Battle lines drawn at Townsend Park

A ‘David and Goliath’ battle was set in motion in Townsend Park on Monday when Ballito residents alerted the Dolphin Coast Ratepayers and Residents Association (Docrra) to work beginning on the contentious community hall.

When Docrra’s Henk Swanepoel arrived the workers had already begun digging four holes that formed a square of 12 metres by 30 metres.

He not only succeeded in halting proceedings, but also made the men refill the holes.

Swanepoel told the workmen, “Do you realise that the whole town will be here in minutes?” at which the men laid down their tools.

The foreman had an invoice for R21 945 for ‘geotechnical investigation’ and said they were there “on the authority of the mayor”.

Nevertheless they left the park, only to return on Tuesday morning.

Swanepoel said, “By so doing the municipality is embarking on an irresponsible and confrontational road with Docrra members and the community.

Docrra has officially requested the rescinding of the KDM resolution regarding the proposed town hall, that was supported by 1346 signatures from the
community.

“There was no proper interaction with the immediate community and no proper consultation or engagement.

This is also included in the complaint to the public protector, highlighted as an example of the continuing and consistent maladministration of KDM.

Docrra has sought legal advice for an urgent interdict against KDM to halt any activities surrounding the surveying and construction of the proposed town hall in Townsend Park which will lead to further waste of ratepayers’ funds.”

Rumors that Townsend Park was the proposed location have been circulating for more than a year.

At a meeting attended by about 500 people on March 24, residents made it clear that a hall was not wanted in Townsend Park.

Ward 6 councillor Colin Marsh said, “It was a council decision to allocate a hall to Ward 6 and if it has to be rescinded, a proper motivation and motion must go to council through the speaker’s office.

Plans have already been drawn up for the
unwanted town hall.

“This means that in our collective best interests Docrra should act, and I will act on behalf of the DA.”

Docrra’s objection to the hall was hand delivered to the office of the Mayor on Monday.

The ratepayers’ body wants the funds budgeted for this project to be spent on upgrading of the current scout hall and a new taxi rank.

Gabby Lyle, neighbour to Townsend Park for 30 years, said that as well as the fact that the park is well used by many people for a great variety of activities, she is absolutely appalled that the Mayor told a blatant lie at the Docrra meeting.

In answer to a question that she put, he said, “We have not yet decided on the site.”

Considering the speed that contractors and workers were there, this was clearly a lie, said Lyle.

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