Lack of affordable housing

Kenneth Alexander, Athlone

Referring to the article “Housing fury erupts” (Athlone News, June 27), one cannot read such an article and let it slip by without asking some questions.

If one takes into account the lack of affordable habitable housing and the lack of willpower of those who, I believe, can alleviate their plight, then the reaction of the affected persons is commendable. Park that thought and look at the hidden facts.

Surely it did not take six years to identify a piece of land which is still not transferred to the City.

So they just sat and ignored the cries of the people who voted them into power.

Does the City purchase land without any idea whether it meets the need? Some basic minus road, service and play area and a division of the balance can only give us one answer and that is that more, much more property should have been identified and purchased in this six- year period. Just apply a reasonable bulk factor. Done.

One cannot ignore the comment, “possible environmental constraints”. Surely one takes this into account before purchasing such land. What if the site is home to some protected frog species? Who wins the battle? The frogs or the people.

From whom was the land purchased and at what cost and when was that budget approved? Transfer of the land should not delay any planning phase.

The land purchased is creating a war zone. How can one be so cruel to get two groups of “gatvol communities” into one space? Surely the persons of Heideveld will object to it.

A budget will be made available for the planning and design phase in July.

How does anyone decide what that budget should be if you have no clue what you intend to construct?

Why do the City in-house town planners not prepare a basic design layout? Surely this is not rocket science in our computerised society.

Is there really need for consultants who will increase project cost by about 15 to 20 percent, not mentioning the time factor of advertising and the tender and approval time for a team of consultants?

The above immediately indicates that the actual construction period will be at least one year away to accommodate this as well as to obtain funding in year 2019/20 and then we go out to tender for the construction phase and then only start to build.

I suggest that Brett Herron think on this a bit. This whole planning process, design and construction drawings and bill of quantity phase should not exceed two months. How you minimise the plight of the homeless with such a lacklustre approach is of deep concern.

We cannot deem rules and regulations as compiled by the privileged few above the well-being of the masses.