‘Township’ incensed anti-cemetery residents

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THREE RIVERS. – A proposed ‘township/cemetery’ development may have misled residents. Many were incensed by the word ‘township’ on a board posted to advertise a rezoning application. This was explained on behalf of landowners/developers by environmental consultant Tom Viljoen, who says what is proposed is a retirement village that resorts under township development bylaws. He also points out that a technical report makes it clear that residents’ fears are groundless. Even a small retirement village would only be possible, provided services are available from Midvaal or Emfuleni.

Viljoen reports that, currently, no services are available and that for the next ten years, no services are planned due to load shedding. He stresses that no IDP houses will be built or are planned by the owners.

On behalf of residents, Rene Vermaas says this still does not change the fact that both a cemetery and a retirement village need a sewerage system. Five documents required from Mr Viljoen by Ms Vermaas are a notice to neighbours, a copy of a soil probe outcome that finds the soil suitable for a cemetery, a copy of the Midvaal IDP on which the proposal is based, a copy of the Gauteng application pages 1 – 2, and copy of acknowledgement of receipt of 804 individual documents from concerned parties who want to be registered as stakeholders.

Mr Viljoen assures that any development should not compromise the environmental integrity of the site and his report refers to ‘a private cemetery and associated services.’ Midvaal spokesperson Aaliyah Dangor confirms that an application for rezoning was lodged for a cemetery: “This application is being registered and will then be sent to internal and external departments. Once the comment period has lapsed, the application will be evaluated.“Should the application not be in line with Council policy, it will be referred to the mayoral committee. Ms Dangor says objections against the application will be referred to a Section 131 Hearing Tribunal. The application process is not complete but is underway.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) ward councillors responsible for the potentially affected areas are Dalene Venter of Three Rivers, Wayne de Agrella and Andre van Tonder of Midvaal. The proposed development is in the open veld near the truck stop opposite Fourways Landrover off the Heidelberg Road. The area is ‘Uitgevallen’ but is already being called ‘Makopong’. Residents have met with representatives of the developer, Midvaal and Emfuleni.

They have also petitioned against the development, citing a wide range of concerns including contaminated borehole water, plummeting property values and crime.

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