businesses which do not financially support the Law Enforcement officers in the area would have to do so in a CID.

Jammie Shuttle and UCT students
There was a complaint that Jammie Shuttle picked up students from Pinelands Grove, but not other UCT students resident in the area. If other students want to use the Shuttle, they can e-mail giving the times they need transport to and from campus. These details will be given to UCT to support the appeal for a Jammie service for all UCT students living in Pinelands. Or Golden Arrow may find it viable to provide extra buses.

Non-delivery of Tatler and People’s Post
If you do not receive these community newspapers, e-mail with your address and the Association will inform the papers concerned.

The functions and benefits of the Association
Any Pinelander with a problem can arrange an interview with the committee on the last Monday evening of the month.
E-mail or phone a committee member. Street lighting, road signs, factory noise, building noise after hours and on Sundays, pollution, noxious smells are some of the problems the committee deals with. There is also close liaison with the Police Forum and ACT which meets on the last Tuesday of the month at the Municipal Offices at 3 p.m. where residents are welcome to come and directly tackle Council officials.

Building Developments
The Association is keeping a watchful eye on proposed developments at Conradie and Mupine which would have a major impact on Pinelands. The Association, which has opposed the building of 2,700 housing units at Conradie, is registered as an Interested and Affected Party so has to be kept informed. Alderman Brian Watkyns explained that all major developments in the area were on hold because the northern sewage line from Bellville to Athlone (to which Pinelands is linked) is beyond capacity and has first to be upgraded.

If Pinelanders want to preserve the old Pinelands Police Station, they should write individual letters to Council rather than collect signatures for a petition. The Integrated Zoning Scheme would preserve Old Pinelands. Houses more than 60 years old would first have to apply to Heritage before any alterations.

Brian Watkyns said that with new bye-laws identifying problem buildings as health or fire hazards, the Council could take action against them. A shabby, unpainted house is NOT a problem house. Illegal building was also being tackled and 4 Ennerdale had been served with a Cease Work order.

Poisoned dogs
Dogs have been poisoned in Hillrise but the police were not willing to open a docket. Riad Davids advised going to the SPCA.

Even though vagrants sometimes removed the recycling before the official collectors, Riad Davids assured the members that it was, in fact, still being recycled and Brian Watkyns confirmed that Pinelands was the most successful recycling area.

Proposed Development of the Old Pinelands Police Station

In August 2009, Pinelands Residents and Ratepayers Association requested comment from residents on this proposed development which lies in the Heritage Area. The existing Old Police Station building is shown on the right. The pictures below show an artist's impression of the proposed development.

An online opinion poll on the Pinelands Directory website conducted in August 2009 reflected the votes shown below. There were 68 votes in total

The Old Police Station: click for larger view

Proposed Development: click for larger view

Proposed Development: click for larger view

Pinelands Ratepayers' Committee find the latest design for the development on the Old Police Station site to be aesthetically pleasing and to meet their concerns relating to traffic hazards.

Public comment on the latest design is invited.

On Monday 14 Sep, members of the Ratepayers Committee met Dr Steve Townsend ( architect, planner and conservationist) who had been requested to act as middle man between the committee and the architects, and studied the latest plans for the development of the Old Police Station.

Artist's impressions of the latest design
are shown below.

A plan of the site is also available:
CLICK HERE to view it

Sketches of the previous design
are shown above.

The latest proposal was deemed aesthetically acceptable but concerns were raised about delivery and rubbish removal. It was agreed that suitably placed embayments on St Stephens Rd for rubbish removal and on Central Sq side for delivery should suffice and as a result the architect has provided an updated plan for the site. There are 10 parking bays at street level, plus 8 for bikes. There are also 34 underground parking bays, most likely for the for exclusive use of tenants.

Regarding demolition of the old building, it appears that permission has been granted unless there is an appeal lodged to the effect that proper proceedures were not followed ie that interested and affected parties were not informed that they could appeal the decision. As the PRRA has expressed their acceptance of the aesthetics of the building and the addition of the two embayments there will be no objection lodged by them.

What are your thoughts on this?
Register a vote and leave a comment below.

An online opinion poll on the Pinelands Directory website conducted in Nov / Dec 2009 reflected the votes shown below. There were 60 votes in total.

Comments on the issue recorded on the Pinelands Directory website comment boards are shown below.

