13 December 2008

To be or not to be - Part 1

The activist in me has re-emerged after lying dormant for many years, so here goes.......time to vent my spleen.

The community of Richmond Hill, Port Elizabeth is up in arms over the the intention of the National Department of Public Works and the SA Police to build a four story call centre, with a 50 metre high radio tower, in the heart of our historic suburb.

They propose to build this ugly, ill conceived and poorly planned edifice alongside the old Erica School building, which is one of the historic landmarks of the City. Not only that, it will front right onto the park and also take away the afternoon sun from the residents in St Phillips Street. Oh, and let's not forget that the view of the Erica Building will be obscured from many directions.

As people who are at the forefront of fighting crime in our neighbourhood, we are fully supportive of the need to upgrade the 10111 call centre, with the latest technology, but not at the expense of our quality of life, or the negative effect this will have on our heritage or the value of our properties.

Despite strong opposition, which has been dismissed as emotive, the bureaucratics have decided to push ahead with the project. The community has decided to fight it with equal, if not greater determination. The authorities still need to go through a process of public participation and do an environmental impact assessment on the radio mast, and a Heritage Impact Assessment on the old burial site, so we have a while to go.

Why many of us are emotive, is not surprising, as the authorities have applied the mushroom principle with us, by keeping us in the dark and feeding us crap. We have arranged all the public participation meetings. It was through our efforts that it finally emerged that it was not a two storey building, but a four storey building that was to be built. It was us who pointed out to them that they were about to start building on an old Mfengu burial site. The tender process started before the public participation process..........I could go on, but will not.

As far as the SAP is concerned they will play it by the book and as long as the project fulfills all the legal requirements, it will go ahead. We say, it may be legal but that does not make it right.
It is very easy to dismiss as emotive, the views of the community, but the reality is that we live here. We will have to live with the building blocking our views. We will have to live with the impact of a 15 month building project on our doorstep. We will have to live with the disruption of the comings and goings of shift workers at all times of the day and night, on our already crowded roads.

Accoring to the consultants, "there are no panoramic or excellent views that will be impaired to such an extent as to significantly deminish the market value of any of the adjoining or neighbouring properties." We beg to differ!

The way we see it is that the SAP have been tardy in their planning and now want to push through the project, without a Plan B, because the upgraded call centre is one of the requirements for the 2010 World Cup Soccer. Time is running out and this is the quickest way to solve their problem. We do not believe that the fabric of our community should be sacrified for the short term expedency of four days of soccer. There are alternative sites, which will be better suited to this project.

If anyone from the community wants to join the protest I will be happy to send you a copy of our 24 page submission.


Tiyo Widodo said...

I was so excited treasuring this blog. It's beautiful, my friend.

Kitt10's said...

I would ask where do I sign? Does it have to be only people living in your community that sign's such a petition? Afterall I do not live there anymore but it makes me crazy to see this happening.
I admire your spirit so full of courage and passion to stand up and to be heard for what you believe in.
Just think what wonderful views the workers in that building will have while they are supposed to work. They will be staring at the ocean, daydreaming and not doing their jobs, whilst everyone else living in the community would suffer the consequences.

David Anttony said...

Hey thanks for a great hit.Keep doing great stuff.

David Anttony

Firefly said...

I have been following this in the papers and I say this is bs or in other words *^%&^%. They have alternative sights that are probably better suited which means this will be a waste of taxpayers money. What is wrong with Mount Road Police Station. High rise building on the hill. No problem. Their excuse is too low ceilings. What a pathetic excuse.

bodaat said...

Good luck! Please keep us posted as you hear more. And ps - congrats on getting the Blog of Note. I'm glad you did as that is how I stumbled across your very intersting blog.

Katney said...

I like that you are a crusader! We need people like you in every community.

Jeanne said...

I have a feeling that there will be more railroading through of stuff before we get to 2010. It's as if the country has developed severe soccer-induced myopia and can't see the impact of anything after 2010!! Very sad and shortsighted.

Diego Cáceres said...

Hi! i am Diego form Argentina. This report is excellent!! I thought this things happened in ARG but around the world the govenment is the same. i hope the comunity could solve this problem.

Anonymous said...

beautifully expressed blog...appears as if UR life is calm...M

jason said...

this blog really spoke to me. i hope the community or someone figures this problem out.

Anonymous said...

That's a stunning view and next to the historic Erica School Building that proposed office building does not fit the neighborhood architecture at all. A reworked design would make a huge difference. I hope your efforts are successful!

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.