21 May 2012

Chappies protesters on the march again, Hout Bay

Chappies protesters on the march again, Hout Bay

Taken from the CAPE TIMES/Barbara Maregele:

ABOUT 100 protesters have braved cold and rain to hand a memorandum to representatives of the provincial authorities, SANParks and Murray and Roberts, demanding answers and documents about the proposed Chapman’s Peak toll plaza and office block.

The crowd booed and some chanted “We want answers” as members of the Protect Chapman’s Peak Movement handed the memorandum to Wally Silbernagl, acting director of road design for the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works and Entilini director Robert Pomario, who accepted the memo on behalf of Murray and Roberts, yesterday.

Protesters stood outside the Entilini offices in Hout Bay and held up posters that said: “We demand answers, Helen, what are you hiding?” and “Entilini guilty of crimes against the environment.”

Organiser Bronwen Lankers-Byrne said: “Why can’t the government build houses and schools instead of a R54 million toll plaza we don’t need? This is legally and morally wrong. We can’t allow our mountain to be defaced.

“I strongly believe we have a good case this time round. Every bid we make and protest we participate in will have an effect on the end result. We still have a chance to stop this.”

Philip Bam, chairman of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, said people across the city needed to unite against the building plans.

“We stand to protect all the beautiful things in nature given to us. People who ask why we are against it need to know it is the right thing to do. This is an issue for all Capetonians.”

The memo demanded, among other things:

l Documents to show Entilini was financially sustainable and how the province would get back the R25m it was paying towards the toll plaza and office block.

l Details of the rent Entilini was paying in Hout Bay and of the amount by which the provincial government subsidised it.

l An immediate halt to excavation and construction.

l The removal of the toll booms and containers now in place.

l Details of the volume of traffic on Chapman’s Peak Drive.

l Free access to picnic sites and hiking trials in perpetuity.

The Protect Chapman’s Peak Movement said the march was part of a campaign to increase awareness before the Western Cape High Court hears next Monday its application for an order halting construction. If the application is granted, the movement is to go to court to try to prove that the proposed buildings would be unlawful. It says an automatic toll booth would adequate, while the toll office block would be built on protected land in the Table Mountain National Park.

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10 Feb 2012

Bronwen Lankers-Byrne doing something for Chappies and Hout Bay

Bronwen Lankers-Byrne doing something for Chappies and Hout Bay

Whether you are for or against the toll being built on Chapmans Peak Drive, Hout Bay needs people like Bronwen Lankers-Byrne, who stand by their opinion and are passionate about their community!

taken from iol.co.za/Zara Nicholson

HUNGER striker, Hout Bay activist Bronwen Lankers-Byrne has not taken food for five days because of her opposition to the controversial new Chapman’s Peak toll plaza and office block.

Lankers-Byrne started her hunger strike at 7am on Sunday on Chapman’s Peak, opposite the construction site.

The former Buddhist nun, 59, fasted for 19 days about two decades ago.

She said initially she was worried that she might not be as strong as she was before, but said yesterday that she felt as good as she did 20 years ago.

Lankers-Byrne has been sitting opposite the construction site every day from 7am to 7pm and said she would only stop if construction was halted and opposition civil society groups were able to hold transparent talks with the provincial government and Entilini.

Lankers-Byrne told the Cape Times yesterday: “I got sick on Sunday and Monday, but by Tuesday I was fine.

“After three days my pounding headache and the nausea disappeared.

“I feel weaker but a lot clearer in my head and very strong spiritually.”

Lankers-Byrne has only been drinking between six and 10 litres of water a day, and said she only felt hungry when she walked past restaurants on her way to the Chapman’s Peak construction site in the morning.

She said she had received support from passers-by.

“Everyone who stops is so interested and I engage with them,” Lankers-Byrne said.

“They sign the petition opposing the construction and we even received a R2 000 donation for court action.”

More than 160 people have signed the petition against the site, while the Civil Rights Action Group has collected about 4 000 signatures.