  • New Building - preferred the first design
    agree with the comment below - the previous design was much more modern and appealling.
    Cameron: 3 Dec 2009 : 05:43 pm
  • First design more characterful and beautiful
    Too often architects are pushed around by associations who have little understanding of the art. The new proposal has erradicated the initial pitched roof and large openings in walls. It now looks like any old office block when before the pitched roof gave it a poetic appeal, an interesting habitable loft space and subtle reference to its neighbours.The larger openings also placed the building more in its time and would have lifted the feel of the area to something more upmarket and attractive to young professionals.Where the area would have had a touch of excitement we now remain in dreary and conservative Pinelands with another voiceless, mediocre building. What happened to creativity? It was more alive 50 years ago!
    Sean Sayer: 11 Nov 2009 : 01:10 pm
  • Central Square Development
    It would be a tragedy if the Old Police Station is demolished. It is in character with all the buildings in the area. We don't want a modern building which will clash with all others. There are later additions to the Police Station which can be demolished as they detract from the historic and cultural significance of the original building. There is no reason why the existing facade cannot be kept and a modern building built behind. This is common practice with many buildings in the CBD and I see no reason why it should not be practised here. I want to retain the character and charm of Pinelands, not see it irrevocably damaged by thoughtless and inconsiderate building development.
    Paul Mann: 9 Oct 2009 : 09:38 am

Slowing traffic at dangerous intersections and pedestrian crossings What's the answer?

There have been some requests from residents for traffic slowing measures at dangerous intersections and pedestrian crossings.
What are your thoughts on this?

  • Are sleeping policemen (speed bumps) the best way to deal with this? This is the usual approach, but do you think it is the best one?
  • Would stationing a real policeman at problem areas periodically be better? Would speeding return as soon as they leave?
  • Do you have your own idea for a better solution?

Comments on the issue recorded on the Pinelands Directory website comment boards are shown below.

  • Speeding along Union Avenue
    Despite the circles constructed along Union Avenue, vehicles still speed. In one instance, a motorist was clearly in a rush and who disregarded a stop sign had the nerve to hoot so loudly at us who was turning into our drive way, like we didn't have the right to slow down and park on or property.
    SV: 11 Nov 2009 : 09:59 pm
  • Speeding in Links Drive
    We have the same problem as others - motorists turning from the Crescent into Links Drive and speeding towards Alice's Ride and then beyond - in the opposite direction as well. Thank you for the stop street at The Crescent - however the Traffic Dept would make lots of money with fines - 1 out of every 10 people actually stops there.
    Barbara O.: 3 Nov 2009 : 10:03 am
  • Speed Humps.
    The speed of traffic on the Forest Drive service road between Welwyn and Duncan is inappropriate in the morning peak--mainly taxis (of course), parents dropping their children off at school and the odd private car trying to avoid the queue of traffic in Forest Drive. It's just an accident waiting to happen. Why not put in prefabricated units as shown. If they don't work or are an unbearable nuisance, take them out again. Why does there have to be this soul-searching, breast-beating debate every time a speed hump is mentioned?
    Paul Mann: 9 Oct 2009 : 09:53 am
    If not speed bumps then what else could slow traffic down travelling down Ringwood Drive en route to Clyde Pinelands? Most of the traffic to the football fields are not locals, neither is there an alternative route they could take.
    Jenny Peers: 1 Oct 2009 : 03:49 pm

Minutes of the PRRA AGM on10 June 2009

Click here to see the minutes


Additional Police Officers Target Illegal Parking, Unlicensed Vehicles and By-law Violations

The 2 additional Police Officers assigned to Pinelands for by-law enforcement have initially been active in the Central Square area, but will be branching out around Pinelands. Pinelands Residents are advised to not park illegally, especially on verges, and to respect the parking time limits. You are also advised to warn your visitors who may not be aware of this. A surprising number of unlicensed vehicles have also been noticed and action has been taken.

Proposed New SAPS Headquarters Near Prestige Drive

A proposed new SAPS Headquarters near Prestige Drive would house 1000 workers with about 300 visitors daily with insufficient parking. It is suspected that traffic on Sunrise Circle would be badly affected

New Complex Development on Pinelands Grove

15 Sunrise, known as Pinelands Grove, which was supposed to be developed into a complex of 120 flats, was now being converted into a residence for UCT students with no provision for parking. There was a possibility of a 7-storey building being erected on the site.