Public participation: Parking garage Rondebosch Shopping Centre

Would you like to participate in a public Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed parking garage at the Rondebosch Village Shopping Centre? If you have never been involved in an EIA before, this is a good chance to learn more about how decisions are being made. The site for the development is adjacent to the Liesbeek. If you wish to participate please register in writing to by 9 September: Nick Steytler – fax: 0217834565 or email: nicksteytler@telkomsa.net.

To read more….

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROCESS: PROPOSED UPGRADING OF THE PARKING AREA AT RONDEBOSCH VILLAGE SHOPPING CENTRE, RONDEBOSCH

DEA&DP REFERENCE NUMBER: E12/2/3/1-A2/410-0290/07

BACKGROUND INFORMATION DOCUMENT
NS Project RON01 August 2007

1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

1.1 Introduction

Acucap Investments 2 (Pty) Ltd (“Acucap”) propose to upgrade the parking area at the Rondebosch Village Shopping Centre, Rondebosch, Cape Town. The location of the Rondebosch Village Shopping Centre is shown in Figure 1 [NOT SHOWN ON WEBSITE]. The upgrading will involve the construction of an additional above ground parking deck which will provide access to shops on the first floor of the shopping centre. Green landscaping and a walkway alongside the Liesbeek River is also proposed.

The proposed development includes a number of activities listed in terms of the NEMA EIA Regulations, and a Basic Assessment will therefore be undertaken.

Nick Steytler has been appointed by Acucap as the independent Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP) to undertake the Basic Assessment Process required in terms of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA), as amended, and the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2006.

This Background Information Document (BID) is being circulated during the initial consultation period eriod of the Basic Assessment Process (see Section 4) and its purpose is to:

• Inform Interested and Affected Parties (IAPs) of the proposed development and the current Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process;
• Provide IAPs with an opportunity to register on the project database;
• Provide IAPs with an opportunity to raise issues and concerns; and
• Indicate future opportunities to engage the process, review information and submit comment.

1.2 Background and History

The site, Erf 106087 Rondebosch was acquired by Acucap in October 2004 from SA Retail (who in turn purchased the property from Old Mutual properties. In 1973 the previous owner requested that the area be declared a public street in order to alleviate traffic problems in the area and to place this issue under the control of the City Council. Effect to this request is recorded in Government Gazette No. 3747 dated 19 October 1973. More recently the City Council, in an attempt to control the parking and maximize revenue for the City, tendered the parking area out to private management. On taking transfer of the property Acucap took over the lease of the parking area and requested the City to re-vest the original rights to the land for private ownership back to Acucap. This process was advertised on the 11 March 2005, and the road closure gazetted on the 4 August 2006 (No. 6374). The land is zoned general business with a zero bulk condition and servitude in favour of the general public at street level.

2. MOTIVATION FOR AND DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTIVITY

2.1 Motivation for the proposed activity

The proposed upgrading is primarily required to provide additional parking bays as there is a high demand for parking space for the shopping centre and in the Rondebosch CBD. The new upper deck will also provide new access and outdoor frontage for shops and restaurants currently located on the first floor of the shopping centre. This will significantly improve the business opportunities for these commercial enterprises. Another important motivation relates to traffic access and flow. Access is currently constrained due to the back-of–house operation at Pick ‘n Pay which, due to the high frequency of deliveries and the limited space, access to the parking area is often hindered. The back-of-house operation also generates excessive amounts of litter which at times is unsightly. The proposed upgrading will optimize traffic access to the parking area and flow within the parking area through reconfiguring the entrance to the parking area off Belmont road, Pick-n-Pays delivery yard and the internal parking bays. Improved operational management will address issues of waste management including litter and stormwater.

2.2 Description of the proposed activity

The upgrading will involve the construction of an additional above ground parking deck which will provide access to shops on the first floor of the shopping centre. The upper deck will have a floorspace of approximately 2300 m². The floorspace of the ground level parking area will remain unchanged at 3778 m². In total approximately 78 parking bays will be provided. The parking area currently provides 85 parking bays.

The site currently contains several large palm trees and a few other ornamental trees. The intention is to retain the larger trees and to introduce additional trees in the vicinity of the Liesbeek River where a walkway is also proposed.

A 600 mm diameter below ground stormwater culvert which collects stormwater from Main Road, Rondebosch and the site, crosses the site and discharges directly into the Liesbeek River. Contaminated stormwater undoubtedly contributes to the nutrient loading of the Liesbeek River. In a effort to reduce contaminant inputs from the parking area, Acucap propose both engineering (e.g. oil / water separators) and operational interventions (implement an operational management plan), the details of which will be described in future documentation.

