Burning tip: threat to homes
Smoke billowing from ‘illegal’ site since November, residents say
Fish Eagle Crescent residents fear for their safety as a fire continues to smoulder at a municipal refuse site, a stone’s throw away from their Beacon Bay homes.
It has also emerged that the site may be occupying land zoned for residential homes.
In response to probing questions from the suburban home owners, Buffalo City Metro spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya this week said the city’s planning division had no record of any planning approval having been requested by the waste management department for the tip site.
Concerned resident Andrew Hoare has been involved in a back-and-forth exchange with the city over the zoning.
He contends that the site is zoned housing, and that the tip is illegal.
He managed to obtain a spatial planning for and development document, dated January 7 2019, which shows that out of seven erven occupied by the belching tip site, three are zoned for residential use and four are zoned as open spaces.
Smoke has been billowing from the landfill since November.
The fire flared up during a Samwu strike, which was marked by widespread acts of arson throughout the metro.
Hoare, an architect who lives in Fish Eagle crescent, is concerned the burning tip will set fire to adjacent bush and forest and spread to his community and destroy homes and property.
Hoare said 40 of the 50 homeowners in Fish Eagle Crescent had complained about the site in a recent community meeting.
“The city is flouting regulations. We wanted to know the zonings, but it’s taken a month for them to give us these zonings,” he said.
“On Monday, BCM confirmed verbally that these areas are residential [areas].”
He said officials had advised him to approach the sanitation.
The Dispatch did not receive comment from this department by the time of going to print.
Ngwenya said Hoare and a delegation of residents were told in the meeting the city’s planning division had no record of a planning approval being requested by the waste management department for the tip site.
He said the city advised residents the solid waste department.
“The delegation was also informed the city planning division is currently undertaking the revision of the Bonza Bay Local Spatial Development Framework Plan, a component of which is to undertake a planning exercise for future mixed-use development of the subject site and surrounding area.
“The proposal, which is being done in conjunction with the waste management department, will include a smaller site for a waste centre.”
Residents are also upset the city’s fire and department of water affairs & to approach rescue workers have been trying to douse the fire for weeks with treated drinking water.
BCM fire chief Thembisile Thompson referred questions pertaining to the fire to Ngwenya.
The Dispatch was sent copies of a dozen complaints, sent to the municipality by property owners.
The Dispatch understands that a meeting between environmental affairs and tourism and city officials had been postponed to January 15.
Resident Simon Harder pointed out the irony of land zoned as a safety buffer between Ray Craib Crescent, the industrial area, and Fish Eagle Crescent, was now a burning municipal tip.
DA ward councillor Marion McKenzie said the fire was putting the surrounding community in great danger.
“It’s a health hazard. Besides the flies, the noise and the big trucks from the garden service company, the queue to get into that area is 10 vehicles long.”