Lankers-Byrne said earlier this week that it seemed that some people had vandalised the foundation, which builders had started last week. She said that the construction company had, however, continued building this week despite the widespread opposition to the project.

Civil society groups maintain that the building being constructed is not the same building seen on the plans they commented on during the public participation process.

Two weeks ago Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle gave the go-ahead for construction to begin on the toll plaza and office block development, worth R54 million.

However, the Hout Bay Residents Association is still expected to file for an urgent interdict to stop construction of the disputed development.


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27 Jan 2012

The decadence starts in Hout Bay

The decadence starts in Hout Bay

After a great showing by protesters over the weekend, the building of the new plaza looks like it has begun…

So here is the predicament we face  as a community.  The tolling/management company of Chapmans Peak Drive are given the go ahead to start building by Robin Carlisle, a Member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament for the Democratic Alliance and Provincial Minister of Transport and Public Works. One of the conundrums is that  the vast majority of protesters over the weekend probably voted for the Democratic Alliance, in the last local election.

The fact that the Table Mountain National Park allocated land for the building of the toll, opens up a “whole can of worms” for the community of Hangberg who might possibly view this as an opportunity to illegally move on to TMNP land across the bay, below the Sentinel.

Or how about the 54 Million Rand of taxpayers money, being spent to build the “decadent” toll building that could go into alleviating housing and social issues in Imizamo Yethu.

Sure this project,  and later the management of the toll will create local jobs, but at what price will it be achieved? The Table Mountain National Park is constitutionally the rights of all South African and thus owned by all South Africans.

Whats stopping me from dropping in a few sand bags next to Tintswalo Lodge, to create an artificial reef to surf on. Have you seen how crowded Llandudno has been this summer?

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17 Jan 2012

Should an ambulance on an emergency pay the toll on Chapmans Peak, Hout Bay?

Should an ambulance on an emergency pay the toll on Chapmans Peak, Hout Bay?

Taken from iafrica.com:

The medical director of Cape Medical Response has been told his ambulances must stop and pay the toll fee if they use Chapman’s Peak drive, irrespective of whether it is an emergency, the Cape Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Alan Walters told the newspaper he was “absolutely gobsmacked” when he learnt the ambulances were not exempt.

“It’s just amazing, really nonsense,” he said.

“I’m not talking about going to a meeting in a response car, I’m talking about an ambulance with lights flashing with a critically ill patient in the back.

“It happened when the guys were on call and they got a call to go to Hout Bay to transfer a patient to Constantiaberg as an emergency.

“They were stopped at the toll and had to scramble around collecting money to pay the toll,” Walters said.

The incident happened last month.

Walters wrote to Rob Pomario, a director of Entilini Concession, asking that ambulances be granted exemption from toll fees when attending to a medical emergency “so that valuable seconds can be saved”.

“All our response vehicles are immediately identifiable as such, with signage and emergency lights,” he wrote.

Pomario wrote back to say he could not grant the ambulances exemption from the toll fees.

He suggested that the ambulances “carry a float at all times to avoid any delays in finding toll fees”.

“Alternatively, we suggest that you discuss our frequent user facility with our operator.

“The gazette is very clear as to which vehicles are to be regarded as emergency vehicles,” Pomario wrote.

Walters wrote to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to say his ambulance service was not granted toll-fee exemption when responding to emergency calls.

“And that means life and death calls. Your opinion would be appreciated.”

Walters said the premier’s office wrote back to say the office would be closed until mid-January. He had not heard anything since then.

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31 Jan 2011

Corpse found on Chappies

Corpse found on Chappies

Taken from iafrica.com written by Giovanna Gerbi:

Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) teams have been attempting to retrieve a body from rough terrain above Chapman’s Peak Drive near Hout Bay.

A bush-clearing team spotted the corpse earlier on Monday, but it is unclear how long it has been there.

WSAR spokesperson Alan Butcher said it is a tricky retrieval operation.

“It was a bush-clearing team that reported it this morning. The operation has been on the go since about 12pm,” he said.

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