3. DESCRIPTION OF THE AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT

3.1 The proposed Site

The site currently operates as a pay and park parking area which serves the Rondebosch Village Shopping Centre and associated commercial area. As such most of the site comprises a tarred surface with demarcated parking bays. There are a number of very large palm trees and a number of smaller ornamental trees of limited ecological value. The Liesbeek River forms the eastern boundary of the site. The river has been canalized and comprises a hard-surfaced canal bottom and side walls. A large subterranean stormwater culvert, originating in the vicinity of Main Road, discharges from the side wall directly into the river. An Eskom substation is also located on the site.

3.2 Surrounding Land Uses

Being located in the Rondebosch CBD the surrounding land use is primarily commercial with Main Road, the core of the CBD, being located approximately 100 m to the west of the parking area. Other land uses and key features of the greater surroundings include the following:

• Residential: Rondebosch’s residential areas lie adjacent to the Rondebosch CBD.
• Educational: The University of Cape Town (UCT) campus is located to the west beyond and abutting the CBD.
• Conservation: Table Mountain presents itself as a significant land mark being clearly visible to the west of the site, beyond UCT. The mountain, forming part of Table Mountain National Park is of national conservation status.

4. WHY IS AN EIA BEING UNDERTAKEN?

The new EIA Regulations list certain activities that are deemed to be potentially harmful to the environment, and thus require that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process be followed. For the proposed upgrading scheme there are a number of applicable listed activities that require that at least a Basic Assessment be undertaken. These are:

1. The construction of facilities or infrastructure, including associated structures or infrastructure, for –
k. the bulk transportation of sewage and water, including storm water, in pipelines with –
i. an internal diameter of 0,36 metres or more; or
ii. a peak throughput of 120 litres per second or more;
m. Any purpose in the one in ten year flood line of a river or stream, or within 32 m from the bank of a river or stream where the flood line is unknown, excluding purposes associated with existing residential use,

15. The construction of a road that is wider than 4 metres or that has a reserve wider than 6 metres, excluding roads that fall within the ambit of another listed activity or which are access roads of less than 30 metres long.

5. WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE EIA PROCESS?

A Basic Assessment consists of a number of phases, as illustrated in Figure 3. The first step is the submission of an Application Notice. An Application Notice for the proposed development was submitted to DEA&DP on 23 July 2007. DEA&DP issued a letter of acceptance on 6 August 2007.

The first phase in the Basic Assessment process is the Registration of Interested and Affected Parties (IAPs) and Initial Public Consultation.

To inform IAPs of the proposed development and invite their registration on the project database a notification advert was placed in the Southern Suburbs Tatler local newspaper on 9 August 2007. In addition all adjoining landowners, key authorities and public interest groups were sent a copy of the Background Information Document (this document). During this initial consultation phase of the Basic Assessment process key public interest groups and well as the Local Authority will be consulted, possibly through focus sessions.

The next phase involves the preparation of a Basic Assessment Report (BAR) which will be circulated for review by registered IAPs. If necessary specialist studies will be undertaken to address any key issues that are identified. The findings of these studies will be included in the BAR. IAPs will be provided with 30 days to review the BAR and submit their comments. The EAP will then summarise all IAP comments in a Comments & Responses Report. Thereafter the BAR along with the Comments & responses Report and a completed Application Form (for authorisation in terms of NEMA and the EIA Regulations, 2006), will be submitted to DEA&DP for a decision. DEA&DP will first notify the applicant within 14 days that the documentation is accepted and will then take another 30 days to reach a decision which may be to authorize or to reject the application.

6. PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES

The Basic Assessment process was initiated with DEA&DP’s acceptance of the Application Notice on 8 August 2007. It is envisaged that the Basic Assessment process, culminating with DEA&DP’s decision, will be completed by the end of the year, i.e. end December 2007.

Table 1 outlines the envisaged activities and approximate timing for the process.

Table 1: Anticipated Programme for the Basic Assessment

Task Approximate Dates
Submission of Application Notice to D:EA&DP 23 July 2007
Advertisements to announce commencement of EIA and register IAPs 9 August 2007
Distribution of Background Information Document August 2007
Notification Period 9 August 2007 – 9 September 2007
Release of Basic Assessment Report for public review Mid September 2007
Comment Period Mid September – Mid October 2007
Submission of documentation for decision End October 2007
DEA&DP decision. Mid December 2007

7. HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?

Nick Steytler would value your input into the EIA process. There are a number of ways in which you will be able to participate in, and comment on, the project throughout the process.

At this stage if you or your organisation would like to be involved in the EIA process and receive further information, or know of any individual or organisation who would like to participate in the EIA processes, please submit your contact details for registration on our database, on or by 9 September 2007.

Additionally if you have any preliminary comments or questions regarding the project following the review of this document, please submit your comments, in writing, to Nick Steytler (contact details below), on or by 9 September 2007.

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I am the Vice-Chairman of The Friends of the Liesbeek
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