Residents’ petition rezoning of public open space to business

24 Sep 2013 03:40
RUNDU, 24 SEP (NAMPA) - Residents of Rundu’s Millennium suburb in Ndama Extension 1 have drafted a petition against the Rundu Town Council’s decision to rezone a public open space into a business area.
The residents have been complaining that the public open space is not conducive for commercial purposes, and they fear that the businesses that will be established there will only serve to invite many social evils to the suburb.
The Rundu Town Council plans to construct a shopping complex on a piece of land which was previously zoned as a public open space.
The town council’s consultant, Stubenrauch Consultant Company, on 12 July this year wrote letters on behalf of the council to all the homeowners who will be affected, informing them that the council intends to apply for the rezoning of portion A of erf 688, Ndama Exention 1 from ‘Public Open Space to Business’.
Erf 688, Ndama Extension 1 measures about 5723 square metres in size, and is currently zoned off as a ‘Public Open Space’ in terms of the Rundu Town Planning Amendment Scheme.
The Stubenrauch letter, which was seen by this reporter, states that the proposed rezoning will enable the council to sell the land to an independent developer for the development of a shopping complex.
“The proposed rezoning is expected to contribute positively towards the growth of the town’s economy and is not expected to have any negative impact on the surrounding properties, and will create buying opportunities closer to the communities living far from the town centre,” states the letter signed by Gunther Stubenrauch. The letter was issued to over 40 affected homeowners.
Any person objecting to the proposed development was given a deadline of until 24 September 2013 to lodge their objection with reasons to the town council.
This reporter has it on good authority that all the 40 affected house owners have lodged their objections in writing.
The concerned residents stated in some of their objection letters that the space is not conducive for commercial purposes such as the proposed shopping complex because it is a residential area and it will not even be able to accommodate the daily business demands of people.
They indicated that should the place be developed into a shopping complex, it will affect residents negatively due to hazards such as noise pollution from heavy traffic and the dumping of waste materials.
Some of the affected residents, who asked not to be identified, stressed that the envisioned shopping complex will invite crime, as many people will come for shopping which could subsequently lead to increased house breaking and theft.
They thus proposed to the town council that the place should rather be developed into a playground, as it is currently used by children for that purpose after school hours and during school holidays.
“It is the only space available for children to refresh their minds and relax. The space can accommodate up to 80 children, and they have no other place where they can play,” one of the unhappy homeowners said in his petition.
They alternatively proposed that the place should be developed into a recreation centre or residential area to help address housing shortage.
“We are not against positive development, but we will welcome any positive developments that will accommodate the community’s needs,” another petitioner wrote.
Approached for comments, the Rundu Town Councils Public Relations Officer Benjamin Makayi confirmed the planned development, saying the consultant has already put up a signboard at the site.
Makayi also confirmed that the affected residents have written petitions against the business development, and these are receiving the attention of the town council.
Rundu Town’s Chief Executive Officer Romanus Haironga could not be reached for comment, as he is attending a meeting outside the region. His mobile phone was off.