Will this proposal haunt residents?

The map indicates the location of the proposed cemetery development.

The proposed development of a new cemetery in the Grobler Park area may have a huge impact on residents and the environment.

The developers, Calgro M3, have indicated that they want to develop an open piece of land in Grobler Park, which will form part of their existing residential development along Randfontein Road. The proposed development will be a cemetery that – if approved – will be known as the Witpoortjie Memorial Park.

According to Nicolene Louw from Calgro M3, they decided on a cemetery, as most of the existing cemeteries are overcrowded, full or close to reaching their capacities. “We are constantly evaluating potential areas for the development of a memorial park and base our decision on multiple factors. We believe the area is lacking the relevant modern memorial park facilities which provide a dignified burial solution,” she said.

The proposed cemetery will be approximately 12 hectares in size, but this could change, based on a number of factors, including the available capital investment and budget. Nicolene confirmed that the development will include landscaping, installation of security infrastructure, the construction of an office building with ablution facilities, and internal roads.

The big issue the proposed development is facing, is the existing wetland area falling within the earmarked area. According to Cebo Mhlongo from Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ), the developers were informed on numerous occasions that this area was undevelopable, due to the environmental sensitivities of the site. “The developers would need to supply us with a detailed wetland delineation by an accredited wetland specialist as well as a fauna and flora impact study before we can give a firm view,” Cebo said.

Cebo stated that the developers indicated in April last year that they were no longer planning a cemetery on this site, in light of the environmental issues, yet it has come to light that Calgro M3 will be going forward with applying for this development.

What changed? According to Lynne Bothma, who is now the spokesperson for Calgro M3 on this matter, the statement by JCPZ is their opinion as a commenting authority and is solely based on desktop research – not specific information.”The wetland area will also not be affected by the proposed land use according to a geotechnical investigation conducted. This site was found to be suitable for cemetery use,” she said.

Lynne also confirmed that Calgro M3 has applied for the applicable town planning rights and environmental authorisation from the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD). They have also appointed a company called Envirolution to conduct all the necessary environmental studies.”Once these are completed, a report will be sent to GDARD and they will take the results of this research into consideration before deciding whether Calgro M3 will be granted the rights to develop the proposed cemetery,” she concluded.

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For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites Randfontein HeraldKrugersdorp News and Get It Joburg West Magazine

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Adéle Bloem

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