Burn­ing tip: threat to homes

Smoke bil­low­ing from ‘il­le­gal’ site since Novem­ber, res­i­dents say

Daily Dispatch - - News - SOYISO MALITI

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.”

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